Full Transcript: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta Sits Down With Martha Raddatz


MARTHA RADDATZ: In the future when U.S. troops are gone or there remain a few thousand at the end of 2014 it would seem that we would be more reliant on drone strikes. I don't know if you heard General McChrystal say that he's concerned about overuse of drones and that resentment created much greater -- resentment is created -- to a much greater degree than Americans realize because of these drone strikes. Do you worry about that?

SECRETARY PANETTA: You know, I worry most about -- Al Qaeda and -- those that -- continue to -- attack -- our troops and -- those that continue to plan attacks on our country. Th -- I mean, you know -- I --

MARTHA RADDATZ: Is there any part of you that thinks Americans should know more about the drone war, what we're doing—


MARTHA RADDATZ: --how many civilians are killed as well—

SECRETARY PANETTA: No, I -- I would -- I -- I -- I wish frankly that -- that Americans -- you know, could -- could really see what I've seen as director of the C.I.A. and now as secretary of defense in terms of -- our use of operations to go after those that have attacked our country. I think, you know, we've made a commitment that what happened on 9/11 should never happen again and that the message is you attack America and you don't get away with it. That's the key. And -- a key part of that has obviously been the use of -- you know, of -- of -- the operations -- involving the drones that -- target those that -- are in the leadership in Al Qaeda. And that's a reality. We've decimated their leadership as a result of those operations. So -- you know, my -- my view of it is, you know, it's not something that we're gonna have to continue to use -- forever. But it's a very effective tool, it's a very effective weapon at going after those who are enemies of the United States of America.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Okay, two -- two more quick questions. And North Korea, are you seeing that they're preparing for a nuclear test?

SECRETARY PANETTA: I haven't seen -- you know, the -- direct evidence that -- they're in the process of -- of doing that. The rumors are always that once they do a missile shot they always follow it with -- a nuclear test of some kind -- you know, to -- kind of -- pr -- provoke -- the international community. I wouldn't be surprised if they were -- thinking about doing that, but I have not seen any direct intelligence indicating that that's the case.

MARTHA RADDATZ: All right, on a lighter subject or maybe not a lighter subject. (LAUGH) Have you seen—

SECRETARY PANETTA: There's not a lot of light subjects here. (LAUGH)

MARTHA RADDATZ: Yeah, compared to the other subjects I guess it is. Have you seen "Zero Dark Thirty?"

SECRETARY PANETTA: I have seen "Zero Dark Thirty?"

MARTHA RADDATZ: So what did you think?

SECRETARY PANETTA: It's a great movie. (LAUGH) You know, it's a great movie. But when you've lived what h -- what was -- what happened -- th -- as -- as far as the main subject of that movie is concerned -- you know, I -- I know a lot about -- you know, the kind of human effort that was involved here on all sides to deal with it and -- I wish you could tell that story, but in two hours you can't.

MARTHA RADDATZ: But was it factual in -- in ways—

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