Tags: Donald Trump | panetta | intelligence | defense | esper | shan

Panetta: Lack of Confirmed Defense Secretary Leaves 'Terrible Void'

leon panetta, former secretary of defense and fia director
Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta (Alex J. Berliner/AP)

By    |   Friday, 21 June 2019 10:04 AM

The lack of a confirmed defense secretary leaves a "terrible void" at the Pentagon, former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta said Friday.

"Obviously there are capable people that will try to keep the Pentagon moving forward," Panetta told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "But you need to have a strong secretary of defense, a confirmed secretary of defense, because otherwise, that DOD looks at the secretary and has this sense that this is just going to be a temporary individual."

The secretary, he added, must be able to look a president "in the eye and say that he's going to make a terrible mistake. In order to do that, you've got to have a confirmed secretary."

President Donald Trump earlier this week named Secretary of the Army Mark Esper as acting Defense secretary after Patrick Shanahan, who was named to the spot earlier this year, pulled out of consideration for confirmation. The president has said he'll likely nominate Esper for confirmation.

Panetta Friday also said he's concerned about some statements made by Trump about the leaders of other countries, including Russia President Vladimir Putin and North Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un, as they show Trump questions his own intelligence community.

"That's cause for concern because a president has to depend on his own intelligence," said Panetta. "Those individuals are providing information that's critical to our country and critical to the president. So it's important for him not to ignore that information...the people who work in our intelligence agencies are not Republicans or Democrats; they're good Americans who are trying to do their job."

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The lack of a confirmed defense secretary leaves a "terrible void" at the Pentagon, former Secretary of Defense and CIA DIrector Leon Panetta said Friday.
panetta, intelligence, defense, esper, shan
264
2019-04-21
Friday, 21 June 2019 10:04 AM
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