Although Leon Panetta, the former Secretary of Defense and Director of the CIA was in Boise to receive an award for his commitment to public service at the Frank Church Conference, he didn't keep quite about the issues he finds troubling in our nation.
"I've seen Washington at its best, and I have seen Washington at its worst. I've seen Washington when it worked, when republicans and democrats worked together to try to solve the issues facing this nation. I think Washington is in the worst shape that I have seen it in the 50 years I've been involved," said Panetta.
Panetta said that the government meaning democrats and republicans, need to set aside their differences. He said our nation can't afford another four years of gridlock. One issue that he finds troubling today is the nuclear arms deal with Iran. Although he agrees any deal is better than no deal, he said he doesn't agree with all of the elements of the deal.
"Whatever we can do to restrain Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is important. I am not sure I would agree with all of the elements that were part of this deal, but some containment is better than no containment," said Panetta.
He believes the Iranians cannot be trusted, and need to be watched closely.
"The most important part of this agreement is going to be enforcement. We are now at a stage where this agreement will be tested by how tough we are in enforcing it," explained Panetta.
As for allowing refugees and immigrants into the country, he says closing our borders in not the answer.
"If we are going to allow them into our country then I think we do have to take the steps fund the necessary steps, increase the number of people involved, and to do the kind of checks that will ensure that we are secure," said Panetta.
He said we can't sit back in fear of the things that are happening around the world, we must face them head on.
"We're dealing with a number of threats. It requires the United States to provide world leadership. if the United States does not lead in dealing with these kinds of issues, nobody else will," said Panetta.
He said lawmakers in Washington are not the only ones who need to step up. If men and women are willing to put on a uniform to fight and die for this country, everyone should be able to do something to help.
"If there are young people that are willing to do that, then there is no reason why our elected leadership, there is no reasons why citizens in this country can't use a little bit of that courage in order to make sure that we do what's right to give our kids that better life," said Panetta.