Panetta To Head CIA


President-elect Barack Obama has selected Leon E. Panetta, the former congressman and White House chief of staff, to take over the Central Intelligence Agency, an organization that Mr. Obama criticized during the campaign for using interrogation methods he decried as torture, Democratic officials said Monday.

. . . Aides have said Mr. Obama had originally hoped to select a C.I.A. head with extensive field experience, especially in combating terrorist networks. But his first choice for the job, John O. Brennan, had to withdraw his name amidst criticism over his role in the formation of the C.I.As detention and interrogation program after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Good for Obama for not letting the CIA's torture apologists pressure him into naming one of their own. The President-Elect makes it clear that torture will not be tolerated in his administration. As Panetta wrote in a March 2008 Washington Monthly article:

If torture can stop the next terrorist attack, the next suicide bomber, then what's wrong with a little waterboarding or electric shock? The simple answer is the rule of law.

. . . We cannot and we must not use torture under any circumstances. We are better than that.

Speaking for me only

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    What an interesting choice! (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ThatOneVoter on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 02:17:09 PM EST
    Next to choosing Clinton as SOS, I think this is the most significant pick, so far.

    What's left of the Agency (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 02:20:51 PM EST
    will of course resent him for this. Too bad.

    I don't know... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by pmj6 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 02:54:45 PM EST
    ...they may well love him, even if not at first. Panetta is a competent administrator, and as such it should be a relief after 8 years of relentless politicization of intelligence.

    GHW Bush was appointed to clean up the mess (none / 0) (#10)
    by slr51 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 02:51:26 PM EST
    the CIA was left in after the Church Commission. I don't believe he had any more intelligence bonafides than Panetta.

    Other than likely having been (none / 0) (#20)
    by scribe on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 03:33:53 PM EST
    an agent?

    Huh? GHW Bush's career prior to CIA director: (none / 0) (#30)
    by slr51 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 04:42:37 PM EST
    • joined the service at the age of 18 in 1941 just after the Pearl Harbor attack, served in the navy until his discharge Sept 1945
    • Went to college after his discharge: graduated in 1948
    • went into the oil business; 1948 - 1966 (becane a multi-millionaire)
    • elected in 1966 as a US Representative from Texas
    • had various elected/appointed government jobs until being appointed CIA director in 1976

    ... so you think maybe he was a CIA agent before he joined the service just after high school?

    There are a people (none / 0) (#31)
    by BernieO on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 04:48:39 PM EST
    who think that he had ties to the CIA long before when he had his own oil company. There is thought that it was a CIA front or some such thing. (Kevin Phillips who wrote "American Dynasty" for one). I think his old man also had CIA ties. I have no idea how credible this is, but it has been out there for a long time.

    Are these by any chance the same (none / 0) (#35)
    by slr51 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 04:59:52 PM EST
    "people" who think 9-11 was an inside job and LBJ had JFK assassinated etc?

    I don't think quoting one of the architects of the Republican southern strategy as your one named source is the best way to convince thinking people.

    I have not seen any credible source making a claim that it is actually true. Papa Bush liked having the rumor spread and seems to have encouraged it, but all that's really out there is vapor that gave him an aura and helped him get ahead.


    You need to read some of the books (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by hairspray on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:34:48 PM EST
    that Kevin Phillips writes.  He may have been a visionary back in the early '70's when he recorded the southern strategy but he wasn't its architect.  His books, Wealth and Democracy, An American Dynasty and American Theocracy trash the Republicans/Bush cabal quite thoroughly. In Wealth and Democracy he sounded the alarm about money in politics that we should all be worried about.

    Is The Nation credible enough for you? (none / 0) (#46)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:27:26 PM EST
    And you can't get more wild-eyed liberal than Joe McBride, who was the source for the others since on the first Bush's CIA career from agent on; see this.

    OK - There is no argument against your facts: (none / 0) (#55)
    by slr51 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:46:53 PM EST
    Papa Bush is responsible for the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy Assassination, escalation of the war in Vietnam, Cubans flying missions for the CIA in the Congo, and Watergate but this involvement is all hush-hush ... so he was appointed director of the CIA (obviously to hide his involvement... with the CIA).

    If there is an argument against the facts (none / 0) (#58)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:54:16 PM EST
    that aren't mine -- do you understand a reference to a source? -- yours certainly isn't it.

    But keep working on it and come on back.


    Yep! According to Phillips the (none / 0) (#64)
    by hairspray on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:10:49 PM EST
    whole family was knee deep in finance, intelligence and war machinery.  Phillips went on to say that the whole thing began back in the late 1920's and spanned the rest of the time until GHB took over.  Of course the elder Bush was never an agent as far as I can tell, but he was surely in on the values of his family and understood where their wealth came from.  Phillips went on to say that the Prescott/Bush family never produced a teacher, social worker, minister, doctor, etc.  Not into the social order I guess.

    From wiki: (none / 0) (#69)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:30:45 PM EST
    Obadiah Newcomb Bush (January 28, 1797-1851) was the son of blacksmith Timothy Bush, Jr. and Lydia Newcomb, and was born in Penfield, New York on January 28, 1797. [...]  Through his son Reverend James Smith Bush (1825-1889), he is the great-great-grandfather of former President George Herbert Walker Bush and the great-great-great-grandfather of President George W. Bush. In Rochester, Obadiah was employed as a schoolmaster and was also a well known abolitionist.

    You had to go pretty far back for (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by hairspray on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:36:34 PM EST
    that one didn't you?  Try reading American Dynasty for a little balance.

    Obviously my humor was too dry for you. (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 07:23:00 PM EST
    Yes, I had to go back to the 1700's. See, that's the funny part...

    google the law firm of (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Salo on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 07:11:43 PM EST
    Sullivan & Cromwell. just a bit of fun.

    Also the payroll for SOCAL and the CIA is virtually identical.


    Answer me this: (none / 0) (#94)
    by scribe on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 08:30:42 PM EST
    Of all the Directors of Central Intelligence who have held the office, why would the CIA pick GHW Bush to be the director they named their headquarters building after?  When he only held the office for like a year or a year and a half?

    Why not the William Donovan Memorial building, after the founder of most of the modern intel community?

    Why not the Dulles building, after the first bigtime DCI?

    I am still kind of old-fashioned:  I think it's rude or gauche to name government buildings or ships after people who are still alive - they might do something embarrassing, and the people doing the naming look like they're sucking up (and might be)....


    wait a minute.................. (none / 0) (#104)
    by cpinva on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 12:11:47 AM EST
    I know, it is not your fault Scribe, someone is bombarding your head with this stuff by sending messages to your teeth.

    i thought the tin foil covering was supposed to block this sort of thing?

    damn, no one ever tells me anything on this site!


    Probably because (none / 0) (#112)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 09:04:33 AM EST
    GW Bush is the only CIA director to ever become President?

    William Donovan never worked for the CIA.

    I do agree with you that naming buildings after people still alive seems inappropriate.  It's a Republican thing, I guess.


    This reminded me of the best conspiracy (none / 0) (#80)
    by steviez314 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 07:16:41 PM EST
    theory of all time:

    When George HW Bush was President, Barbara had GRAVES disease.  Their dog Millie came down with LUPUS.

    Who were 2 stars in Mission Impossible, working  for the C.I.A.?  Peter GRAVES and Peter LUPUS.

    Coincidence?  I think not!  


    They'll be suspicious... (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 03:24:24 PM EST
    ... (they are spies, after all - they're supposed to be suspicious), but if he does a good job I think they can be persuaded.

    I think that it's symbolically a good thing to give the top job to someone whose hands are clean of the last eight years, but I also think it's a reality of the intelligence game that most of the top jobs under Panetta are going to have to be filled by people of whom the same cannot be said.


    This is particularly impressive (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 02:29:03 PM EST
    Representative Jane Harman of California, formerly the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, was considered for the job, but she was ruled out as a candidate in part because of her early support for some Bush administration programs like the domestic eavesdropping program.

    How the HELL did Brennan get so close?

    The only place we actually know where he got close (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by slr51 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 02:48:11 PM EST
    was in the echo chamber.  No credible leak ever came out that indicated he was in the running for real.

    there were many many (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 02:54:34 PM EST
    leaks about Brennan...he stepped down from his INSA chairmanship, he left Analyis Corp, he was being vetted, etc.  

    Got citations? (none / 0) (#48)
    by slr51 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:34:26 PM EST
    The leaks I remember that stirred up the most angst were an unsourced WSJ article and one that quoted a "current government official familiar with the transition." (In other words, someone currently in the Bush/Cheney administration.)

    Seriously (none / 0) (#60)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:57:11 PM EST
    if you don't think Brennan was considered for the position you haven't been paying attention.

    Ambinder 1


    Even the excerpt BTD put up above references Brennan's candidacy.


    If that's the reason Harman was not picked... (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by pmj6 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 02:57:39 PM EST
    ...there is some rich irony there, considering Obama's own, late support for Bush's eavesdropping program.

    Wow, I love this idea (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 02:42:03 PM EST
    Should give the whole system a fresh look. Looking forward to seeing who he picks for DNI.

    he is going to pick (none / 0) (#7)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 02:45:18 PM EST
    Dennis Blair...

    It's about time (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 02:47:44 PM EST
    Putting the country back on the moral high ground is essential in foriegn relations. It's impossible to be critical of human rights violations when you're one of the leading offenders.

    Solid anti-torture statements (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by ricosuave on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 03:06:47 PM EST
    Panetta has made solid anti-torture statements, and not just today.  I have high hopes that this translates into how he will approach the use of renditions and interrogation methods.

    That's a significant qualification (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:55:52 PM EST
    to me, but I'm not so wise as Feinstein, Reid, et al., I guess.

    Feinstein is furious (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by oldpro on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 07:23:05 PM EST
    about the Panetta pick...reportedly, she wants an intelligence 'professional.'  She's the new committee chair and word is she wasn't 'kept in the loop' about this appointment.  Confirmation hearings will be fascinating.

    Let us not forget (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by scribe on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 08:24:40 PM EST
    that Feinstein was one of the biggest enablers Bush and Cheney had, and that her hubby made gobs of cash off government contracts doled out by Bushco.

    For that matter, I'm reading over at Greenwald's place that Jello Jay Rockefeller is also chapped about Panetta being named.  Need I remind you of how much an enabler Jay was?  He of the stern, handwritten letter he couldn't show anyone protesting about the NSA stuff he couldn't understand?  And all the I'll-bend-over-and-give-you-everything-you-want compromises he made while nominally in charge of the Senate Intel Committee.

    I agree with Greenwald on this:  if Feinstein and Jello Jay are angry about the pick, that's a good sign.


    And don't forget (none / 0) (#95)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 08:34:50 PM EST
    Reyes wanted Hayden to stay!  

    Rockefeller saying he doesn't think the D/CIA position should be "political"...give me a break.  George HW Bush.  Porter Goss.  I rest my case.

    Obama has nothing to fear from the whiners.


    No. You need not remind me. (none / 0) (#100)
    by oldpro on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 10:45:56 PM EST
    I'm well ahead of you on this one.

    One point in Panetta's favor (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 10:00:52 PM EST
    Feinstein is uppset because Panetta is a critic of the very torture program that she enabled and endorsed.

    When I agree with (none / 0) (#89)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 08:09:17 PM EST
    Feinstein the saying "Politics makes strange bedfellows takes on new meaning."

    Well, Jim, maybe you're post- (none / 0) (#90)
    by oldpro on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 08:15:50 PM EST

    It would be a wonderful (none / 0) (#105)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 07:22:46 AM EST
    world if both sides would find some common ground.

    But that won't happen.


    Shake me... (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:08:36 PM EST
    when the CIA is disbanded...then I'll know we've won a battle against state-sanctioned torture.  Until then, it's just double-speak and smokescreens, imo.

    I mean, they're still swearing they never ran dope over at the CIA...professional liars. Even if Panetta has all the intentions in the world to change the culture at the CIA, the culture would never allow it.

    off topic personal quickee (none / 0) (#65)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:13:17 PM EST
    You coming to Tunica?

    I've heard him speak on panels (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by hairspray on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:14:40 PM EST
    without a script. The last one was at Stanford a few years back. He is very good.  And while he started out as a Republican, he defended the Democrats and Clinton quite forcefully with a lot of information to buttress his accounts.  I like him a lot and hope he will do a good job.

    A Sci-Fi Geek in charge of the CIA ... (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:44:14 PM EST
    could anything be cooler?

    What a terrible pick (3.00 / 0) (#96)
    by Slado on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 09:13:14 PM EST
    I though the days of nominating unqualified cronies was over?

    This is a purely political pick for a very serious job.   Obama was getting good grades for picks before this one.  I could quable with politics but not with experience.

    This one is bad on both fronts.

    This is the CIA people.  Not head of some research comitte.

    Obama will get slammed with this one in 2010.

    Huh?? (1.00 / 1) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 03:18:21 PM EST
    Obama had best pray that nothing happens on his watch or he will have to explain the appointmen of a man who is clearly not qualified.

    I would assume... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 03:26:33 PM EST
    ... that being Chief of Staff to the President does in fact involve dealing with the intelligence community, and seeing pretty much everything the President sees. It's true he's not a career intelligence guy, but I think he's defensibly qualified for the job.

    I understand (1.00 / 0) (#49)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:34:49 PM EST
    that you think he is qualified.

    But the stated basis of your belief is thin gruel indeed.

    He hasn't even ran a large organization and hasn't even demonstrated a particularly large amount of personal intelligence.


    This is patently stupid (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 08:58:46 AM EST
    He was in charge of the White House staff which has several thousand people.

    Exactly how large an organization does he need to run in order to meet your qualifications requirements?

    If you want to say he is the wrong type of person for the job, fine.  But he is certainly qualified to run a government bureaucracy.


    I think we are (none / 0) (#114)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 10:44:17 AM EST
    quibbling over words..... A staff of several thousand, basically, bureaucratic employees does not get near running an organization like the CIA.

    Why? (none / 0) (#118)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 12:31:28 PM EST
    You will need to explain this claim because it is counter-intuitive.  

    We aren't talking about running a department store here.  He ran the White House, the most powerful political entity in the world.  


    Apples and oranges (none / 0) (#119)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 01:18:13 PM EST
    It is closer to a department store than it is to the CIA. Much closer.

    Obama is smart. He may be setting Panetta up as a sacrifice... give him up for reduced flak over his AG... The whole thing just smells coming from a very smooth political team.


    Are you f'n kidding me? (none / 0) (#122)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 02:46:27 PM EST
    Did you really just say that the White House staff is more like a department store than the CIA?  

    A department store have a National Security Council or a Situation Room?


    Well, at least a store has (none / 0) (#123)
    by Cream City on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 04:44:12 PM EST
    a complaints department for the public.  The CIA could use one. :-)

    so could the (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 05:45:02 PM EST
    office if the Prez.... Bush paid no attention to me whatsoever...

    and I expect Obama will pay even less.


    No-win argument (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by ricosuave on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 03:28:19 PM EST
    I am as critical of Obama as anyone you will find on the left, but I think that goes a bit too far.  If it had been a more experienced person, the criticism would have been that he was not willing to rock the boat at CIA and had yet again betrayed his followers (which is why he dropped the previous choice).

    Panetta is qualified by nearly any measure you can think of, though it is true he does not have a huge intelligence background.  But given the choice between someone steeped in the CIA's recent activities and someone respected/capable but without direct intelligence experience, I think he chose wisely.

    The republicans are going to criticize whatever ANY Democratic president does.  They are still blaming things on Bill Clinton, and he has been out of office for 8 years.  They are like the kids at school that make fun of you for having new shoes or a fresh haircut.  Obama could appoint Bill Donovan and they would criticize him for choosing someone that worked too closely with the Russians.


    Let's have (2.00 / 0) (#51)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:35:58 PM EST
    some of these "any measure you can think off."

    Measures (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by ricosuave on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:34:12 PM EST
    From his white house stint, I believe he got first-hand, direct experience in crisis management, personnel management, foreign affairs.  He's worked as political staff at the local and national level, within the bureaucracy at staff levels in executive agencies, was a US Rep, headed OMB, and was chief of staff.  He has policy credentials on a variety of topics, lawmaking experience, a legal background, and has demonstrated over the last several years that he has a solid understanding and can talk in detail about any foreign policy topic.  His job should consist largely of managing a diverse set of smart and professional people (which he has done and does now) and understanding complex issues and how they interrelate (which is part of several of his past positions).

    He is not very tall, so I guess that is one of the measures I can think of that he isn't so great on.

    If I were forced to come up with some negatives, I could, but by and large it is hard to argue that he is not qualified or competent for a high-level government position.


    Uh (1.00 / 0) (#75)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:51:03 PM EST
    the issue is his lack of experience in intelligence.

    We have just had a graphic demonstration of what a screwed up CIA can let happen.

    This is no time for on the job training by a political pin ball who has made no particular mark any place.


    We just had a graphic experience (5.00 / 0) (#102)
    by ryanwc on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 11:41:48 PM EST
    of what intelligence that gets "sexed up" by the veep's office can do.

    CIA had it about right.  They fought the Niger stuff off as long as they could.  

    The problem wasn't bad intel.  It was an administration determined to lie.  


    Nope (none / 0) (#106)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 07:49:03 AM EST
    In around January of 2002 the VP's office, per Wilson, asked the CIA to determine if rumors were true that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from Niger.

    Wilson went to Niger in 2/02 and investigated.

    Per the CIA, Wilson told the CIA in March of 2002 that, as the British and Bush claimed, Iraq had met with Niger officials and that the ex-PM of Niger understood that Iraq wanted to purchase uranium.

    No one claimed that Iraq had purchased

    NYT article.

    In his interview with Committee staff he stated that no uranium and been purchased and no attempt had been made. When it was noted to him that his information about the report and the names on it would not have been seen by him.....

    The former ambassador said that he may have "misspoken"


    Senate Intelligence Committe


    Indeed? What conclusion(s) (none / 0) (#109)
    by oldpro on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 08:50:05 AM EST
    are you drawing from your links and exerpts, Jim?

    That (none / 0) (#115)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 10:48:04 AM EST
    Wilson contradicted himself rather badly and has never had to explain himself, despite his troublesome articles that touched so many lives.

    If your argument is "Bush Cheney lied and men died" you need to look further for proof.


    Proof of what? (none / 0) (#120)
    by oldpro on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 02:18:20 PM EST
    He was a Captain in military intel. (1.00 / 0) (#78)
    by Salo on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 07:13:19 PM EST
    back in the 1960s.

    Wow (1.00 / 0) (#88)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 08:05:13 PM EST
    I am impressed...

    That settles it for me.

    Yes. Yes indeed.


    He's qualified (5.00 / 5) (#21)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 03:42:52 PM EST
    to run a large organization and make decisions in accordance with the laws of the land. No one is asking him to decipher coded messages himself.

    I am confident (5.00 / 5) (#37)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:08:04 PM EST
    that the partisan clowns like yourself would find a way to blame Obama no matter who he appointed, so it's not worth worrying about.  Maybe Leon Panetta can be your new Jamie Gorelick.

    Of course, under Republican rules, Obama is not only to blame if an attack happens on his watch, he's also to blame if an attack happens on the watch of a subsequent Republican president.  It's so amusing to watch you, day after day, ticking off the problems in our society and explaining how this one is on Clinton... this one was Jimmy Carter's fault... now this one over here, that was FDR.  It all depends what shiny object the WSJ editorial page chose to dangle in front of you and your fellow travelers on a given issue.


    hehe (2.00 / 0) (#52)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:40:50 PM EST
    Gorelick already has her own place in history, of the country. Her actions are well known, recorded and won't go away. So there is no need for you to try and defend them from a non-existent attack.

    Vulgar personal attacks from you aside, if you are capable of such, tell me his qualifications.

    Your turn.


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:00:08 PM EST
    Your preposterous effort to preemptively blame Panetta for the next 9/11 speaks for itself.  I don't even need to take a turn.

    Statements of facts (1.00 / 1) (#63)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:07:51 PM EST
    seem to bother you. Panetta has zero experience and when Reid, et al show it you should pay attention.

    doofus (1.00 / 1) (#103)
    by ryanwc on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 11:44:04 PM EST
    you said he had no experience running a large organization.

    As Chief of Staff, he ran the US Government, which would be the largest organization in the world.

    No more questions of yours need be answered.  You were outed as a troll by that comment.


    Uh (1.00 / 0) (#107)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 07:51:13 AM EST
    He ran the US government?

    I think you have defined yourself as not being capable of answering questions.



    What you believe (none / 0) (#110)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 08:52:49 AM EST
    about Jamie Gorelick and what is actually true about Jamie Gorelick are, I suspect, wildly different things.

    Not qualified (none / 0) (#19)
    by jondee on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 03:29:42 PM EST
    see: outgoing nitwit.

    What do you mean...... (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by NYShooter on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 03:54:54 PM EST
    "not qualified?"

    Being a ranking member of the Clinton/Judas Club:
    George Stephanapolis, Robert Reich, Bill Richardson, Dee Dee Myers, Mike McCurry....Leon Panettta......all that's needed.

    "............public records and interviews with former Clinton administration officials and others strongly suggest that Clinton overstates her role." Leon Panetta, Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff.......... said that Hillary Clinton wasn't privy to the president's daily intelligence brief, nor did she sit in on National Security Council meetings."

    Just wait for the CIA/State fireworks to begin.


    there is his experience (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Salo on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 07:14:43 PM EST
    He knocked Clinton on her backside with that disclosure.

    You are correct when you state (none / 0) (#67)
    by hairspray on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:26:40 PM EST
    that Hillary Clinton wasn't privy to the president's daily intelligence brief, nor did she sit in on National Security Council meetings." I have never heard of a wife being privy to the National Security briefs. No other candidate has access to those briefs either unless the person was on the intelligence committee to begin with.  I am not even sure that it would be acceptable
     OTOH I have heard him say, in person, that Hillary was a very capable and intelligent person who would be more than up to the job.

    That no one in the CIA qualified (5.00 / 0) (#117)
    by Cream City on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:39:42 AM EST
    by agreeing with Obama's stance against torture is what ought to be troubling to us as a country that sends the CIA to do devilment in other countries.

    I wish that Obama could have found someone with Panetta's administrative abilities but also with CIA experience, but that Obama could not do so says a lot about the CIA.

    And it says Obama is sticking to this stand against torture, and not reversing himself as on some other issues.  So it's a good appointment in several ways, including if it is a sign that Obama is becoming his own man and separating from the likes of Reid and Senate leadership when they're wrong.


    Another good call, (none / 0) (#5)
    by scribe on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 02:33:08 PM EST
    on a day which looks to have had a number of good calls already.

    Dianne Feinstein (none / 0) (#22)
    by ricosuave on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 03:46:49 PM EST
    is not happy.
    “I was not informed about the selection of Leon Panetta to be the CIA Director.  I know nothing about this, other than what I’ve read,” said Senator Feinstein, who will chair the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in the 111th Congress.

    “My position has consistently been that I believe the Agency is best-served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time.”

    I'm none too pleased (5.00 / 7) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 04:05:47 PM EST
    with Dianne Feinstein's performance on these issues for the past 8 years.

    I could only be happier (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:23:14 PM EST
    if I found out Jay Rockefeller was opposed to the nomination as well.

    Be careful what you wish for (none / 0) (#50)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:35:10 PM EST
    I assume this confirmation has to go through HIS committee.

    You would actually be mistaken (none / 0) (#56)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:50:53 PM EST
    Sen. Rockefeller is moving over to chair the Commerce Committee this year.  Sen. Feinstein is the new chair of Intelligence.

    Oops (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:52:25 PM EST
    Well then we already have a problematic situation. DiFi is going to have to get on board, or Paneta could run into real trouble.

    Circular firing squad? (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by ricosuave on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 07:04:58 PM EST
    The democrats in the senate couldn't bring themselves to oppose Bush nominations like Harriet Miers, John Ashcroft, or Alberto Gonzales, but now they have a backbone and oppose presidential nominations from their own guy?

    I'm sure she'll get on board. (none / 0) (#68)
    by dk on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:28:05 PM EST
    Though (and trust me, I am often really PO'd at Difi...in fact, her 1994 re-election to the senate was one of the three times in my life I haven't voted for the Democrat in an election) it is somewhat strange that they didn't get her signoff before leaking the nomination, no?  I wonder what that was all about.

    Maybe they decided to make (none / 0) (#86)
    by oldpro on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 07:32:24 PM EST
    the call and take the heat if she blew instead of running it by her, arguing with her, and then appointing Panetta anyway over her objections.

    I think it's interesting that she's decided to go public with her disagreement with the PE...and with Panetta, who will be confirmed.


    He is opposed (none / 0) (#83)
    by seeker on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 07:17:56 PM EST
    I just read it.  See Huffington or NY Times.

    Harry Reid also unhappy about it (none / 0) (#39)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:12:30 PM EST
    according to report just on CNN.  Asked about the nomination, he literally turned his back on it and wouldn't say a word.

    I find it encouraging (none / 0) (#41)
    by cenobite on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:15:22 PM EST
    As one of Senator Feinstein's constituents (that she famously doesn't listen to) that she is not amused. She is the very model of "regulatory capture."

    for my information (none / 0) (#44)
    by DFLer on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:24:33 PM EST
    what do you mean by
    the very model of "regulatory capture." ?



    What I mean (5.00 / 3) (#54)
    by cenobite on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:43:20 PM EST
    Is that in her position on the senate intelligence committee that she is led-along by the organization she is charged with regulating, that is, the intelligence community.

    So instead of acting in the interests of the american people, she acts in the interests of the CIA, NSA et al.

    From Wikipedia:

    Regulatory capture is a term used to refer to situations in which a government regulatory agency created to act in the public interest instead acts in favor of the commercial or special interests that dominate in the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.

    thanks...got it (none / 0) (#101)
    by DFLer on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 10:49:58 PM EST
    then she should run for president (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by txpublicdefender on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 04:40:06 PM EST
    She may have her opinion about who would be better, and that's fine, but until she's elected President of the United States with the constitutional and statutory authority to appoint the CIA Director, those opinions don't matter.  If someone is unqualified, then fine, don't vote to confirm him or her.  But, she doesn't get to pick who it is.  

    Also, frankly, her opinions on issues of intelligence gathering, eavesdropping, torture, etc. leave me little reason to give a hoot what her opinion is.  


    Advise and consent (none / 0) (#108)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 07:53:40 AM EST
    must have been deleted from the Constitution.

    Strange, I didn't miss it.


    Then tell (none / 0) (#116)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 10:51:31 AM EST
    txpublic... He's the one complaining.

    He can also tell you whether or not he agrees with you calling him dumb.



    So you recognize that (none / 0) (#125)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 06:00:22 PM EST
    my comment was to TxPublicDefender re Fienstiein but you decided to make an erroneous comment anyway.

    Hey, works for me.


    BIg plus in favor of Panetta. (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:41:27 PM EST
    She must have had some tussles him in the ast over Califronia issues.

    Hey, he does have some intelligence experience:

    Panetta was instrumental in creating CSU Monterey by converting Fort Ord, where he was chief of operations and planning of the intelligence section when he was in the army, into the university.

    I think an end run around incoming (5.00 / 4) (#87)
    by Anne on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 07:55:35 PM EST
    committee chairs is a mistake; while I think Obama should not necessarily choose the nominee the committee chairs want, I don't think it helps his cause to leave them totally out of the loop.

    The change Obama says he wants to bring to Washington will not happen without some cooperation from the Congress, so it seems like he ought to be handling these nominations with a little more finesse than it looks like he applied to this particular nomination.

    All that aside, I continue to be amazed that a man who, while he was running for the nomination, could barely bring himself to even acknowledge there was a Clinton in the White House for 8 years, has shown a remarkable affinity for former Clinton administration personnel.

    I would, at this stage, prefer someone who has not been steeped in the culture of the intelligence community, but has nevertheless been around the block a few times, understands the way things work, knows how to run an organization, and won't be tempted to close ranks when "outsiders" dare to bring a different level of objectivity to policy discussions.

    We'll see, though, if Obama - or Panetta himself - can convince the committee chairs that he's the right one for the job, even if he wasn't their first choice.


    The Obama team's failure (none / 0) (#91)
    by brodie on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 08:20:48 PM EST
    to discuss this matter with the incoming and outgoing chair does seem to be a blunder, the second one so far (after Richardson) in the transition.  

    And while I too don't want Obama taking orders from them -- and least of all types like DiFi and Rockerfeller -- I'd imagine most committee chairs are going to be hypersensitive about the lack of consultation, and they'll look to get their revenge.

    Back when Carter came to town, he began by insulting Teddy Kennedy -- "I got elected w/o having to kiss Teddy's [bum]" -- and then JC the Genius proceeded to offend Speaker Tip by failing to inform him ahead of time about admin bills he was sending to the Hill, and several deliberate instances of snubbing Tip, sometimes in incredibly cheap and cruel ways, on WH social occasions.  We all know how well Jimmy's presidency turned out ...

    Now it's up to Obama to mend some fences and stick by his man.  Going soft on Panetta would probably send some interesting signals to the Repubs that this guy can be easily rolled.

    I wouldn't put Leon in the Sorensen league as a potential major reformer/shaker-upper, and he isn't quite the ultrarevolutionary bomb-thrower pick that JFK had in mind -- his brother Bobby for DCI in the 2d term.  But compared to the status quo tinkerers the last two Dem presidents have offered up, Leon comes off as almost a Trotskyite.


    This latest from the annoying DiFi (none / 0) (#28)
    by brodie on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 04:29:18 PM EST
    makes me nervous.  

    There is something almost too good to be true about someone as outspokenly anti-torture as LP, and a Dem to boot (though with a bipartisan resume), getting the nod for DCI and then going on to actually get confirmed.

    It's happened before where a Dem prez has nominated a reform-minded "outsider" to run the Agency, and the nomination ran afoul of the spooks and the Pentagon and the usual gathering of well-placed but timid Dems who did their bidding.  

    Previously it was Pres Carter in 1977 nominating Ted Sorensen for DCI.  That one didn't make it to full confirmation hearings even, with the overt reason -- bogus concern over TS's use of classified gov't docs to write his Kennedy book -- masking the real reasons:  he was deemed too dovish, and would seek to engineer too much fundamental democratic change at CIA.

    Naturally, as soon as Carter (and some timid senate Dems, like ML Byrd, Adlai Stevenson and one Joe Biden) began to feel some heat, he acted to cut himself loose from TS, and the nom began to quicky unravel.  

    But Leon Panetta might succeed with Congress and TPTB where the more liberal TS failed, given his moderate politics and nonconfrontational temperament.


    he would be Obama's spy chief. (none / 0) (#81)
    by Salo on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 07:16:52 PM EST
    he needs to be able to pick someone he utterly trusts.

    And here I was hoping... (none / 0) (#36)
    by pmj6 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:03:58 PM EST
    ...that the Congressional Dems would oppose Obama's worst impulses (like the whole "post-partisanship" nonsense), not his best ones.

    Ouch. A zinger of a line. (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:30:01 PM EST
    that may be her position, (none / 0) (#26)
    by cpinva on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 04:12:17 PM EST
    "My position has consistently been that I believe the Agency is best-served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time.

    but it doesn't automatically follow that it's necessarily the correct one. how many CEO's of fortune 500 (assuming there are any left) companies can actually design and construct their company's products? not too many, i'd wager.

    i don't know if mr. panetta is the best person for the job, but the fact that he's not an "intelligence professional" is the least of my concerns. he'll have bunches of those working for him.

    my primary concern is that he'll give his boss the truth, not just what he wants to hear, to justify whatever decision he's already made.

    From what I've seen, (none / 0) (#27)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 04:22:07 PM EST
    the CIA is most assuredly not like "many F500 co's."

    CIA lifers can be fiercely loyal to their own and deeply distrustful of outsiders.

    I'm not making a prediction here, merely a point of information.


    From what I have read, some of the (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by hairspray on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:43:58 PM EST
    better agents left during Bush's tenure.  Who does that leave?

    The rest of the better agents? (none / 0) (#82)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 07:17:22 PM EST
    Ex CIAer Opines (none / 0) (#32)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 04:49:22 PM EST
    Retired CIA deputy director for the East Europe division Milt Bearden said Panetta is a brilliant choice. "It is not problematic that Panetta lacks experience in intelligence," Bearden e-mailed. "Intel experience is overrated. Good judgement, common sense, and an understanding of Washington is a far better mix to take to Langley than the presumption of experience in intelligence matters. Having a civilian in the intelligence community mix is, likewise, a useful balance. Why not DNI?"

    Laura Rozen Foreign Policy.com

    Read on... Not all spooks are so enthusiastic

    I think many (none / 0) (#42)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:17:19 PM EST
    are probably pleased Obama chose a non-military man.

    Frank Naif wrote an interesting article about the CIA today.


    Oy (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:26:00 PM EST
    The CIA is like a hall of mirrors. Professional liars trained in the blackest arts....  what a snake pit.

    one thing seems clear to me (none / 0) (#62)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 06:06:05 PM EST
    the CIA's "morale" is always a storyline.  But there absolutely never seems to be consensus on anything.  Why should Obama bother trying to gauge the CIA's "morale" when making a decision?  There's no one belief spread across the agency.

    As Naif says, "Intelligence officers now routinely purchase special professional liability insurance to cover potential legal costs, because they cannot count on their uncourageous leaders to stand up and take responsibility when intelligence operations go wrong."  There's something concrete to fix.  That should help morale.

    And I would guess it depends on who your source is.  Intelligence contracting attracts some crooks and some people who get madly rich.  No wonder people in the CIA (or ex-CIA) are never on the same wavelength.


    Bet Dee Dee Myers isn't happy (none / 0) (#33)
    by BernieO on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 04:52:42 PM EST
    Panetta was the guy who said she deserved less because she wasn't supporting a family.

    Actionable of him to say so (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 05:13:26 PM EST
    of course.  Let's hope he's had some sensitivity training since, before he takes over the CIA. . . .

    NYT article misleads again (none / 0) (#34)
    by Frank Burns on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 04:59:11 PM EST
    Where it states "...Brennan, had to withdraw his name amidst criticism over his role in the formation of the C.I.A's detention and interrogation program..." I expect Glenn G. to flag this.  He has been obsessed with the media continually reporting that Brennan was accused of being involved in torture policy. As Greenwald has stated repeatedly, the criticism was that Brennan endorsed the principles of the policy in public statements, not that he helped enact or implement them.

    Ironic that Obama brings in Republicans (none / 0) (#93)
    by sallywally on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 08:28:26 PM EST
    in various ways and/or says he will but fails to bring his own Dem "team" into the discussion.

    But also very odd that Feinstein would try to damage her incoming President openly in the press. If someone has to be slighted, I wouldn't think it should be the new Pres at this point.

    Do you think this has to do with Repubs' complaints that Obama isn't really postpartisan until he has pissed off his own folks?

    Been reading comments over at Digby's (none / 0) (#97)
    by sallywally on Mon Jan 05, 2009 at 09:59:08 PM EST
    and boy do they hate DiFi! Most commenters are glad he slighted her and hope he contributes to her downfall.