PER POOL PRODUCER ON SEC PANETTA
Good morning from Bangkok, on Secretary Panetta’s final full day of this trip.
I wanted to pass along the following from my colleague on this trip, Luis Ramirez (Pentagon Correspondent, Voice of America). He had a sit down radio interview with Secretary Panetta last night. While US outlets do NOT have the rights to air the audio from VOA – for quotes and context he spoke about the recent investigations surrounding Petraeus & Allen, pretty much quoting from the ethics memo he sent the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
FROM RAMIEREZ / PANETTA INTERVIEW:
Here’s what he told me about the generals when I asked him whether he saw a culture of misconduct developing among top officers:
“Obviously, I’m concerned about some of these recent events but I don’t think we’re dealing with a systemic problem. I think we’re dealing with some individual issues that all kind of came together at the same time. Having said that, we’re coming out of ten years of war and I really do think that it’s probably important that we begin to look again at how we can make sure that we maintain the highest ethical standards. We’ve got about 1,000 general officers and flag officers and there’s no question the vast majority of them obviously abide by the highest standards and exercise really the best leadership that you can imagine of any military force on Earth. But having said that, I do think and I’ve talked to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs about this, that we ought to look at the issue of making sure that our generals really do abide by the highest ethical standards, what is it we can do to ensure that every officer understands what his or her obligations are when they swear allegiance to the United States as a military officer.”