Government dysfunction biggest threat to U.S.?

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday slammed Washington dysfunction, warning it was the biggest threat that America was facing.

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"I think the greatest national security threat to this country at this point is the two square miles that encompasses the Capitol building and the White House," Gates said on CBS's "Face the Nation" when asked whether Russia was the greatest national security threat to the U.S.

Gates said congressional gridlock and infighting was a bigger problem than any foreign threat and that it weakened the U.S. abroad.

"If we can't get some of our problems solved here at home, if we can't get our finances in a more ordered fashion, if we can't begin to tackle some of the internal issues that we have, if we can't get some compromises on the Hill that move the country forward, then I think these foreign threats recede significantly into, as far as being a risk to the well-being and the future of this country," he said. "I think that other countries are watching us very carefully."

The former Defense secretary offered praise to both President Obama and President George W. Bush for putting their country ahead of their political goals. But he was critical of Obama's handling of Libya, Syria and Egypt.

"This is one of the sad stories of the president's foreign policy," he said about the administration's handling of Syria. "And I think last fall was a real low point, where we went in the space of a week from saying, 'Assad must go,' to 'Assad must stay,' in order to fulfill the agreement sponsored by Putin to get rid of the chemical weapons that Assad had used against his own people. And I think we got distracted and lost our perspective.

"I supported virtually every decision he made for the first two years I was secretary. I began to disagree with some of the decisions in early 2011. I didn't agree with the way we handled President Mubarak in Egypt. I didn't agree with intervening in Libya. And we began to have some differences over the defense budget," he said."

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