Robert Gates, former President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Defense, slammed politicians’ handling of classified information during an interview over the weekend where he also took a shot at President Joe Biden’s handling of the war in Ukraine.
Gates made the remarks during an interview on NBC News’ “Meet The Press” while discussing current political issues with host Chuck Todd.
When asked what Biden should be doing differently in Ukraine, Gates said that the things that the administration is currently doing — shipping tanks and other critical military hardware to Ukraine — should’ve been done months ago.
“A lot of this could’ve been done sooner,” Gates said. “And, you know, they’re talking about it potentially being six months, a year, or more before the Abrams tanks get there. I think the key thing about the Abrams tank decision was that it unlocked Germans being able to provide.”
When asked about recent classified document scandals that have engulfed Trump, Biden, and former Vice President Mike Pence, Gates said that the problem is that the people who are handling the documents are negligent.
“You have a legacy, I think, in Washington of sort of being a guy that sort of fixes sort of dumb problems. Meaning Like stuff — you’re like, “Why isn’t this fixed?” Todd continued. “So how would you [fix] this classified document situation that our politics finds itself in, is this something that the bureaucracy should fix? Or is there something more nefarious?”
“Well, I think – I think it’s about people being more responsible,” Gates responded. “I think there’s an element of carelessness. In some cases there may be intent to take the documents. I think maybe we ought to look at the way transitions take place, so that there’s a more orderly process for these classified documents.”
When Todd noted that the Pentagon was “orderly when it comes to classified documents,” Gates said that nothing classified ever leaves the building.
Gates has previously taken shots at Biden over his foreign policy record, which many critics say is disastrous.
Gates warned back in 2019 that Biden had been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Gates listed several examples in 2021 of foreign policy views that Biden has previously held that were wrong.
Gates said that Biden’s disastrous pullout from Afghanistan made him physically sick to watch because it did not have to be as bad as it was.