Nightly News   |  January 07, 2014

Former Defense Secretary Skewers Obama’s Security Policies

Robert Gates, the former CIA chief and Defense Secretary who began serving under President George W. Bush, is publishing a devastating critique of Obama’s national security policies that is making news in Washington, D.C., and beyond.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> in a story that broke late today in washington . robert gates , the republican, former cia chief and defense secretary who president obama held over from the bush white house has just landed a devastating critique of the current president's national security policies, this is making news in washington and beyond tonight. our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell in our d.c. newsroom tonight with more on this.

>> sources who have read bob gates ' book have confirmed those public accounts in three major newspapers tonight. it is causing heartburn in the white house . when bob gates left the obama cabinet, the president surprised his defense secretary with the medal of freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

>> you're not only one of the longest serving secretaries of defense in american history , it's also clear you've been one of the best.

>> i'm deeply honored and moved --

>> but in his sensational new memoir, gates talks about the president, joe biden and tom donlin for their handling of the war in afghanistan and the military. gates says suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior white house officials, including the president and vice president became a big problem for me. after a march 2010 national security council meeting, gates writes, i thought the president doesn't trust his commander, can't stand karzai, doesn't believe in his own strategy and doesn't consider the war to be his. for him, it's all about getting out. this although gates had told matt lauer .

>> we're on the same page.

>> he accuses biden of poisoning the well of leadership. while praising hillary clinton , gates expresses dismay at hearing clinton tell the president she only opposed the iraq war because she was running against him in the iowa caucuses . gates writes the president in turn conceded his opposition to the iraq surge was political.

>> still, despite his unusually harsh criticism of obama, he calls the raid against osama bin laden one of the most courageous decisions i have witnessed in the white house . critics of iraq's strategy as well.

>> 90 some young americans died in fallujah, 600 were wounded. now we see people driving around with black al qaeda flags, that's so sad. what do we tell their families.

>> the white house says the president deeply appreciates bob gates ' service, welcomes differences of view. but disagrees with his assessment, in particular, though, joe biden has been one of the leading states men of his time, the president relies on his good council every day.

>> andrea mitchell in our washington newsroom tonight, thanks.