Gates on Wikileaks Video: “Not Helpful” but “Should not Have Lasting Consequences”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates told me the video recently released by Wikileaks which depicts U.S. troops killing some civilians in Iraq “doesn’t show the broader picture of the – of the firing that was going on at American troops.” In my “This Week” interview, Gates acknowledged that the video is “clearly not helpful” and “painful to see”, but that “these people were operating in split second situations.” Gates added that he doesn’t think the video will “have any lasting consequences.”

TAPPER: Secretary Gates, WikiLeaks recently released a video that showed U.S. troops killing some civilians in Iraq. I understand the fog of war, and I understand that -- that this was a very difficult situation. Does the release of that video, and the fact that that happened damage the image of the U.S. in the world?

GATES: I don't think so. They're -- they're in a combat situation. The video doesn't show the broader picture of the -- of the firing that was going on at American troops. It's obviously a hard thing to see. It's painful to see, especially when you learn after the fact what was going on. But you -- you talked about the fog of war. These people were operating in split second situations.

And, you know, we -- we've investigated it very thoroughly. And it's -- it's unfortunate. It's clearly not helpful. But by the same token, I think -- think it should not have any lasting consequences.

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