Defense Secretary Gates on Leaks

November 12, 2009

Media Availability with Secretary Gates Enroute to Oshkosh, Wisconsin


Q Mr. Secretary, there were reports yesterday that the president rejected all of these four options you talked about yesterday at the White House. Is that how you understand it - you were there - or is it more that he was asking for revisions or asking questions about more options?

SEC. GATES: I did not - I'm not going to get into the details, but I would say that it was more: How can we combine some of the best features of several of the options to maximum good effect? So there is a little more work to do, but I think that we're getting toward the end of the process, as Robert Gibbs said the other day.

I would say one more thing, though: I've been at this business a long time. And I have been appalled - I realize this is not your self-interest to write - I have been appalled by the amount of leaking that has been going on in this process. And I think a lot of different places are leaking. I'm confident that the Department of Defense is one of them.

To have details of options that are being considered out there in the middle of the president's deliberative process I think does not serve the country and does not serve our military. And frankly, if I found out with high confidence anybody was leaking in the Department of Defense - who that was - that would probably be a career-ender, because it is contrary to every kind of discipline there ought to be in a decision-making process involving the president.

Q Did you have any reaction to General Eikenberry's cables?

SEC. GATES: No. I'm not going to - just as I'm not going to talk about my recommendations and the views that I've expressed, I'm not going to talk about anybody else's - apropos see the last answer. I don't want to fire myself by the end of the day. (Laughter.) Although it's a thought!

Q It's not leaking - I mean, just, I mean, kind of, reaction to this cable saying -

SEC. GATES: I'm not going to give you a reaction.


Source: Department of Defense

Media Availability with Secretary Gates from Oshkosh, Wisconsin

[...] Q Mr. Secretary, can you say something about Ft. Hood -- (inaudible)?

Q Sir, we understand formal charges are being brought today. Understanding that the investigation is ongoing, is there anything you have learned to this point that you wish the military had done differently or could have done differently -- (inaudible)?

SEC. GATES: No. My view is, I intend to wait until all the facts are in, until we have a comprehensive view of what has happened. And frankly, I abhor the leaks that have taken place, because the people who are leaking are leaking what they know, which is one small piece of the puzzle. And what's more, they don't know whether or not what they're leaking might jeopardize a potential criminal investigation and trial.

And so my view is, people who have a piece of this frankly ought to keep quiet and let the authorities go forward with this in an organized and comprehensive way.


Source: Department of Defense