US president-elect Barack Obama has chosen former lawmaker and White House chief of staff Leon Panetta, pictured in 2006, to head the Central Intelligence Agency, US media reported Monday
Both Senators Feinstein and Rockefeller were nonplussed and may oppose Panetta’s confirmation.
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who this week begins her tenure as the first female chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said today that she was not consulted on the choice and indicated she might oppose it.
- “I was not informed about the selection of Leon Panetta to be the CIA director,” Feinstein said. “My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time.”
- A senior aide to Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), outgoing chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the senator “would have concerns” about a Panetta nomination.
- Rockefeller “thinks very highly of Panetta,” the aide said. “But he’s puzzled by the selection. He has concerns because he has always believed that the director of CIA needs to be someone with significant operational intelligence experience, and someone outside the political realm.”
Panetta would report to the Director of National Intelligence, Retired Admiral Dennis Blair who is also an Obama nominee and also faces confirmation by the Senate.
In the meantime, if the President-elect does NOT afford senior California Senator Dianne Feinstein the respect that she feels she is earned, Di Fi may very well return the favor by leaving the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairmanship to run for California Governor in 2010. Her term in the Senate expires in 2012.
Look for increasing crticism of this Obama nomination and its eventual withdrawal. The wrong man for the wrong job here.