Obama’s Defense Secretary says ‘our national security is threatened by what has happened in Afghanistan’

By Jenny Goldsberry

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta railed against President Biden for botching the Afghanistan withdrawal. According to him, it could translate directly into a national security threat on American soil. Panetta appeared on MSNBC Tuesday to share his predictions.

“I don’t think there’s any question that our national security is threatened by what has happened in Afghanistan,” Panetta told host Andrea Mitchell. “We went there for two missions. One, to go after al-Qaeda and the leadership of al-Qaeda and bin Laden because of what they did in attacking our country on 9/11. And we were successful at going after al-Qaeda, and obviously I’m very proud of the mission to go after bin Laden. But there was a second mission, which was to prevent Afghanistan from ever becoming a safe haven for terrorism again.”

Biden echoed this statement during his address on Afghanistan earlier this week. Then, he explained the mission from the beginning was “never supposed to be nation-building,” or “unifying.” Instead, he said it was about “preventing another terrorist attack on American homeland.”

“Unfortunately, we have failed at that mission,” Panetta said. “And with the Taliban now controlling Afghanistan, there is no question that they will provide a safe haven for al-Qaeda and for ISIS and for other terrorists to be able to reorganize, strengthen themselves again and potentially use Afghanistan as a base for attacking not just the United States, but other countries as well.”

During his speech, Biden was proud to be the ending the war that lasted five presidencies. But Panetta, who served under the Obama administration, said claimed the U.S. has lost all cooperation from the Afghans.

“This is a national security threat and it’s not going to be easy to go into Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban,” he said. “When we were there, we had the cooperation of the Afghans. We worked with the military. There were a lot of partnerships involved. We had good intelligence on where the targets were. We’ll have none of that with Taliban control.”

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.