Not serious about intelligence?

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on January 5, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama has chosen former Clinton chief of staff Leon Panetta to be director of the CIA. You can find Panetta's bio here.

Panetta's only relevant experience appears to be two years in the Army with no readily apparent combat service.

I think Panetta would be a good choice for just about any post in Obama's administration with the exception of Secretary of Defense, National Security Adviser or CIA director. Panetta's a former congressman, so he will likely sail through Senate confirmation. But this pick certainly doesn't say much for Obama's attitude when it comes to the intelligence community.

0 comments on “Not serious about intelligence?”

  1. This guy knows nothing of the complex intelligence apparatus of the US. He can't "connect the dots." He can't even find the dots! What could Obama be thinking?

  2. Panetta as CIA head? NO! NO! NO! The head of the CIA is not a typical political payoff position. The survival of the country depends on an experienced effective intelligence community. This is not an OJT position. The appointee should be well known as effective in the intelligence arena. The President-elect needs to rethink this appointment. The only message that can be derived at this time is that Obama doesn't understand the intelligence community, its needs and the importance of this position.

  3. You have got to be kidding. There are a LOT of people capable of being the head of the CIA. Obama picks Panetta? This isn't change we can believe in. This is unbelievable. It's a patronage pick. Looks like Illinois politics isn't far from Obama's roots. Truly unbelievable. So much for change.

  4. Yet another ex-Clinton cabinet member, and in the wrong position to boot... yippee for change...not.

  5. Mr. Panetta has been a positive force in government for many years. I met Mr. Panetta over twenty years ago, and to this day, he greets me by name. He is a quick study of people and events. He is shrewd and brilliant intellectually, but he is also sweet grandpa "off the clock". His family, reputation, integrity, and work ethic are beyond reproach. Good choice Mr. Obama!

  6. It does not matter who is appointed Director. The CIA has long since become a part of the Democratic Party. You will not see damaging leaks of Plame affairs during the Obama administration. And it will not matter who is Director. The CIA "professionals" have abandoned intelligence for politics.It is time for a new agency that will do what the CIA was intended to do. And it is past time to retime the politicians who inhabit the CIA.

  7. anyone remember Jimmy Carter's election? He appointed a CIA chief (Stansfield Turner, I think) who also had little intel experience. His legacy at CIA was to gut the human intel agent community in favor of technology. It's taken years to rebuild the agent base but the vast experience lost in the purge is gone forever. This is not a time to appoint another clueless bureaucrat to such an important post! I don't want to relive the Carter years again through another naive democrat!

  8. I am inclined to like a CIA director who has stated on numerous occasions that he is against torture. That's huge. Torture, though in theory should be able to provide information, does not in practice work. It may have worked in one or two instances, but for the most part other techniques are the best way to garner intelligence.

    My question would be "Who was in charge of the CIA leading up to the events of 9/11?" 9/11 happened because of the failure of the CIA, FBI, FAA, and other security agencies and their distrust of each other and inability to work together. If he has no association with these failures than he is as good as any choice in my book.

    Everyone has to start somewhere. Even the most experienced secret-ops guys were green at one point. It would be nice to know the head of the CIA was a former intelligence officer, but I can live with what seems like an educated, and inquisitive ex-secretary of state taking on the role until he shows me differently.


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January 2009



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