Boehner Brushes Off Robert Gates’ Fierce Criticism Of Congress

Former defense secretary Robert Gates stands for the presentation of the colors before speaking at the OSU Business Forum in Tulsa, Okla. Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Mike Simons) ONLINE OUT; TV OUT; TULSA OUT
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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Wednesday brushed off harsh criticism of Congress by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his new memoir.

“Listen, he’s entitled to his comments under the First Amendment, just
like anybody else,” Boehner told reporters when asked about the criticism.

An excerpt in Wall Street Journal from Gates’ soon-to-be-published memoir, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” reveals his resentment for the way he was treated by members of Congress while conducting two wars. He writes that he took “exceptional offense” at “inquisition-like treatment” from members of both parties whom he said were “creating a kangaroo-court environment in hearings, especially when television cameras were present.”

Gates writes: “All too often during my 4½ years as secretary of defense, when I found myself sitting yet again at that witness table at yet another congressional hearing, I was tempted to stand up, slam the briefing book shut and quit on the spot. The exit lines were on the tip of my tongue: I may be the secretary of defense, but I am also an American citizen, and there is no son of a bitch in the world who can talk to me like that. I quit. Find somebody else. It was, I am confident, a fantasy widely shared throughout the executive branch.”

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