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  1. #23
    Council Member jkm_101_fso's Avatar
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    Jun 2008

    Default Washington Post Op-Ed

    Ignatius on Panetta, Blair.

    A Surprise For Langley

    By David Ignatius

    On its face, it's a puzzling choice: Barack Obama selects as his spy chief a former congressman with no firsthand experience as an intelligence professional. Is Obama dissing the CIA? Is he further politicizing this badly bruised agency? What signal is he sending by picking Leon Panetta as CIA director?

    Here's the message, according to Obama's advisers: Panetta is a Washington heavyweight with the political clout to protect the agency and help it rebuild after a traumatic eight years under George Bush, when it became a kind of national pincushion.

    "Leon is not going to preside over the demise of the CIA," explains one member of the Obama transition team. "The CIA needs to have someone who can represent them well."

    This argument for Panetta makes sense. Ideally, the next CIA director would have been an experienced professional -- someone like Steve Kappes, the veteran case officer who now serves as deputy director. But the reality is that the professionals now lack the political muscle to fend off the agency's critics and second-guessers. That's the heart of the problem: The agency needs to rebuild political support before it can be depoliticized.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 01-07-2009 at 06:59 PM.
    Sir, what the hell are we doing?

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