SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > Small Wars Participants & Stakeholders > Government Agencies & Officials

Government Agencies & Officials War zone governance, and in-country political, economic, development assistance.

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-05-2009   #1
Beelzebubalicious
Council Member
 
Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: currently in Washington DC
Posts: 321
Default Panetta as CIA Director

This is out of left field to me (literally and figuratively). I'll be very curious to know what those who know more about this have to say....

Panetta to Be Named C.I.A. Director
Beelzebubalicious is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #2
reed11b
Council Member
 
reed11b's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Olympia WA
Posts: 531
Default

I know zip about Panetta (and about the same about the C.I.A to be honest) but my experience w/ leaders from the "inside" and "outside" might be useful here. The plus of leaders that rise up from the ranks is usually a smooth transition, i.e. little changes. The negative is that they usually rise up because they have accepted the rationalizations behind an organization’s less functional aspects, i.e. little changes. Leaders from the outside vary greatly and can either create chaos by micromanaging processes they do not understand, or can be effective agents of positive growth by being able to listen w/o the organizational "filters" that many agencies develop and act free of this bias. I can only hope that that this is the intended result from the Obama camp, but the fact that he was part of “fence sitter” Clinton's political team does not bode well in my mind.
Reed
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapperfitz82 View Post
This truly is the bike helmet generation.
reed11b is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #3
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default Oh. My. Gawd. Well, that's different...

Shades of James Earl Carter and Stansfield Turner. Hard to say how this will work out. Panetta did a good job as WH CoFS -- but his politics are decidedly leftish. Could go either way. I suspect Langley will take the attitude I stated...
Ken White is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #4
Schmedlap
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,444
Default

There are a lot of distrubing notes in that article. Some of them are just red flags regardless of the circumstances.

Quote:
... a competent manager with strong background in budget issues, but has little hands-on intelligence experience. If confirmed by the Senate, he will take control of the agency most directly responsible for hunting senior Al Qaeda leaders around the globe...
Is this really the best that we can do?

Others passages are disturbing because they suggest that we have lost all sense of proportion and possibly reason.

Quote:
... his selection points up the difficulty Mr. Obama had in finding a C.I.A. director with no connection to controversial counterterrorism programs of the Bush era.

[Obama's] first choice for the job, John O. Brennan, had to withdraw his name amidst criticism over his role in the formation of the C.I.A’s detention and interrogation program after the Sept. 11 attacks.

... Representative Jane Harman of California... was considered for the job, but she was ruled out as a candidate in part because of her early support for some Bush administration programs like the domestic eavesdropping program.
Aren't we carrying this torture and eavesdropping hysteria a bit too far? How many people did we torture? What was it - three, like 6 years ago? And if we're monitoring international calls, then it is really domestic eavesdropping? If it means getting the best possible heads of these agencies, rather than these inexperienced picks out of left field, then I'll forgive someone for a few insignificant breaches of politically correct etiquette, such as the two individuals mentioned.

Lastly,
Quote:
... Mr. Panetta’s lack of hands-on intelligence experience can be supplemented by others.
That was the argument that we heard for electing Obama. Now the people who are supplementing Obama's lack of experience need to be supplemented themselves? I don't like where this is going.
Schmedlap is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #5
120mm
Council Member
 
120mm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Wonderland
Posts: 1,284
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
That was the argument that we heard for electing Obama. Now the people who are supplementing Obama's lack of experience need to be supplemented themselves? I don't like where this is going.
It is only a matter of time until both candidates will be competing for who is the most freakish.

Zaphod Beeblebrox 2012!

The only person who can possibly be elected is the one least qualified.
120mm is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #6
Danny
Council Member
 
Danny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Posts: 141
Default Myopic

Panetta doesn't say it, the article does. But if the view is that by taking over the CIA he is taking over "control of the agency most directly responsible for hunting senior Al Qaeda leaders around the globe," then this is the same myopia that caused the diminution of the CIA under the Clinton administration. Woe is us.

The goal shouldn't be to "find AQ." This might be one of many RESULTS, but not the MISSION or the GOAL. The goal should be to rebuild our human intelligence resources and assets. There are many dangers, from Russia, to China, to AQ, to TTP, to Hezbollah, and so the cycle goes. UAVs aren't the solution to lack of HUMINT. They can be seen as an addition, but HUMINT is essential, and if Panetta doesn't understand that, then we will see the same ineffective CIA we have seen for years.
Danny is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #7
Entropy
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,457
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Shades of James Earl Carter and Stansfield Turner. Hard to say how this will work out. Panetta did a good job as WH CoFS -- but his politics are decidedly leftish. Could go either way. I suspect Langley will take the attitude I stated...
I think you're right here. The CIA has traditionally not played well with outsiders in the top leadership position. It will be interesting to see how he manages the agency and how successful he is. I see the appointment as a bit of a gamble, frankly.

Part of the calculus for choosing a complete outsider may have to do with the political necessity of finding someone who was not involved in any way with some of the controversial activities the CIA has reportedly engaged in in recent years.

It's also important to note that a lot of the CIA director's powers were stripped and given the the DNI as part of the 1994 intel reforms. The position of CIA director is therefore not nearly as important as it once was.
Entropy is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #8
Beelzebubalicious
Council Member
 
Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: currently in Washington DC
Posts: 321
Default

Panetta is considered to be one of the most ethical people in government. I suspect that's a big reason for this. This should also help quiet some of the fears about torture and ethics among some critics. This nomination will reassure some.

If the Director role is largely about politics and management/administration in a large government bureaucracy, then he fits.

Some may call him a fence-sitter, but others say that he was adept at playing both sides, at going over both sides of the fence. Fence-sitter implies inaction and ineffectiveness and I don't think that's true.
Beelzebubalicious is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #9
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default It probably is

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beelzebubalicious View Post
...If the Director role is largely about politics and management/administration in a large government bureaucracy, then he fits.
true today in the touchy feely we're nice USA that exists in the minds of some -- however, I believe the issue with that is -- Should it be true?

One could argue that the relative ineffectiveness and politicization of the CIA today can be directly laid at the feet of Nixon and Schlesinger, Carter and Turner plus the Rockefeller and Church Commissions -- all designed to get the Agency to play well with others and to identify it as just that, a large government bureaucracy. Bad thing is that the Agency in in a field where others do not play and a large government bureaucracy is not what's needed for the job.

All that paragraph means, among other things, is that the 'concern for torture' bit can be directly laid at the feet of those who sought to make the Agency play nice as they saw it. Unintended consequences can bite...

I have to agree with Schmedlap:
Quote:
"...Aren't we carrying this torture and eavesdropping hysteria a bit too far? How many people did we torture? What was it - three, like 6 years ago?
Way overdone idiocy, a great deal on the part of well meaning useful idiots.
Ken White is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #10
Dr Jack
Council Member
 
Dr Jack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 86
Default Language Emphasis

Panetta was very active promoting language training - his district in California when he was in the House of Representatives included the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey and he was a big supporter of promoting greater language capability...
Dr Jack is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #11
Rank amateur
Council Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 568
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
Aren't we carrying this torture and eavesdropping hysteria a bit too far?
Considering that most interrogation experts say torture produces bad intelligence, and therefore eliminating torture will produce better intelligence, it seems like a reasonable objective for an intelligence agency.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
Sometimes it takes someone without deep experience to think creatively.

Last edited by Rank amateur; 01-05-2009 at 09:52 PM.
Rank amateur is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #12
Beelzebubalicious
Council Member
 
Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: currently in Washington DC
Posts: 321
Default

According to Wikipedia Panetta served two years in the Army...

Quote:
In 1964 he joined the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant. There he received the Army Commendation Medal, and was discharged in 1966 as a Captain.
Beelzebubalicious is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #13
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default Define "is."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rank amateur View Post
Considering that most interrogation experts say torture produces bad intelligence, and therefore eliminating torture will produce better intelligence, it seems like a reasonable objective for an intelligence agency.
No quarrel with your statement, I agree on practical and moral grounds that torture is bad and should not be practiced or condoned. It is correctly against federal law and is well described LINK. The UCMJ is, correctly, even less tolerant of any abuses along that line.

The issue is what constitutes torture. Lot of varied opinions on that. A whole lot...

The Schmedlap statement, though was directed properly at the hysteria over the topics, plural, not at the actions themselves. Perhaps you'd care to address that issue?
Ken White is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #14
120mm
Council Member
 
120mm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Wonderland
Posts: 1,284
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rank amateur View Post
Considering that most interrogation experts say torture produces bad intelligence, and therefore eliminating torture will produce better intelligence, it seems like a reasonable objective for an intelligence agency.
"Eliminating" torture? Are you implying we are currently torturing to get intelligence? What source are you basing this on?

And while you're at it, When did you stop beating your wife?
120mm is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #15
Rank amateur
Council Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 568
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
The Schmedlap statement, though was directed properly at the hysteria over the topics, plural, not at the actions themselves. Perhaps you'd care to address that issue?
I don't know much about wiretapping, and even though that rarely stops me, I will let it stop me from commenting this time.

But I will stand by my statement that I don't think it's hysterical to attempt to remove people from an intelligence agency, who endorsed an illegal tactic that produces bad intelligence.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
Sometimes it takes someone without deep experience to think creatively.
Rank amateur is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #16
Ron Humphrey
Council Member
 
Ron Humphrey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,099
Question I sometimes wonder

exactly when the idea of playing nice with others became the standard rather then simply accepting that you don't exist in a vacuum; and acting accordingly.
__________________
Quote:
Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur
Ron Humphrey is offline  
Old 01-05-2009   #17
Ron Humphrey
Council Member
 
Ron Humphrey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,099
Smile Don't really disagree with you here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rank amateur View Post
But I will stand by my statement that I don't think it's hysterical to attempt to remove people from an intelligence agency, who endorsed an illegal tactic that produces bad intelligence.
Never super effective to leave a fox guarding the hen house,
OTOH also probably not terribly advisable to leave hens guarding the hen house either.

Don't know much about Panetta but regardless guess we'll find out soon enough
__________________
Quote:
Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur
Ron Humphrey is offline  
Old 01-06-2009   #18
Schmedlap
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,444
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rank amateur View Post
But I will stand by my statement that I don't think it's hysterical to attempt to remove people from an intelligence agency, who endorsed an illegal tactic that produces bad intelligence.
We're in agreement there. But I was flustered about the hysteria, as Ken noted, around the issues. Deliberately or otherwise, a popular perception has been created that the current administration, our intelligence services, and our armed forces are committing atrocities and spying on average schmoes on a regular basis, as a matter of policy. And that is why those perceived blemishes on the records of Harman and Brennan were seen as disqualifiers. That is hysteria.

If a guy thought it was okay to waterboard KSM 6 or 7 years ago because he had reason to believe that a ticking time bomb scenario was at hand, but he is willing and the most capable of heading the CIA now, then I am willing to let bygones be bygones if he has the mental capacity to understand that we're not going to condone waterboarding in the future.

It seems that the issue of who is most willing and capable took a back seat to the issue of who is least offensive to people to people who get their news from MoveOn dot org.
Schmedlap is offline  
Old 01-06-2009   #19
Rob Thornton
Council Member
 
Rob Thornton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Fort Leavenworth, KS
Posts: 1,512
Default Pretty sure Schmedlap

owns the quote (and the question) of the day again:

Quote:
Is this really the best that we can do?
I know we often do not let lack of experience, knowledge, etc. dissuade us from making our choices, however, this is one job where I think both experience, and technical knowledge matter greatly. I also think having someone with a standard issue set of XX intestinal fortitude (preferably of known and demonstrated quality) would come in handy. Also, make this one with an good dose of understanding the politics of intelligence.

Sorry, Mr. Panetta may be a fine public servant in other capacities, but he is not what I'd prefer to see in the CIA director. Go find Sec Gate's clone - he or she is out there somewhere. If we can't get them to serve, then we should ask ourselves why that is.

Best, Rob
Rob Thornton is offline  
Old 01-06-2009   #20
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default Where's the wisteria when we need it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rank amateur View Post
...But I will stand by my statement that I don't think it's hysterical to attempt to remove people from an intelligence agency, who endorsed an illegal tactic that produces bad intelligence.
That's not what you said but I think it's hysterical of some who overstate the case and issue considerably. I'll also point out that it was not deemed illegal at the time *.

Nor do we know it produces universally bad intelligence; in fact in the case of the people to whom it apparently applies as envsioned in this sub-thread, it seems that two of them produced some good information. Either way, as Scmedlap's latest post says, the issue is not what it is or who did what to who but IS those who get overwrought, wish to believe the worse and get, well, hysterical....

I'll also disagree with all three of you and with such luminaries as Abu Buckwheat on waterboarding. Like Abu B, I've been boarded but we disagree on the degree of evil that it is. I do not think it's torture and do think it could be appropriate for some being interrogated as a harsh and exceptional technique. I do acknowledge that it can be very psychologically damaging for a few and thus think it should always be medically supervised and should never be used by the Armed Forces due to a propensity to overdo things and sometimes lax supervision -- but IMO, it ain't torture. Since the AG has said it probably is and many agree, I'm not gonna fall on my sword over it but will just say it is apparently NOW illegal; and that's okay, I can accept that -- but there are worse things...
Ken White is offline  
Closed Thread

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Extraordinary Rendition davidbfpo Europe 25 04-25-2016 08:20 PM
CIA to Air Decades of Its Dirty Laundry SWJED Historians 7 06-22-2010 10:26 AM
DOJ to Launch CIA Tapes Criminal Probe SWJED Catch-All, GWOT 1 01-02-2008 08:04 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 10:48 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9. ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation