Panetta to Be Named C.I.A. Director

Panetta to Be Named C.I.A. Director

Mr. Panetta has a reputation in Washington as a competent manager with strong background in budget issues, but has little hands-on intelligence experience. If confirmed by the Senate, he will take control of the agency most directly responsible for hunting senior Al Qaeda leaders around the globe, but one that has been buffeted since the Sept. 11 attacks by leadership changes and morale problems.

A quick look at Panetta’s Wikipedia page shows

He served as White House Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton, and before that was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1976 to 1993. He is the founder and director of the Panetta Institute, serves as Distinguished Scholar to the Chancellor of the California State University system and is a professor at Santa Clara University teaching public policy.

During his time in Congress, his work concentrated mostly on budget issues, civil rights, education, health, and environmental issues, particularly preventing oil drilling off the California coast. He wrote the Hunger Prevention Act (Public Law 100-435) of 1988 and the Fair Employment Practices Resolution. He was a major factor in establishing the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

His positions included:

* Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on the Budget
* Chairman of the Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Domestic Marketing, Consumer Relations, and Nutrition
* Chairman of the Administration Committee’s Subcommittee on Personnel and Police
* Chairman of the Task Force on Domestic Hunger created by the U.S. House Select Committee on Hunger
* Vice Chairman of the Caucus of Vietnam-Era Veterans in Congress
* Member of the President’s Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies.

WHich begs the question,
What experience Panetta has on anything related to national security, the CIA or anything near related to the job?

his selection points up the difficulty Mr. Obama had in finding a C.I.A. director with no connection to controversial counterterrorism programs of the Bush era.

Hope, change, whatever.

Brian Faughnan

Panetta’s tenure at the White House — both as Director of OMB and as Chief of Staff — was apparently characterized by a constant tension between him and the CIA, with his desire for deeper budget cuts being the running theme. CIA Director Woolsey had to form alliances with the Defense Department to fend off these deep cuts, as well as to ensure that the CIA retained some ability to track an expanding number of threats in a multipolar world.

UPDATE, Tuesday 6 January
Barack calls Leon Panetta.


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4 Responses to “Panetta to Be Named C.I.A. Director”

  1. George Hanshaw Says:

    You are absolutely correct. Panetta may have become the default because distrust for Obam runs so deep in the intelligence community that no one else could be persuaded to take the job, but that scarcely makes Panetta a competent appointment.

    Intel is a difficult job – even for the professionals, as evidenced by the fact that ALL (and I do mean ALL) Western intelligence services thoroughly believed that Saddam retained the capacity to manufacture WMDs and likely had at least a few in reserve.

    Having essentially threatened criminal sanctions against CIA interrogators (OK, torturers, if you prefer), I see this as a potential disaster as the legal standards appropriate to US criminal law are suddenly applied to intel work – resulting in all the professionals going in to extreme conservative mode.

    The fact of the matter is that many WMDs are real old technology, war gases were used in WWI, and by WWII nerve gas was available, if not used. Of course, fission weapons are early 1940s technology. There is little chance that we can truly keep 70 year old technology away from determined and well financed bad guys – at least not without good intel.

    Don’t get me wrong, the US is a big country, with a lot of resources. We can undoubtedly survive the nuking of an LA or NYC, just as the Japanese survived the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki despite an immensely smaller population and economy. Tough luck for those in the A and B rings, and a lot of cancer for those even downwind of the C-ring, but the US will survive.

    Not so, the Democratic party, if the repubs can in any way make the case that dems putting rookies in key positions cost a few hundred thousand lives.

  2. Pat Patterson Says:

    Is this the same Panetta who left office only minutes before the lynch mob broke into the anteroom? This has the makings of being an even worse appointment than Adm. Turner.

  3. Clintonista Leon Panetta To Be Named CIA Director » Pirate’s Cove — Shiny! Says:

    […] Fausta digs deep, and finds out that Panetta had a constant battle with the CIA, wanting to reduce their budget. Sphere: Related Content If you liked my post, feel free to subscribe to my rss feeds. Don’t forget to Blogroll Pirate’s Cove! addthis_pub = ‘wteach’; addthis_logo = ‘’; addthis_logo_background = ‘EFEFFF’; addthis_logo_color = ‘666699’; addthis_brand = ‘Pirate’s Cove’; addthis_options = ‘favorites, email, digg, delicious, fark, newsvine, technorati, facebook, google, live, more’; […]

  4. Leon Panetta, Clintonista Incarnate, To Be Obama’s CIA Pick : Stop The ACLU Says:

    […] Fausta digs deep, and finds out that Panetta had a constant battle with the CIA, wanting to reduce their budget. […]