Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is making waves in Washington over his new memoir, "Worthy Fights."
Panetta criticized the leadership of his former boss, President Obama, including the decision to limit America's military involvement in the Middle East after a decade of war.
"I think the president needs to keep all of his options on the table," Panetta said in an interview with "CBS This Morning" co-anchor Charlie Rose. "I think a commander-in-chief needs to have the flexibility to do whatever is necessary in order to confront this threat."
In talking about the president's legacy, Panetta has previously said Obama "kind of lost his way" on the country's role in security issues.
"I think what happened-- and look-- first four years, when I was there as CIA director and Secretary of Defense, he was very strong in supporting our operations. He supported our operations. He supported expanding those operations... The last two years, I think, what happened was he looked at a country that was frustrated, exhausted by over ten years of war," Panetta said.
Obama wanted to turn a corner, Panetta said.
"He wanted to be able to get away from Iraq, get away from Afghanistan and begin to refocus on this country, but also hopefully to get other countries to step up to the plate to deal with it," he said. "What we've learned by recent events is that if the United States isn't providing that leadership, nobody else will."
Among the criticisms was the way Obama drew a "red line" against the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but didn't take military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"I think the credibility of a commander-in-chief is whether or not when you say something, you stand by it," Panetta said. "I mean, you know, when you're dealing with a pretty rough world and dealing with the threats that we face in this kind of difficult world, the strength of the United States is that we say what we intend to do and we do it."
While some critics say Panetta should wait to criticize Obama until he's out of the office, especially since Obama appointed him to two of the highest positions in the country, Panetta disagrees.
"You know what? It's exactly because I am very loyal to this president and because I want him to succeed that I think it's important to raise these issues now. So that hopefully in two and a half years, you know, we can make sure that he really does have the kind of legacy that I think he deserves as president," he said.
Panetta added that you can't "put a hold on history."
"I think the American people are entitled to understand history and what's involved in the policy decisions that this country makes. And I believe in the judgment of the American people. And I think history is what that's all about."