Obama Can Redeem Panetta with Pat Lang as Deputy CIA Director

The latest addition to Obama's senseless Cabinet is Leon Panetta as Director of the CIA. Panetta is a budget wonk with a deep commitment to environmental issues and no expertise or experience in intelligence, so he fits right in with the totally sensless majority of Obama's senseless Cabinet, like the healthcare wonk Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and the foreign-policy wonk Bill Richardson at Commerce, although he contrasts with the far-right-center minority of incoming Secretaries like Kenny "Offshore" Salazar and Ron "NAFTA" Kirk.

What we really needed at CIA is an expert in exactly the kind of intelligence that CIA has shriekingly failed to procure, which is to say human intelligence, and it would be frosting on that beautiful cake if we could also get a person of unquestioned integrity and generally good judgement in the bargain.

That person is Colonel (Ret.) W. Patrick Lang, who formerly supervised HUMINT operations worldwide for the Department of Defense, with a rank equivalent to Lieutenant General in the arcane hierarchy of Defense Intelligence.

He was the very first Professor of Arabic at West Point. At the Defense Intelligence Agency, he was the Defense Intelligence Officer (DIO) for the Middle East, South Asia and counter-terrorism, and first Director of the Defense Humint Service. He literally wrote the book on HUMINT with Intelligence: the Human Factor.

He was one of the few high-profile intelligence professionals who criticized the invasion of Iraq before it happened, and he later analyzed Bush/Cheney's distortion of intelligence to produce pro-war hysteria, in articles like "Drinking the Koolaid" for the Journal of the Middle East Policy Council. (Anyone who takes the trouble to read this linked article is likely to agree with the thesis of this diary wihout further ado.)

Pat Lang is a tough, brilliant, principled intelligence professional with high-level expertise and experience in exactly the places where the United States has to get it right , right now, after eight long years of blunders and lies. As Deputy Director of CIA, Pat Lang would allow Leon Panetta to deploy his outstanding political skills for the good of the Agency, instead of submerging them in the ocean of an arcane bureaucracy where he hasn't got a clue.  


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    Yes, Dorothy... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jacob Freeze on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 04:32:04 PM EST
    Yes, Dorothy, I know Richardson withdrew from Commerce, but it wasn't because Obama suddenly noticed that he had jammed a lot of round pegs into square holes.

    Hey Jacob (none / 0) (#2)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 08:55:46 PM EST
    excellent diary.  I had not heard of Lang.  IMO, Panetta is not necessarily the problem - it's that his inexperience has been used as an excuse to keep people like Stephen Kappes around.  The Obama transition team said Kappes would be invited to stay.  

    Lang seems to be a great representative from the ranks of talented, principled people who aren't employed by the Bushies now.  The guy denounces torture and thinks the government has to teach its soldiers its a crime.  

    He has a friggin' blog for God's sakes.

    It's a shame the broader media conversation about the CIA is so limited.  And it's a shame that Obama, though he chose Panetta as CIA Director, seems to be buying into that claustrophobic conversation by keeping around a lot of other higherups in the CIA.

    This Is Good Too (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by squeaky on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 02:35:43 AM EST
    By Pat Lang, Drining the Kool Aid.

    He is a friend of Larry Johnson at No Quarter and blogs there as well.


    Thanks, lilburro! (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jacob Freeze on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 02:07:47 AM EST
    It's great to get a compliment from someone so well-informed and intelligent about intel.

    I see you already went deeper into Lang's résumé beyond my outline, but there's one element of it that's worth special emphasis:

    Lang isn't just an honest and careful analyst; he's also capable of putting together a big picture out of the data, and a shining example of that quality is his idea of the "Tabouleh" Line that Hezbollah used against the Israeli Army in Lebanon. An earlier description of this concept is available online at http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/files/thebestdefense.pdf