Power Players

Leon Panetta on terrorism in Africa, chemical weapons in Syria and portrayal in “Zero Dark Thirty”

On the Radar

As the hostage situation in Algeria unfolds, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says there's no question that the North Africa-based terrorist group is affiliated Al Qaeda and says the U.S. needs to work with the international community to combat the group known as AQIM.

"The best way to address that is with the international community working with African nations to determine exactly, you know, where is AQIM located, where are the targets of opportunity and how can we address those targets together," Panetta told On the Radar.

While Panetta says AQIM's terrorism is "unacceptable" and that Al Qaeda should have "no place to hide," he said he does not see the U.S. sending troops to Mali to combat the group, as the French have done.

On the topic of Syria, Panetta says he has not seen evidence that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on its people, as a recent media report, citing a State Department cable, suggested.

"I don't believe that they have been used against their citizens, you know, as we would imagine chemical weapons being used in that kind of battle," Panetta said. But he continued on to say that if the Syrian government did use chemical weapons against their own people, that would be a "red line" for the U.S.

To hear more of this exclusive interview with the the defense secretary and find out what Panetta thinks about how he was portrayed in Zero Dark Thirty, check out this week's On the Radar.

View Comments (373)