Former defence secretary and CIA chief Leon Panetta is shouted down by anti-war protest during speech in support of Hillary Clinton
The former head of the CIA and President Obama’s ex-defence secretary Leon Panetta was left speechless by anti-war chants at the Democratic national convention on Wednesday.
In a rowdy convention that has seen supporters of Bernie Sanders booing speakers who hailed the party’s nominee Hillary Clinton, and with noisy protests outside the convention hall in Philadelphia, Panetta was the latest party establishment figure to face the wrath of delegates.
In his speech, Panetta said Clinton was the only candidate with a comprehensive plan to defeat the Islamic State group and said her Republican opponent Donald Trump “asks our troops to commit war crimes, endorses torture, spurns our allies from Europe to Asia…and he praises dictators from Saddam Hussein to Vladimir Putin.”
However chants of “no more war” and “lies” could be heard growing louder from the floor as anti-war delegates forced him to stop his speech.
Other delegates began a counter-chant of “USA, USA.”
Clinton is seen as more hawkish than President Obama, who was elected eight years ago on a ticket of ending the Iraq war. Clinton has favoured a more robust response to the Syrian crisis and was secretary of state during the NATO-backed revolution that led to the 2011 ousting of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
However Obama leaves office with US forces carrying out air strikes in Iraq and Syria, having increased the number of US forces on the ground in both countries, although in supportive rather than frontline combat roles.
Panetta was nominated as director of the CIA by Obama in 2009 and oversaw the operation that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011. In July of that year he became Obama’s defence secretary during the Libya campaign. He stepped down in February 2013.