SEN. GRAHAM: Are you surprised that the president of the United States never called you, Secretary Panetta, and say, ‘how’s it going?’
SEC. PANETTA: I — you know, normally in these situations –
SEN. GRAHAM: Did he know the level of threat that –
SEC. PANETTA: Let — well, let me finish the answer. We were deploying the forces. He knew we were deploying the forces. He was being kept updated –
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, I hate to interrupt you, but I got limited time. We didn’t deploy any forces. Did you call him back — wait a minute –
SEC. PANETTA: No, but the event — the event was over by the time we got –
SEN. GRAHAM: Mr. Secretary, you didn’t know how long the attack would last. Did you ever call him and say, Mr. President, it looks like we don’t have anything to get there anytime soon?
SEC. PANETTA: The event was over before we could move any assets.
SEN. GRAHAM: It lasted almost eight hours. And my question to you is during that eight-hour period, did the president show any curiosity about how’s this going, what kind of assets do you have helping these people? Did he ever make that phone call?
SEC. PANETTA: Look, there is no question in my mind that the president of the United States was concerned about American lives and, frankly, all of us were concerned about American lives.
SEN. GRAHAM: With all due respect, I don’t believe that’s a credible statement if he never called and asked you, are we helping these people; what’s happening to them? We have a second round, and we’ll take it up then.
SEC. PANETTA: As a former chief of staff to the president of the United States, the purpose of staff is to be able to get that kind of information, and those staff were working with us.
SEN. GRAHAM: So you think it’s a typical response of the president of the United States to make one phone call, do what you can and never call you back again and ask you, how’s it going, by the way, showing your frustration we don’t have any assets in there to help these people for over seven hours?
SEC. PANETTA: The president is well-informed about what is going on. Make no mistake about it.
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, that is interesting to hear.
Vice President-elect Joe Biden — offering one last defense of the institution he’s inhabited for three decades — conceded the Obama transition team made a “mistake” in not consulting the Senate before tapping Leon Panetta to head the CIA.
“I’m still a Senate man and I always think this way,” he told reporters in the Capitol. “I think it’s always good to talk to the requisite members of Congress.”
On Monday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the incoming chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she was surprised by the pick and complained that she wasn’t consulted.
“I think it was just a mistake,” Biden said of the transition team’s failure to check in with Feinstein and outgoing Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), who was also miffed.
Betsy asks What happened to consultation? Betsy raises an important point, but the Dems have a long tradition of not consulting… at least with the electorate.
an ancient, leather-bound volume about six inches thick that a spokeswoman said has been in the family since 1893
and will be resigning his Senate seat in a few days so his chief of staff will take it. Any question of Joe resigning before the general election so the people could chose someone else? Of course not. Wouldn’t want to take any chances of the Dem party losing that seat.
In the state level, Jim McGreevy here in NJ resigned (in the most famous “Gay American” ruse in history) much too late for a different candidate to appear in the 2004 election ballot and named Dick Codey governor at the last moment . Then there’s Frank Lautenberg, who came back from retirement when Robert Torricelli had to quit because of corruption charges (imagine that!) in a last-minute ballot name change, so last-minute that the average – uninformed – guy on the street thought Lautenberg was running for reelection.
And at the local level, Princeton Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand resigned in December and was replaced by Bernie Miller, who was elected by the Township Committee and not the general election.
What happened to consultation? The Dems have long forgotten to consult with the electorate. It comes as no surprise that now they’ve forgotten to consult among themselves.
ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey was holding a suspicious shipment bound for Venezuela from Iran because it contained lab equipment capable of producing explosives, a customs official said Tuesday.
Suleyman Tosun, a customs official at the Mediterranean port of Mersin, said military experts were asked to examine the material, which was seized last month, and decide whether to let the shipment to go to Venezuela.
Authorities detected the equipment during a search of 22 containers labeled “tractor parts,” Tosun said. They were brought to Mersin by trucks from neighboring Iran, he said. Turkey’s Interior Ministry said an investigation was under way.
“Experts from Turkey’s Atomic Institute determined there were no traces of radioactive material, but said the equipment was enough to set up an explosives lab,” Tosun said. “We have asked the military to send experts to determine whether to resume the shipment.”
Venezuela may provide a useful first test for Obama’s pledge to engage rather than isolate antagonists. While President Hugo Chavez is one of Washington’s noisiest critics, frayed relations would likely be easier to mend than those with nations such as Iran and Cuba, whose leaders are even more hostile toward the U.S.
Some Obama advisers privately suggest the president-elect might reach out to Chavez, proposing cooperation on a few issues of mutual interest — drug enforcement, energy, poverty — while asking Brazil and other neighbors to encourage the Venezuelan leader to negotiate in good faith in the interest of regional harmony.
The “mutual interests” are diametrically opposite when it comes to drug enforcement and energy, and Chavez is doing his darnest in keeping his people poor.
I GUESS UKRANIANS, and Europeans in general, would be applauded by the world’s intelligentsia if they started lobbing “homemade rockets” at, say, Belgorod, considering Russia’s strangling by cutting off a vital resource, gas, precisely during a severe cold wave across the continent, no?
Capgras Syndrome? That’s the delusion, named for the French shrink Jean Marie Joseph Capgras, that “a close relative or friend has been replaced by an impostor, an exact double, despite recognition of familiarity in appearance and behavior.” (See here for more.) How could Obama, who promised Change, assemble an administration virtually indistinguishable from that of Bill Clinton? How could he add insult to injury by asking Bob Gates, George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense, to stay on? How could he pick Lawrence Summers as his top economic advisor? Didn’t Obama know that Summers had trespassed on one of the most sacrosanct of prohibitions by offering an independent thought touching on what David Stove called “the intellectual capacity of women”? How dare he?
Dozens of national-security and regional experts who worked intensively as volunteers on policy teams for the Obama campaign — writing talking points, doing debate prep, checking facts, following RUMINT, and rebutting opposition attacks — have grown anxious and quiet as they await word on what jobs they might (or might not) be offered in the new administration.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yielded to Republican threats and agreed on Monday not to immediately seat fellow Democrat Al Franken, whose razor-close victory in Minnesota faces legal challenges.
Senate Republicans had planned to disrupt the opening of the new Congress on Tuesday by blocking Franken’s swearing-in.
And in another ugly fight, Senate Democrats vowed to block, at least for now, the seating of fellow party member Roland Burris whose appointment by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich carries a whiff of political scandal.
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.
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.
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.