Perhaps most amazing is Panetta's repetition that NY could be a target by "someone who decides to basically put on a suicide vest and go into the subway in New York City." Of all the possibilities this seems the least likely. Even 60 Minutesfeatured the high-tech NY surveillance apparatus that monitors nearly every square inch, making this potential "easy" scenario a disingenuous (and worrisome) choice to feature.
We should also take into account Obama's recent statement (and Panetta concurs) that another 9/11-style attack requiring a mass deployment response is unlikely over the next couple of years. Panetta quickly adds that more targeted capabilities such as the drone killing of American Anwar al-Awlaki will always be available, even as Ron Paul has stated that it could be an impeachable offense. Now that the CIA has direct military control, we are assured to see a change in public focus to black ops and shadow war techniques.
Hearing Panetta lash the Super Congress for weakening defense, we should now be on heightened alert for attacks on "soft" targets that can be used to justify a reversal in the decision to cut spending. Or, might a military coup and martial law be the solution to this big problem?