New CIA chief raked it on the speech circuit from troubled banks

Mr. Panetta received $56,000 from Merrill Lynch & Co. for two speeches and $28,000 for a speech for Wachovia Corp., according to disclosures released ahead of Thursday’s scheduled Senate hearing on Mr. Panetta’s nomination.

Both Merrill and Wachovia reported big losses last year and were acquired by larger firms. The Wachovia honorarium was dated October 30, and the last Merrill Lynch honorarium was dated October 11, according to disclosure forms filed by Mr. Panetta in connection with his nomination. At the time, Bank of America had agreed to a rescue of Merrill Lynch; Wachovia had agreed to be acquired by Wells Fargo & Co.