'This Week' Transcript: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

TAPPER: Let's turn now to Iran. Our diplomats were in Baghdad this week negotiating as part of the international coalition, trying to convince Iran to stop its suspected nuclear weapons program. But we recently saw an Iranian diplomat seemingly bragging to "The New York Times" about out-negotiating us.

Are they not just running out the clock? And are these negotiations once a month enough?

PANETTA: We begin with the fundamental premise here. The fundamental premise is that neither the United States or the international community is going to allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. We will do everything we can to prevent them from developing a weapon.

International community's been unified. We've put very tough sanctions on them as a result of that, and we are – you know, we are prepared for any contingency in that part of the world. But our hope is that these matters can be resolved diplomatically.

TAPPER: The American Ambassador to Israel said a few days ago that the U.S. is quote "ready from a military perspective to carry out a strike on Iran." That's true?

PANETTA: One of the things that we do at the Defense Department, Jake, is plan. And we have – we have plans to be able to implement any contingency we have to in order to defend ourselves.

TAPPER: There's been a lot in the press in the last few days about the fact that the Obama administration cooperated with the filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow and Michael Boal, who are making this Bin Laden film. Can you assert that nothing inappropriate was shared with these filmmakers?

PANETTA: Yeah – nothing inappropriate was shared with them, Jake. You know, we get inquires everyday from the entertainment industry. We get inquiries from people writing articles, from people writing books, people doing television shows. And the process that we've established is that you know, we will work with those individuals. We'll try to make sure that we give them accurate information so that the historic record is protected. But you know, we do not share anything that is inappropriate with anybody.

TAPPER: You were head of the CIA when bin Laden was captured. Now you're head of the Pentagon. There was an effort by the Obama campaign to talk more about the capture and killing of bin Laden. What is your take on this? Are you uncomfortable at all with what some have described as chest-thumping?

PANETTA: You know, I guess my view, having participated in that operation, is that it was something very special in terms of both the intelligence and military communities working together to go after bin Laden and doing it successfully. And whether you're Republicans, whether you're Democrats, whether you're Independents, I think this country ought to be proud of what our intelligence and military community did. And you know what, I'll let history be the judge as to whether or not that was a successful mission.

TAPPER: Well, obviously it was a successful mission but the politicization of it, that doesn't make you uncomfortable at all?

PANETTA: I would hope that both Republicans and Democrats would be justly proud of what was accomplished.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...