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.
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.