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military matters Leon Panetta Defends Hagel Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Leon Panetta Defends Hagel

In two interviews Sunday, outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta threw his support behind potential successor Chuck Hagel and responded to criticism over the handling of the Benghazi attacks. He expressed disappointment that Hagel's confirmation hearing last week focused on the old stances coming back to haunt Hagel, and not on current issues like the Afghan war, budget cuts, and fighting terrorism. "We just did not see enough time spent on discussing those issues. And in the end, that's what counts," he told NBC, saying he was confident in Hagel's abilities. Discussing Benghazi, Panetta said the Obama administration had no advance warning. “This is not 9/11,” he said. “You cannot just simply call and expect within two minutes to have a team in place. It takes time.” Panetta will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

February 3, 2013 5:15 PM