'This Week' Transcript: Panetta

ABC News "This Week" Jake Tapper interviews CIA Director Leon Panetta Sunday, June 27, 2010

TAPPER: Good morning and welcome to "This Week."

This morning of this week, exclusive. CIA Director Leon Panetta. His first network news interview.

Top questions on the threats facing the U.S., and whether the CIA is up to the task.


PANETTA: And what keeps me awake at night--


VIDEO: CIA Director Leon Panetta sits down with ABCs Jake Tapper on "This Week."

TAPPER: The latest on Al Qaida, the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Iran, North Korea, global hotspots in an increasingly dangerous world, and the threat of homegrown terrorists.


PANETTA: We are being aggressive at going after this threat.


TAPPER: CIA Director Leon Panetta only on "This Week."

Then, the McChrystal mess.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I welcome debate among my team, but I won't tolerate division.


TAPPER: The change in command in Afghanistan raises new questions about the president's strategy to win the war. That and the rest of the week's politics on our roundtable with George Will, author Robin Wright of the U.S. Institute of Peace, David Sanger of the New York Times, and the Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran.

And as always, the Sunday Funnies.


DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: It took President Obama 45 minutes to make a decision to pick a new Afghanistan commander, 45 minutes. It took him six months to pick a dog for the White House.


TAPPER: Good morning. When the president takes a look at the world, he's confronted with threats literally all over the map. In Afghanistan, U.S. and international forces struggle to make headway against the Taliban. Iran moves ahead with a nuclear program in defiance of international condemnation. North Korea becomes even more unpredictable as it prepares for a new supreme leader. New terror threats from Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia. No one knows these threats better than the president's director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon Panetta. He's been in the job for 16 months, and he's here with me this morning, his first network news interview. Mr. Panetta, welcome.

PANETTA: Nice to be with you, Jake.

TAPPER: Now, this was a momentous week, with President Obama relieving General McChrystal of his command. When this was all going down, you were with General Petraeus at a joint CIA-CENTCOM conference. And I want to ask you about the war in Afghanistan, because this has been the deadliest month for NATO forces in Afghanistan, the second deadliest for U.S. troops, with 52 at least killed this month. Are we winning in Afghanistan, and is the Taliban stronger or weaker than when you started on the job?

PANETTA: I think the president said it best of all, that this is a very tough fight that we are engaged in. There are some serious problems here. We're dealing with a tribal society. We're dealing with a country that has problems with governance, problems with corruption, problems with narcotics trafficking, problems with a Taliban insurgency. And yet, the fundamental purpose, the mission that the president has laid out is that we have to go after Al Qaida. We've got to disrupt and dismantle Al Qaida and their militant allies so they never attack this country again.

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