Pentagon Revisionism: Panetta Speeches and ‘Transcripts’ Two Different Things

'Plain Speaking' Panetta's Gaffes Carefully Edited Out of the Record

Some in the media have marveled at Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s “plain-spoken” comments, which appears primarily to be a euphemism for his willingness to casually curse and say foolhardy things.

This was particularly true in one of his first speeches at “Camp Victory” in Iraq, where the secretary claimed the US occupation of Iraq was “because of 9/11.” It was widely covered in the press, but to hear the Pentagon, it never happened.

Indeed the Pentagon decided to release no transcript whatsoever of his public comments there. Even when transcripts have been released, those covering the events find that what was actually side can vary significantly from what was “officially” said.

Media outlets have been filing formal complaints to the Pentagon, noting that roughly half of the secretary’s comments have never even made it into transcripts. Officials suggested they may make them available “eventually” but even if they do, it seems the policy will be to “sanitize” them, carefully removing whatever jerkass things Panetta may come up with and whatever “priest and a rabbi” jokes he decided to toss in as a testament to his much-vaunted “candor.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.