Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declines comment to Roger Wicker’s question

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he was not trying to send a signal about Israel attacking Iran when he was quoted in a column last month saying a strike is likely.

He declined once again to discuss the column from The Washington Post’s David Ignatius when asked about it by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) at a Senate hearing Tuesday on the Pentagon budget.

“No, I usually don’t comment on columnists’ ideas about what I’m thinking,” Panetta said. “It’s a dangerous game to get into.”

The column did not quote Panetta directly but said that he “believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June.”

The Hill
2/14/12