Report: Panetta slaps gag orders on officials preparing strategy review

Ripping a page from the Robert Gates playbook, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has slapped gag orders on Pentagon officials involved in a key strategy review, Bloomberg News reported.

Panetta has ordered officials finishing a comprehensive strategy review that will help Defense Department brass implement budget cuts to sign non-disclosure forms, aiming to keep details of the study under wraps.

“This was a ‘final-stages’ initiative developed by senior leadership and approved by the secretary to ensure the final decisionmaking process remains tracked to strategy and analysis,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Douglas Wilson told Bloomberg.

Gates, Panetta's predecessor, used non-disclosure forms to keep details of his 2009 budget plan, which killed or significantly altered almost 50 weapon programs, under wraps. That was an unprecedented move, government watchdogs said at the time, but the tactic has been used several times since.