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February 14, 2013
We do not have, at 12 o’clock today, a Secretary of Defense.
Harry Reid, revealing today that Senate Republicans have rounded up the 41 votes necessary to block the nomination of Chuck Hagel to the Defense Department. Today is outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s last day on the job; if Republicans make good on their threats during Hagel’s confirmation vote tomorrow—and this is certainly a big “if”—it will be the first time a nominee for Secretary of Defense has been filibustered, and the country will be left without a Defense Secretary. A couple of Republican senators have threatened to block Hagel’s nomination unless the Obama Administration releases more information about the attack last year on the American consulate in Benghazi, an incident with which Hagel was wholly uninvolved. A Hagel spokesman said today that despite the threats of his former colleagues, the Nebraska Republican is not withdrawing his nomination. source
12:14 // 1 year ago
May 4, 2012
Defense Secretary Panetta to misbehaving soldiers: Knock it off, guys
“These days, it takes only seconds for one picture to suddenly become an international headline.” That’s what our boy Leon Panetta has to say about the recent spate of videos, photos and incidents that have come out of the Afghan War lately. Panetta’s ship certainly isn’t a clean one — between videos showing soldiers urinating on bodies, soldiers inadvertently burning copies of the Koran, and a series of graphic photos the Los Angeles Times got a hold of, the Defense Department is feeling a lot of pressure to prevent more incidents like these — and has issued a crackdown to that effect. “Those headlines can impact the mission we’re engaged in, they can put your fellow service members at risk, they can hurt morale, and they can damage our standing in the world,” Panetta says. (photo by Jim Greenhill) source
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“These days, it takes only seconds for one picture to suddenly become an international headline.” That’s what our boy Leon Panetta has to say about the recent spate of videos, photos and incidents that have come out of the Afghan War lately. Panetta’s ship certainly isn’t a clean one — between videos showing soldiers urinating on bodies, soldiers inadvertently burning copies of the Koran, and a series of graphic photos the Los Angeles Times got a hold of, the Defense Department is feeling a lot of pressure to prevent more incidents like these — and has issued a crackdown to that effect. “Those headlines can impact the mission we’re engaged in, they can put your fellow service members at risk, they can hurt morale, and they can damage our standing in the world,” Panetta says. (photo by Jim Greenhillsource

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16:53 // 2 years ago
October 27, 2011

Leon Panetta’s expensive New Year’s toast, thanks to Osama bin Laden

The oldest bottle in his friend’s restaurant? an 1870 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Years ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made a bet with a restaurateur around his CIA-led mission to find Osama Bin Laden: If Panetta’s team caught Bin Laden, Ted Balestreri would open up a bottle of wine that predates the first automobile. Now that time’s come. With Bin Laden dead, Balestreri will uncork that 141-year-old bottle around New Year’s Eve. Did we mention the bottle costs between $10,000 and $15,000? Careful to walk a line, though, one of Panetta’s spokespeople notes that this gesture isn’t meant to celebrate Bin Laden’s death. “Secretary Panetta has had New Year’s Eve gatherings with toasts with friends for years and this year there will be a special toast,” noted Douglas Wilson, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. source

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22:51 // 2 years ago
September 6, 2011
I congratulate Robert Gates on his selection as the twenty-fourth Chancellor of the College of William & Mary. In Bob, one of our nation’s oldest colleges has found one of our nation’s finest public servants. I’m confident that Bob will bring to this new role the same sense of duty and personal integrity that I and other Presidents valued during his distinguished career in government.
Barack Obama • Congratulating former Defense Secretary Robert Gates for his new job — Chancellor at William & Mary. We’ll congratulate the same. 
11:42 // 2 years ago
August 3, 2011
Could Donald Rumsfeld get personally sued for torture?: A military contractor with a particularly fascinating backstory wants to sue the former defense secretary for illegally detaining him. The judge — get this —is gonna allow it. Whoa. source Follow ShortFormBlog

Could Donald Rumsfeld get personally sued for torture?: A military contractor with a particularly fascinating backstory wants to sue the former defense secretary for illegally detaining him. The judge — get this —is gonna allow it. Whoa. source

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21:44 // 3 years ago
June 30, 2011
Today is Robert Gates’ last day at the Pentagon. *sniff*: We’re sitting in this coffee shop, blaring Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye To Yesterday” from our tinny MacBook speakers. And crying. We’re getting weird looks, but WE DON’T CARE! source Follow ShortFormBlog

Today is Robert Gates’ last day at the Pentagon. *sniff*: We’re sitting in this coffee shop, blaring Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye To Yesterday” from our tinny MacBook speakers. And crying. We’re getting weird looks, but WE DON’T CARE! source

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11:12 // 3 years ago
December 10, 2010
My greatest worry will be that we are at the mercy of the courts and all of the lack of predictability that that entails.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates • Emphasizing that it’s better for Congress to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” and allow an orderly end to the policy than for the court system to simply force an end to the policy. Yesterday’s vote which failed 57-40, fell apart without any GOP support; Gates was “disappointed in the Senate vote, but not surprised.” Along with just about everyone else looking for a repeal, buddy. source (viafollow)
15:26 // 3 years ago