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Leon Panetta Is a Terrible Cabinet Pick

By E. Ralph Hostetter   |   Thursday, 08 Jan 2009 09:23 AM

The CIA will be directed by Leon Panetta, former chief of staff in the White House during the Clinton administration.

President-elect Barack Obama made the announcement this week.

The American news media from the far left to the right, have universally expressed “surprise” at the appointment.

Bob Schieffer, of “CBS Evening News,” calls Obama’s choice “weird” because Panetta “has no background in the intelligence field.”

The New York Times said, “Some intelligence officials called the selection underwhelming, given the important role the CIA plays in disrupting terrorist attacks against the United States.”

Even left-leaning Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., outgoing chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is “puzzled by the selection.”

The Los Angeles Times noted that “Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., incoming chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she was not consulted on the choice and indicated she might oppose it.” She said, “My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time.”

Moderates and Republicans on the right are universal in their opposition to the appointment. Comments from bloggers likewise are joined at the hip in their opposition.

And yet, Obama has given no indication that he intends to name another candidate for this most critical job.

To Leon Panetta’s credit, he is praised by most as being a very good administrator. Having a firm hand at the wheel of the CIA is critical at this time.

However, those surrounding Obama seem more intent on concentrating their efforts to attacks on the administration of President George W. Bush.

Obama’s transition team is concentrating its attention on some 100 directives of the Bush years. Many of these directives deal with the war on terrorism.

Focusing mainly on certain specific directives, the far left has identified some as “torture.” Examples are: The indefinite detainment of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay and interrogation of the combatants using a method such as waterboarding.

Of special interest to the transition team is the abolishing of wiretapping of calls from suspected terrorists from outside the United States.

It should be noted with respect to the wiretapping that no mention has been emphasized in the major media or by the transition team that no domestic wiretapping has been involved.

Replacing these methods that have proved so successful will be a softer touch as expressed by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

“I look forward to working with Mr. Panetta to declassify much of the story of what went wrong at the CIA these last eight years, so we can take steps to make Americans safer and protect the values that define us as Americans.”

Translated: The CIA wants all of you terrorists to know as Americans, We’re just doin’ our job. We’re just a bunch of nice guys. And we offer you this list of all the nasty things that the CIA has been up to in President Bush’s eight years in office. We the Democrats and all the other liberals extend to you the hand of transparency.

Wake up! Welcome to the real world. The United States is facing one of the most critical times in its history. The country is presently engaged in two wars. Our enemies are the nastiest this nation has ever faced. They have expressed their intent to destroy us.

America needs the most competent person it can find, a person who is soundly grounded in the critical field of intelligence, to lead the CIA.

America learned a very important lesson on Sept. 11, 2001 when the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City were reduced to rubble and the Pentagon was seriously damaged, along with the loss of thousands of lives.

The United States need not repeat this lesson. Faulty intelligence led to the severity of these attacks. The information that this act was about to occur lay at scattered points across the nation and in Canada. A strong and well-directed Central Intelligence Agency could have brought these facts together.

Advance warning of these attacks could well have prevented the destruction that followed.

We are now involved in America’s second chance. The need for a strong, competent director of the CIA well versed in the field of intelligence becomes indispensable at this point.

Serious questions have been raised as to whether or not Leon Panetta possesses these qualities.

E. Ralph Hostetter, a prominent businessman and agricultural publisher, also is a national and local award-winning columnist. He welcomes comments by e-mail sent to eralphhostetter@yahoo.com.

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The CIA will be directed by Leon Panetta, former chief of staff in the White House during the Clinton administration.President-elect Barack Obama made the announcement this week.The American news media from the far left to the right, have universally expressed “surprise” at...
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