What the Panetta appointment means

posted at 10:57 am on January 6, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama sent a message with the selection of Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, but apparently didn’t think enough people understood it.  He sent a stronger message yesterday with his choice of Leon Panetta for Director of CIA, and this time, it’s unmistakable.  Political considerations will trump competence and experience, even in the most critical roles Obama has to fill:

President-elect Barack Obama stunned the national intelligence community by selecting Clinton White House chief of staff Leon E. Panetta, a longtime Washington insider with little intelligence experience, to serve as the next head of the CIA.

The decision — which was also met with wariness on Capitol Hill — reflects a desire to change the intelligence power structure, officials close to the selection said yesterday. Obama has chosen retired Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair as the director of national intelligence, a job he intends to reinforce as the “lead horse” on intelligence issues, an official close to the selection process said.

Panetta, 70, is widely regarded as a good manager who knows the government bureaucracy well. Panetta, a former eight-term member of Congress who has run a think tank in California for the past decade, has no significant ties to the agency that Obama has criticized for using harsh interrogation methods. Panetta has openly objected to the use of such methods, writing in an essay last year that the United States “must not use torture under any circumstances.” Obama had trouble filling the CIA slot in part because other candidates were perceived as tainted for having supported aspects of the Bush administration’s interrogation and intelligence programs.

Yet Panetta, who also served as director of President Bill Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget, has no institutional memory of the intelligence agency and no hands-on experience with its thorniest challenges, including the collection of human intelligence overseas. His lack of experience drew immediate questions, most notably from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the incoming chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who said she was not briefed on his selection and learned about it from news accounts.

The US is currently fighting an asymmetrical war on two hot fronts, but more to the point, in every corner of the world.  We need our best people at the helm at Defense and in the intelligence arenas, people with insight into the problems and challenges facing America at war.  Barack Obama either doesn’t understand that or cares less about security than he does about politics.

Leon Panetta only has indirect experience with intelligence. As budget director in the Clinton administration, Panetta has familiarity with their funding, and Panetta also served on the Iraq Study Group for several months, which looked at the role that intelligence failures played in our invasion and during the occupation.  There must be thousands of people more qualified to run the CIA from an experience and competence standpoint, including several members of Congress, notably Jane Harman, who should have chaired the House Intelligence Committee in the last session of Congress but ran afoul of Nancy Pelosi.

Even the notion of “change” doesn’t apply here.  Obama has no executive experience in government, and neither does Panetta, but Panetta hardly represents a breath of fresh air in Washington.  He’s another Clinton-era retread, only in this case, put in charge of an organization about which he knows nothing.  He’s there to exercise Obama’s political will and nothing more.

Obama deserves the benefit of the doubt on his political appointments, but this is one selection that should get a lot of scrutiny from Congress.  If Obama wants a political hatchet man in a high-level appointment, have Panetta run OMB — or Commerce, where there’s a late opening.  America deserves the benefit of experience and wisdom in the position of CIA director.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Yes. That new ‘digital’ stuff is very versatile.

LimeyGeek on January 6, 2009 at 12:03 PM

I was referring to the camo, not porn.

LimeyGeek on January 6, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Paneta was in the White House and Director of OMB. In both positions he encoutered the work of CIA.

jerryofva on January 6, 2009 at 11:49 AM

Yeah, he “encountered” it all right… and he was implicated as having a major role covering up Chinagate.

Even if one accepts the argument that an “outsider” would do a better job of reforming the CIA, surely Obama could have chosen someone — in consultation with Feinstein and other informed members of Congress — who was not implicated in a scandal involving Chinese espionage and influence peddling… not to mention servicing Bill Clinton’s tastes in interns.

Released publicly in May 1999, the Cox Report stated China had acquired information on seven of the United States’ most advanced nuclear warheads. According to the report, the information was stolen via an espionage campaign that stretched from the late 1970s through the mid-1990s. In addition to nuclear espionage, the Cox Report also detailed China’s legal and illegal 1990s acquisition of detailed information about the United States’ advanced satellite, encryption, MIRV, ICBM, anti-submarine radar, neutron bomb, and high performance computer technology. The Cox Committee was formed in 1998 after allegations arose regarding bribery charges and illegal transfers of missile technology involving an American satellite company.

Released in March of 1998, the Senate report on the campaign finance scandal detailed China’s attempts to influence the U.S. elections by using conduits to donate non-American money to the Democratic National Committee and Clinton administration. The report also detailed the abilility of both a Chinese Lt. General and a well-known Chinese arms merchant to gain access to fund-raising meetings with President Clinton.

Y-not on January 6, 2009 at 12:06 PM

No matter, digital camo and digital porn are both quite…uhhh…versatile. Yeah, versatile.

Bishop on January 6, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Is that Jamie Farr and W.C. Fields in that picture?

redrock on January 6, 2009 at 12:08 PM

fogw:

Let just say I am an intimate observer of the intelligence community and I usually don’t make a practice of dining with Democrats, Rinos or other such creatures.

jerryofva on January 6, 2009 at 12:08 PM

Paneta was in the White House and Director of OMB. In both positions he encoutered the work of CIA.

jerryofva on January 6, 2009 at 11:49 AM

He never seemed too intelligent to me, but maybe we have different standards. But at least he’s encountered the work of the CIA before…

Admittedly I know nothing about Panetta prior to the Clinton years, but I’m pretty sure he was never a Naval aviator. He hasn’t got a quarter of the brain required to do that job for half a day and still be alive.

DarkCurrent on January 6, 2009 at 12:10 PM

In both positions he encoutered the work of CIA.

I encounter the work of Detriot every day. But I wouldn’t count myself qualified to run an auto company.

MarkTheGreat on January 6, 2009 at 12:11 PM

In both positions he encoutered the work of CIA.

“Pants down” and “mouth open”

LimeyGeek on January 6, 2009 at 12:12 PM

Darkcurrent:

You need to read better. Denny Blair is a naval aviator.

jerryofva on January 6, 2009 at 12:12 PM

Let just say I am an intimate observer of the intelligence community and I usually don’t make a practice of dining with Democrats, Rinos or other such creatures.

jerryofva on January 6, 2009 at 12:08 PM

Data entry clerk at Langley?

fogw on January 6, 2009 at 12:15 PM

With Obama appointing all these Clinton people, it makes you wonder if there some kind of quid pro quo going on.

SoulGlo on January 6, 2009 at 12:16 PM

Let just say I am an intimate observer of the intelligence community and I usually don’t make a practice of dining with Democrats, Rinos or other such creatures.

jerryofva on January 6, 2009 at 12:08 PM

foreign sigint operative!

DarkCurrent on January 6, 2009 at 12:16 PM

One attack on the homeland and Panetta and Urkel are through.

What an absolute disgrace Obama is.

Chuck Schick on January 6, 2009 at 12:19 PM

2012. What’s it gonna be..NO HOPE AND RE-CHANGE? How about “EXCHANGE”?

Brat on January 6, 2009 at 11:05 AM

No not according to the history channel.

http://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/2009/01/armageddon-it-mark-your-calandars-ma.html

Dr Evil on January 6, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Reading intelligence briefings qualifies one to run the CIA?????

MarkTheGreat on January 6, 2009 at 12:20 PM

fogw:

Data entry clerk would be a step up for me. And DarkCurrent really overestimated my position.

jerryofva on January 6, 2009 at 12:20 PM

I encounter the work of Detriot every day. But I wouldn’t count myself qualified to run an auto company.

MarkTheGreat on January 6, 2009 at 12:11 PM

I’ve been a consumer of medical services and fast food for decades. I’ll be opening my drive-through surgical practice next week.

Laura in Maryland on January 6, 2009 at 12:22 PM

One attack on the homeland and Panetta and Urkel are through.

Chuck Schick on January 6, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Urkel. Good one. Allow me to go one better …..

Klinger & Urkel.

fogw on January 6, 2009 at 12:22 PM

I read this as a reflection of what Obama thinks of the CIA. Recall he is keeping Bush’s appointments in place at the DoD. So why the big change for the CIA? Perhaps he doesn’t trust them or anyone connected with them.

Buford on January 6, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Data entry clerk would be a step up for me.

jerryofva on January 6, 2009 at 12:20 PM

You have my sympathies.

fogw on January 6, 2009 at 12:24 PM

You need to read better. Denny Blair is a naval aviator.

jerryofva on January 6, 2009 at 12:12 PM

You need to write better. If you reread your post you’ll realize you were a little ambiguous. Nevertheless I realized Panetta could not possibly have been a naval aviator and guessed you meant Mr Blair.

DarkCurrent on January 6, 2009 at 12:25 PM

I understand Carter basically gutted the CIA, and we are still paying the price for it (see: Iranian Revolution).

Looks like Obama may be following a similar path. I wonder how long we will be paying for his foolishness.

ZenDraken on January 6, 2009 at 12:27 PM

I’m leaning towards the new urban digital camo; a bit of gray, a little white, a hint of black.

I figure I may have to skulk through ravaged towns and ghost-filled cities to scavenge for food and porno mags, better that I am wearing something which makes me blend in to the crumbling, snow-covered detritus of urban civilization.

Bishop on January 6, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Odd as it may sound, the Army ACU uniform might just be the cammo you want. It it easy to find on e-bay and elsewhere.

Normally I would not recommend ACU to anyone actually trying to hide, but in urban environments at least it is quite effective. And, the color Black is instant death as far as concealment goes- it draws the eye to it, and to whoever is weaing it. Avoid Black gear too.

*****

I believe that after TEOTWAKI, Porn will be the new currency.

pseudonominus on January 6, 2009 at 12:28 PM

In both positions he encoutered the work of CIA.
“Pants down” and “mouth open”

LimeyGeek on January 6, 2009 at 12:12 PM

ROFL

Wow, funny stuff… Coke came out of my nose… Hummmm, isn’t that the wrong direction for that flow?

We’re all gonna need drugs to cope with the total failure that BHO the Messiah is and will continue to become. Many said The ONE would be the next Carter… I’m starting to believe that that is an insult to Carter. This is horrible and it keeps getting worse and this moron has not even taken the Oath. The MSM continues to cover for this idiot Obama and his whole “hopenchange” lunicy.

For all of the millions of our stupid fellow “citizens” who voted, no matter how uninformed, for this tool, token BI-RACIAL, NOT Black man… Thanks for NOTHING!

Mark Garnett on January 6, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Bishop, check out some history on the Finish troops in WWII, I think it was. All white snow suits, white tape for guns, non reflective glasses (fight snow blindness), etc.

todler on January 6, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Mark Garnett on January 6, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Reading HotAir can make expensive habits even more expensive

DarkCurrent on January 6, 2009 at 12:43 PM

Methinks this is another brilliant move by Team Clinton. With Panetta in charge of the CIA, Mister Bill won’t need Sandy Berger to steal documents from the National Archives in order to whitewash Clintoon’s utter incompetence fighting Islamic terror for nearly a decade.

Del Dolemonte on January 6, 2009 at 12:46 PM

I saw nothing, I heard nothing, I know nothing about why he was really selected. I was not there when the decision was made. I did not even get up that morning.

OberfeldwebelSchultz on January 6, 2009 at 12:48 PM

This is so DIRTY….

CynicalOptimist on January 6, 2009 at 12:49 PM

The Inexperienced Obama finds soothing comfort in surrounding himself with Intelligence-inexperienced Panetta. And the red flaps are hotly flying…

Next up?

thetowncrier on January 6, 2009 at 12:58 PM

Sorry, that was flags.

thetowncrier on January 6, 2009 at 12:58 PM

it means I’m glad I don’t live in NYC or DC!!!

right4life on January 6, 2009 at 1:02 PM

I’ve been a consumer of medical services and fast food for decades. I’ll be opening my drive-through surgical practice next week.

Laura in Maryland on January 6, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Well, I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night…

Y-not on January 6, 2009 at 1:02 PM

Y-not on January 6, 2009 at 1:02 PM

Great, I can double my patient load! You’re hired.

Laura in Maryland on January 6, 2009 at 1:08 PM

If Obama wants a political hatchet man in a high-level appointment, have Panetta run OMB — or Commerce, where there’s a late opening.


Commerce?!
Panetta does have some experience in that regard, but I wouldn’t call it a resume’ enhancer, unless you’re a grifter:

Judge Royce Lamberth today ordered former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, Deputy Chief of Staff John Podesta, and former top Clinton Commerce Department officials to explain any role they may have had in covering up the sale of Commerce Department trade mission seats in exchange for campaign contributions to President Clinton’s political operations.

Buy Danish on January 6, 2009 at 1:22 PM

I think Panetta is a great choice to run the company. You need a big clown to drive the clown car.

The CIA is a joke. They’ve never been right on anything. The collapse of the Soviet Union and India/Pakistan nukes came as a complete surprise to these morons. I have never run into a sensible, serious person on their payroll. Just a bunch of cowboy wannabes who dribble on their shoes when they pee.

lonesomecharlie on January 6, 2009 at 1:30 PM

Well we can’t be too harsh on terrorists now can we?

I guess having a bureaucrat in charge of our once competent CIA is the change we need. Panetta can institute paper-boarding, we can bury terrorists in paperwork until they talk.

I can see bringing in more Clinton people – makes sense. It’s not like they gave us 911 and other terrorist attacks, then lied, cheated and stole to cover up their negligence.

I guess that means we’re back to rendition? Obtaining unreliable intelligence by having other countries do our dirty work? That worked so well in the past. Heaven forbid someone is waterboarded, or deprived of sleep, forced to listen to loud music, or otherwise inconvienenced in the interest of stopping terrorists.

The corrupt, cowardly socialist scum of the Earth don’t approve. Let’s turn them over to animals who are 99% sadistic thugs and 1% intelligence experts. Yep, we’ll get some reliable info there.

reaganaut on January 6, 2009 at 1:43 PM

“What the Panetta appointment means”
Obama is clueless

Bevan on January 6, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Maybe he will be paired with a Muslim interpreter who can bring him up to par.

BL@KBIRD on January 6, 2009 at 2:18 PM

no

hope

no

change

D2Boston on January 6, 2009 at 11:01 AM

CynicalOptimist on January 6, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Maybe I should be ambassador to Australia. I’ve seen Crocodile Dundee!

Grafted on January 6, 2009 at 2:28 PM

If there’s still anything left to be sanitized, then Bush should be impeached.

Esthier on January 6, 2009 at 11:14 AM

????

baldilocks on January 6, 2009 at 2:33 PM

As another example, you can throw in Ray LaHood as head of the Department of Transportation. No experience, no knowledge but knows the political ropes and how to dole out pork.

rock the casbah on January 6, 2009 at 3:06 PM

Panetta..Doesnt it look like he’s wearing one of those gag glasses..you know the ones where these weird eyes wink when you nod slightly.

malkinmania on January 6, 2009 at 3:52 PM

The US is currently fighting an asymmetrical war on two hot fronts, but more to the point, in every corner of the world. We need our best people at the helm at Defense and in the intelligence arenas, people with insight into the problems and challenges facing America at war. Barack Obama either doesn’t understand that or cares less about security than he does about politics.

Yes, but seeing as all the best people are conservatives, do you honestly think he will appoint a conservative?
That leaves him with a choice of a bad appointment, and a worse appointment. He just chose the worse appointment.

Corsair on January 6, 2009 at 4:19 PM

Reading intelligence briefings qualifies one to run the CIA?????

MarkTheGreat on January 6, 2009 at 12:20 PM

The bar has been placed pretty damn low, these days. But, this is the inevitable result of an overuse of democratic processes combined with universal suffrage without any requirements of competency and/or contribution to the funding of the government.

Don’t worry. It only gets worse. I hear they are recruiting 5th graders to captain our nuclear aircraft carriers. But only kids who have ever been on a cruise …

We are so screwed … thanks to the 52% of self-hating/America-hating retards in the US who decided that a kid who grew up in Indonesia should be our next Precedent.

progressoverpeace on January 6, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Yes, you’re right. You clearly know much more about CIA Directors than, say, everyone else.

America deserves the benefit of experience and wisdom in the position of CIA director.

America also deserves a competent and efficient CIA, both of which we don’t have now. 9/11 happened as a direct consequence of the CIA’s failure to act or read the intelligence correctly. You can’t just decide today that we need a qualified intelligence person to head the CIA, when in fact qualified intelligence officials as CIA Directors have provided this country with its greatest failings in years past.

Get a clue before you get show us your derangement.

PresidenToor on January 6, 2009 at 4:44 PM

This appointment will continue similar efforts of the Clinton administration to gut the CIA for generations of true intel gathering patriots, and insert nothing more than party loyalist bureaucrats. One reason that the intel wing of the Pentagon was utilized so much by the Bush Administration is because of what damage was done earlier to the CIA by Slick Willie. Keep an eye on the CIA budget and see where the money goes – “subject matter experts” or on the ground intel people and linguists. OH WAIT – WE WON’T SEE THE BUDGET!
Keep moving, nothing to see here…… keep on movin….

JeffinOrlando on January 6, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Makes me wonder if maybe Hillary Clinton actually won the election. Regardless, its going to be a long 4 years.

vcferlita on January 6, 2009 at 5:24 PM

Leon Panetta, You are..The Weakest Link. Welcome to Langley.

Teddy on January 6, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Grab your ankles and gird your loins. This is gonna hurt.

*Checks prices for underground bunkers*

HornetSting on January 6, 2009 at 7:15 PM

If he is not confirmed, Obama will pick Sandy the socks Berger.

getalife on January 6, 2009 at 7:54 PM

Three questions:

If you were suddenly running Indonesia, would you care about defending the place or even knowing its holidays? Or would you go for non-nationalistic American and international values and goals as you looked past its borders?

If the Clintonicks remain true to form, will we find Biden and The One, say, reposing in a park one fine day?

IlikedAUH2O on January 6, 2009 at 8:51 PM

He was a senior member of the Clinton Administration when they started extraordinary renditions to countries that actually did ‘real torture’ but now he wants to claim a full clean toga.

Nice work if you can get it.

CommentGuy on January 6, 2009 at 9:18 PM

One thing is clear – Panetta doesn’t own any guns (they ask on the application). Of course, if he lives in D.C. how could he?

Carter was a genius compared to prez Yomomma

You don’t suppose the senate will actually block it, do you. Naaaa, I don’t think so either.

darwin-t on January 6, 2009 at 9:37 PM

BOHICA

Noocyte on January 6, 2009 at 9:55 PM

I sit back and observe all this stuff going on and try to figure out the larger view and not the individual chess moves.

I learned a long time ago that if your theory doesn’t match the facts ,you examine your theory and don’t try to fudge the facts to match your theory.

There are too many more choices in DC and around the country for all the Clinton retreads to be there in the numbers they are happening in this appointment set.

You would almost wonder who won the election on the Dem side of the ticket from what you are seeing.

From watching the power shifts in all the web of Soros outfits I am starting to build a ‘potential theory yet to be proven’.

Soros wanted Hillary as Clinton 2.0 but all his internal polling told him it was not in the cards to be.

She had too much in the way of negatives and she would likely be beaten.

So he then did the plan B and pushed Obama as a proxy front guy to get the historic election and plenty of guaranteed support for people for that reason to make it happen.

The game is Obama gets the history listing but Hill & Co run the nuts and bolts and call the plays.

Obama reminds me a whole lot of Robert Redford in the movie The Candidate, but the only difference is Soros is going to hang in their calling the shots and not leave him in the lurch like Redford’s campaign staff did.

So Obama and his Chicago Palace Guard at the White House play their part and Clinton & Co work their end.

That is one possibility, it will be interesting to watch to see if this keeps tracking like it has so far.

CommentGuy on January 6, 2009 at 10:04 PM

Leonne Panetta was the Clintons No.1,apologist,
talking point ‘Monica’,damage controller on every
Lib talkin head show that would have him!

Leonne Panetta as CIA,

thats SH#T,period!

Hes unqualified,but then,so is Obama!

canopfor on January 6, 2009 at 10:39 PM

Ok CommentGuy, but what happens when de front guy has a difference of opinion with de kingmaker?

And on the comment above on not owning a gun in D. C. — I submit:

http://www.moldea.com/Rivero.html

But I am NOT a Foster conspiracy nut.

IlikedAUH2O on January 6, 2009 at 10:42 PM

Well if the theory tracks all he has to do is lower his support level and start putting road blocks in his way with other players he already has in place.

Look how much grief GWB has taken from partisan plays inside the beltway.

A few key words to heavy duty types in the MSM and BHO is all of a sudden running into a big headwind.

Soros already has a few small Eastern European countries almost dancing to his tunes and he knows how to play the game.

CommentGuy on January 6, 2009 at 10:48 PM

Obama didn’t pick Panetta to do the job of leading the CIA. He picked him NOT to do it. He purposely is trying to behead the organization. Oops! I didn’t even realize the wording there, but it is appropriate. Let me tell you something, crooked politicians fear the CIA. They realize the power of the organization and fear that they may be caught up in the agencies surveillance connected to something that doesn’t look too good. The CIA is a big eye and people with things to hide don’t like big eyes. This is the most ominous thing that I have heard out of Pres-o-dent Hussein so far. This is even worse than his Civilian National Security Force.

Bikerken on January 6, 2009 at 10:51 PM

CommentGuy has just explained why there has not been a larger evidence of Mayor Daley pulling the strings of the Indonesian/Kenyan.

Can anyone deny the unprecedented numbers of Clintonistas everywhere?

IlikedAUH2O on January 6, 2009 at 10:53 PM

It’s argued that the Panetta pic is a brave choice. Panetta is suggested as one who would be loyal to the President. That may be, but it comes at the cost of having that loyalist be a flower child whose aspirations above all are to insure that terrorists are comfortable.

If he is comfirmed, I will stock up on Cipro and non-perishables.

And possibly a gun.

I kid you not.

drjohn on January 6, 2009 at 11:04 PM

This sure looks like the third term of the Clinton administration, which of course Ol’ Slick and his Missus dearly wanted.

Just what we needed: more ‘peace dividend’, condoms on the Christmas tree, interns. . .

I wonder if Obambi likes interns. . .

MrLynn on January 6, 2009 at 11:06 PM

Just recall the entire primary season.

The only time Hill really zinged him was on drivers licenses for illegals.

Something that he could easily spin and mirror later and the other time was a love tap over Bill Ayers / Wright.

Do you think she would let any body off that easy if she were really headed to the White House?

Does that fit to her past actions?

CommentGuy on January 6, 2009 at 11:08 PM

If you really looked close at the whole dem side of the election, to me it was like they were all trying to run for Senator not for President.

CommentGuy on January 6, 2009 at 11:09 PM

The thing that most people who have never worked with the intel agencies don’t understand is this, there is a whole language to that world. If you are not intimately familiar with it, you wont even be able to read your daily briefing because it may as well be greek to you. And this is going to be the head of the agency?? And it is a heck of a lot to learn. This is not a situation for on the job training! Also, the people in it are going to be highly suspect of the capability of someone who isn’t even going to be able to speak to them, again, because he DOESN’T EVEN KNOW THE LANGUAGE. This is like appointing someone the head of a major hospitals Cardiac Surgery unit and saying it’s justified because he got a first aid merit badge as a boy scout. I really doubt this will fly. I can just see the confirmation hearings when the senate starts questioning this old Clintonista hack and they ask him, “Mr. Panetta, what does CIA mean to you?” Thirty seconds later, “Excuse me sir, I said ‘CIA’, not ‘CYA’.

Bikerken on January 6, 2009 at 11:17 PM

Obama was fed a softball at the press conference today and created a whole lot of wiggle room on this appointment.

With the recent events in India, I really find it hard to justify taking such a risk with intelligence matters just over his issues with 3 people getting water boarded that were part of 9/11 planning.

He has an AG to play that end of the game and Hill at SOS.

Sorry but this is putting too many chips in to push a non major point.

If the CIA gets on your bad side it is like the second coming of J Edgar Hover and his background files.

They can really make you day not a fun place real quick.

Heck right now the company has totally transitioned in a lot of ways since 9/11.

There are more outside contractors than there are insiders now.

The infighting for turf between the yellow and blue badge types is a problem also.

CommentGuy on January 6, 2009 at 11:27 PM

This reeks of Clinton. Who else but Bill and Hillary allowed this nominee to be rammed through? Don’t get me wrong, I am to the right of Attila the Hun, but Leon out of all the Clintonites is not really a bad guy. Under Bill, the CIA ran a pretty good act of rendition themselves – above and beyond the Bush administration. Keeping an open mind, maybe the leaks at the CIA need a good politician to reign all of them back in. However, I am sure the black ops, deep cover personnel would not appreciate this appointment. It’s the Langley desk jockies that are the big problem. The leaks have to stop.

Sergei on January 7, 2009 at 1:06 AM

Didn’t Lewinsky work as an intern in Panetta’s office? Wonder what Hilllary thinks of this appointment.

kcewa on January 7, 2009 at 2:44 AM

If you look there are four more veterans of the Clinton/Reno justice department recently announced. Eric Holder the AG nominee also was there.

Some suggest that if Kagan does ok for them at Solicitor General a SCOTUS nomination may be in the cards. For them she has all the background and the right stops all punched on her judicial history for that without having went the judgeship route.

CommentGuy on January 7, 2009 at 2:49 AM

From where I sit, considering the statement by Biden today that not consulting Feinstein was an error by the transition team I tend to believe what happened is that the communications broke down while Obama was on his way to DC and the Clinton camp floated a trial balloon leak before she got cut into the loop and now BHO and the MSM are walking it back a bit and Joe opened his mouth to possibly give the whole game away.

CommentGuy on January 7, 2009 at 3:49 AM

The appointment of Leon Panetta to head CIA is rather intersting. This comes at a time when intelligence is absolutely critical to preventing further attacks on the USA during this global war on terrorism. Perhaps he is tasked with carrying out Obama’s vision of a kinder more gentle war where the enemy is treated with respect and never put under any pressure to divulge information that would be helpful to us.

Panetta is really an unknown quantity. He could be a real asset to fighting the war on terror or he could be just another liberal politician who cuts the legs out from under the USA effort to defeat terrorism.

I question why Obama would pick someone with no intelligence experience at this critical time. It tells me Obama may be naive enough that our enemies will be able to mount another attack during Panettas training period of 12-18 months.

The left has historically been critical of the USA intelligence capability. During the Carter and Clinton years they have systematically tried to destroy CIA. For Carter it led to Iran being taken over and our embassy captured. Any other president would have declared war but Carter never did. How might the world look today if he had. Clinton went a long way toward disabling our intelligence capability and crippling our military. Today our military is stretched thin due to Clinton and the republican congresses that let him do it. If he had listened to CIA and went after the terrorists would 911 have happened? I doubt it.

Now we have Panetta who is not widely viewed as up to the task of running CIA. It doesn’t look good but during this curcial time it could prove disasterous. I pray for our nation. May God allow us victory in this war even though we stupidly elected people to dumb to know the difference between our enemy and us.

kanda on January 7, 2009 at 7:54 AM

Prior to 9/11 the FBI and CIA were at odds with one another and the computer system at the FBI offices was in the stone age to say the least. Hindsight has been rewarding about this condition. I can’t imagine what the politics consist of in both the CIA & FBI. It really is a wonder that an honest hard working employee in either office can do their job without kissing someone’s shoes in order to get the job done.

mixplix on January 7, 2009 at 8:03 AM

link

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, Inexperienced is as inexperienced does. At least that is what comes to my mind when hearing that Barack Obama has picked the inoffensive, completely inexperienced and unqualified Leon Panetta to be the new director of the CIA. Really. Leon Panetta? The onetime director of the Office of Management and Budget Panetta, that Leon Panetta? This old Clinton partisan has absolutely no experience whatsoever with intelligence gathering or the administration of the same. None. Zip. Nadda.

Now, if George W. Bush had picked such an inexperienced man for any government position much less one at cabinet level, the media would have crucified him — in fact, it did if you recount the Harriet Meyers for SCOTUS debacle. So, in “Obama’s intel picks short on direct experience” does the Associated Press scoff at the pick? Do they lambast Obama for picking such a completely unqualified man for CIA in a day when we are besieged on all sides by enemies from whom our ability to gather intelligence is a major weapon of protection? Do they decry this pick of a man with not even the tiniest amount of experience for one of the most delicate and important positions of the day?

Nope. In fact, the AP celebrates it as some sort of proof that Obama made this pick to show he is making a “clean break from Bush administration.” A clean break? How is picking a man with no experience with the intelligence or law enforcement communities to be the new head of the CIA any kind of proof that Obama is breaking with Bush?

CommentGuy on January 7, 2009 at 8:45 AM

One last point can be made to reveal the media’s hypocrisy here. Remember the universal mantra chanted by the media about Gov. Sarah Palin? The media decried her supposed lack of experience to take on the role of vice president. But now, all of a sudden, experience doesn’t matter in the case of Panetta? Is the role of vp so much more important than that of CIA chief, especially in this day and age?

Yet, now no experience at all in the most delicate and important position for our times is a virtue. It’s simply unbelievable. This is sycophancy of the sickofanciest kind.

CommentGuy on January 7, 2009 at 8:48 AM

Another thing to keep in mind here that in the Federal mass of jobs out there , there are nearly 7000 plus appointed positions that compose and administration.

Because of the late start on the transition for GWB due to the 2000 election issues in Fl and then the total disruption of 9/11 ,there are still today vast numbers of hold overs from the Clinton administration and a major who’s who of White House staffers who were put into many of these positions as the Clinton years came to an end.

For a number of reasons these people are still already in place and are familiar with and supportive of the Clinton agenda.

The balance were mostly salted away into various left side think tanks and beltway places and all work hand and glove together.

Obama can’t even hold a candle to that base of support and his choice and vetting issues are not the best.

In all reality he will be at the head of the table but the people at the levers of power will still be all Clintonistas no matter what he does.

CommentGuy on January 7, 2009 at 9:15 AM

Clinton handiwipes top Obama’s Hope ‘n Change administration. That’s about all we need to know. CommentGuy lays out the details.

Christine on January 7, 2009 at 12:28 PM

Brat on January 6, 2009 at 12:01 PM

It is a sign of the value of the Hillary voting bloc which would have lost him the election, that he is top loading with Clinton people

O could govern without paying his debts but if he wants a second term it helps. It also makes it a lot easier to make his big grab which starts on day 2 of taking the oath and only lasts a couple months before the enemy regroups

He has no trouble using people. He doesn’t care about the details and he needs a supply of scapegoats

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

I bet on the Clintons. They do not lay down and die. If he vanquishes them, they would become formidable

entagor on January 7, 2009 at 12:43 PM

One wonders just how much damage will be done the nation in the first two years of this administration, just because so many people have not the slightest clue what they’re doing. I imagine there’s a great deal of glee behind closed doors in foreign capitals around the world.

philwynk on January 7, 2009 at 7:53 PM

I am going to speak up in defense of the appointment. The Intelligence Reform Act was designed to reduce the power of the DCIA to the level shared by the Defense Combat Support Agencies (NSA, NGA, DIA)and centralize control of IC in the Director, National Intelligence. Denny Blair, who by the way is an operator who did not come up through the Office Intelligence, was picked to run the IC.

CIA is in need of reform and having someone with no institutional memory or axes to grind is a positive trait not a negative.

jerryofva on January 6, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Excellent comment, jerry–I had forgotten all about the Intelligence Reform Act and the creation of the Director of National Intelligence.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the DNI’s power trump everyone else’s?
So, the DNI, be it McConnell or Blair, will be the real one in charge, so it doesn’t matter if Urkel appoints an empty suit like Panetta to “play” with the CIA.
What can we say about Denny Blair, after his weird conduct during the 1999 East Timor incident?

Jenfidel on January 7, 2009 at 8:16 PM

I realized it is best to have a Democrat to run the CIA because, of its covert nature, you will need someone that knows how to be downright sneaky, covert and unethical to do the job right. Look at the much more successful KGB as my case in point. Whether Panetta will fill the job description is anyone’s guess, but at least you have the right party. Republicans are too business minded, enjoy having fun and believe in a strong work ethic and subscribe to the Geneva Convention and gallantry when they battle. Democrats know how to weasel their way to victory, no matter what. You could probably find others in the party that may have more of what it takes to do the job; after all, it’s about our safety and security, isn’t it?…

DL13 on January 7, 2009 at 11:28 PM

DL13 on January 7, 2009 at 11:28 PM

Thats what I like about you. You see the positive contribution the Democrats can make to our society. You put their best foot forward. I feel very relieved now knowing they will be on the job soon. Thank you! ;)

kanda on January 8, 2009 at 9:17 AM

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