There’s just enough circumstantial evidence to make this postworthy, but even so … I don’t buy it.
I’m hearing a very credible rumor that Leon Panetta has dispatched a resignation letter to Barack Obama on vacation.
Panetta is said to be extremely angry about the possible prosecution of CIA officers doing their job and has decided to resign in protest.
Exhibit A: His credibility at the agency was already damaged by his idiotic overreaction to the Al Qaeda assassination program. Now that Obama’s sided with Holder over him in going after CIA personnel, his authority’s destroyed. Might as well quit. Exhibit B: Big media’s already reported screaming matches at the White House between him and Holder. If he’s that angry, resigning’s not unthinkable. Exhibit C: For an administration that would be looking to bury this as much as possible in order to minimize the political fallout, there are worse times to compel a resignation letter than on the day Ted Kennedy died.
And yet. Would The One really have pulled the trigger on CIA prosecutions without getting an assurance from Panetta first that he won’t resign? To have his own spy chief (with impeccable Democratic credentials) quit in disgust would be politically catastrophic for Holder’s investigation, a de facto declaration of civil war on the left. Notwithstanding his many mistakes in selling ObamaCare, I can’t believe Obama would be so amateurish as to stumble into an unforced error like that. And besides, Panetta and the CIA have known for ages that a witch hunt was possible; unless The One privately guaranteed before he offered him the job that no one would be prosecuted, why would Panetta be so shocked and upset as to suddenly bolt? Smart money’s on Weigel on this one: “This report is false, wrong and bogus.”
Update: Unsatisfied with Holder’s limited inquiry and tantalized by the thought of tight command and control over interrogations by the Bush administration, our friends on the left naturally demand as enormous a political clusterfark as possible:
“The abuses that were officially sanctioned amounted to torture, and those at the very top who authorized, ordered or sought to provide legal cover for them should be held accountable,” said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), a senior member of the intelligence and judiciary panels…
Liberal legal scholars and activists also said Holder did not go far enough in pushing the investigation, leaving off the hook top Bush advisers as well as Justice Department lawyers whose legal memos created the foundation for the harsh techniques employed in the interrogations.
“It’s pretty clear that his intention is not to investigate the lawyers and Cabinet-level officials who approved the program in the first place,” said Georgetown University law professor David Cole, referring to Holder. “If that’s what’s done, then it’s really a matter of scapegoating rather than true accountability.”