“There is a very close meeting of minds between them,” said Bruce Riedel, now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who led the policy review on Afghanistan and Pakistan. “They both believe there is a threat, the threat is serious, and that we need to take the appropriate steps to respond.”…

Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Gates are also in tune on Iran, sometimes to an uncanny degree. On Sept. 27, they appeared on rival Sunday morning talk shows, both warning Tehran that if it did not negotiate over its nuclear program, it would face harsh sanctions. In their hard line toward Iran, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Gates differed from senior National Security Council officials, who were initially more optimistic about the prospects for engagement, according to a senior official.