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Robert Gates gives peek inside ‘controlling’ White House

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Robert Gates, the former CIA director who became secretary of defense for two presidents, decries the “controlling nature” of the Obama administration in a new book, the New York Times reports.

The national security staff “took micromanagement and operational meddling to a new level,” Gates writes in Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.

Among his other insights:

On President Obama: He’s “very thoughtful and analytical, but he is also quite decisive.” Gates says the president lost faith in his Afghanistan strategy. The president was “skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail,” Gates writes. Among the problems: Obama didn’t trust Gen. David Petraeus, then the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, and Obama “can’t stand” Afghan President Hamid Karzai. “I never doubted Obama’s support for the troops, only his support for their mission,” Gates writes, according to the
Washington Post.

On Joe Biden: “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” Gates says of the vice president.

On the SEAL mission to get Bin Laden: Gates was initially against it. He calls Obama’s decision to go forward even though it was not certain that the al-Qaida mastermind was in the Pakistan compound “one of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House.”

On his job: Gates writes, “I did not enjoy being secretary of defense.”

Gates’ book will be published Jan. 14. You can read an excerpt in the Wall Street Journal.

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