Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday that President Donald Trump must respond to Russian President Vladimir Putin's nuclear weapons boasts by making "very clear that there is no such thing as an invincible weapon."
"Throughout history, there have always been boasts about invincible weapons going back to gun powder," Panetta, who also served as CIA director under former President Barack Obama, told Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
"The reality is it just doesn't stay that way," he said. "For every weapon, a counter-weapon is developed."
Putin announced that Russia had tested new strategic nuclear weapons that could not be intercepted, including a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a nuclear-powered underwater drone and a new hypersonic missile.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Putin's announcement "confirmed what the United States government has known all along, which Russia has denied."
"Russia has been developing destabilizing weapons systems for over a decade in direct violation of its treaty obligations," she said.
Panetta was confident that the United States was tracking the Kremlin's nuclear efforts, which began under his White House tenure.
"I'm sure that the Defense Department has followed these activities closely, monitored them and developed counter-measures so that the United States still remains the most powerful country on Earth."
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