Panetta: Greatest Threat to US is ‘inability to deal with budget’

by lizard

Judge William B. Jones and Judge Edward A. Tamm were influential enough to have had a lecture series named after them, and this is what the lectures series is allegedly all about:

The Judge William B. Jones and Judge Edward A. Tamm Lecture Series honors the memory of two distinguished jurists who had strong Montana ties. They left their mark, a very positive mark, on the federal judiciary. Both of them established themselves as judges who were deeply committed to improving the administration of our judicial system and preserving and enhancing the rule of law in our society. In view of their exemplary commitment to the administration of justice, their deep interest in lawyers and in particular, law students and members of the bar, this lecture series was founded.

This year Leon Panetta was the guest of honor.

It’s so nice to have the UM School of Law and the Missoulian enable a professional liar to spread dangerous bullshit like torture helped find Osama Bin Laden. Just read this excerpt from the Missoulian article:

The CIA is a “very self-contained operation,” Panetta said, with people who run missions, build technology and command the support of the regular military for actions in addition to analyzing intelligence.

“I don’t have a large bureaucracy to deal with,” Panetta said. “The president tells me what to do and I can get it done.”

Bennett inquired about the CIA’s use of torture in some of those activities.

“Do you believe enhanced interrogation techniques are consistent with American values?” Bennett asked. “Do they work?”

Panetta said some enhanced interrogation techniques “come very close to the line of what’s torture and what’s not torture.” But he added President Barack Obama told the CIA “we’re not going to use those methods anymore,” and he oversaw the closure of some facilities where they were used.

“Intelligence was gathered by those methods that helped piece together the identities of couriers that led to bin Laden,” Panetta said. “I don’t know if that could have been reached by other methods.”

Compare Panetta’s statements with this Guardian article:

A hotly disputed US Senate torture report concludes that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods provided no key evidence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to congressional aides and outside experts familiar with the investigation.

The CIA still disputes that conclusion.

From the moment of bin Laden’s death almost three years ago in what was America’s biggest counterterrorism success, former Bush administration and some senior CIA officials have cited the evidence trail leading to the al-Qaida mastermind’s compound in Pakistan as vindicating the “enhanced interrogation techniques” they authorized after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

But Democratic and some Republican senators have disputed that account. They described simulated drownings, sleep deprivation and other such practices as cruel and ineffective. With the release edging closer for the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on interrogations, renditions and detentions, they hope to make a persuasive case.

The real gem is Panetta’s lamenting that America’s greatest threat is our “inability to deal with the budget”. Here is his comment:

“Our most dangerous national security issue is our inability to deal with the budget,” said the man who’s also directed the Central Intelligence Agency and Office of Management and Budget, and chaired the U.S. House Budget Committee. “We need tax reform and a budget deal that tells us where the U.S. is going. If we cannot fix this, we will not be a strong nation in the future. We will be a nation in decline.”

We are already a nation in decline and that is in large part because of our “defense” spending and the fact we waged wars on the national credit card. Tax reform isn’t going to save us, though. We need a total reevaluation of our nation’s priorities.

And if we ever try to shift our national priorities, I hope going after the financial terrorists on Wall Street is near the top of the list.

  1. troutsky

    The long, gushing Montana Public Radio piece made a point of “the standing ovation” he got from Missoula’s adoring crowd. The same good liberals that gave Andrew Bacevitch a standing ovation a month ago. I’m losing all hope.

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