WASHINGTON — Leon Panetta, President Barack Obama's choice to head the Central Intelligence Agency, gained the approval of the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday.
Panetta, a former Democratic congressman and White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, was expected to win easy Senate confirmation, despite a lack of experience in national security matters and some questions from Republicans concerned about his denunciations of torture.
Committee Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said Panetta would mark a new beginning for the CIA as its next director.
"He has promised the Senate intelligence committee that he will not allow coercive interrogation practices, secret prisons, or the transfer of terrorist suspects to countries that may use torture," Feinstein said.
The nomination is subject to the approval of the full Senate.
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