Friday, February 06, 2009

Obama's CIA Pick Insults Agency, Then Has To Retract..Not Good

It is definitely amateur hour at the White House.

It's not enough that Obama's pick to head the CIA is essentially a Democrat apparatchnik with absolutely no experience in intelligence. Leon Panetta just proved he's not the sharpest tool in the shed as well.

Yesterday, Panetta shot his mouth off in an AP interview, saying that the CIA under the Bush administration transferred prisoners for the purpose of torture and that a witch hunt special investigation and possible prosecution was planned.

Today in his senate confirmation hearings, Panetta retracted those statements, essentially admitted he had no clue about what he was talking about and said that no government action against any CIA interrogators was planned by the Obama Administration:

The United States will continue to hand foreign detainees over to other countries for questioning, but only with assurances they will not be tortured, Leon Panetta told a Senate committee considering his confirmation as CIA director.
That has long been U.S. policy, but some former prisoners subjected to the process — known as extraordinary rendition_ during the Bush administration's anti-terror war say they were tortured.

"I will seek the same kind of assurances that they will not be treated inhumanely," Panetta said Friday in his second day before the Senate Intelligence Committee. "I intend to use the State Department to be sure those assurances are implemented and stood by, by those countries."

Panetta formally retracted a statement he made Thursday that the Bush administration transferred prisoners for the purpose of torture.

"I am not aware of the validity of those claims," he said.

Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., chastised Panetta for careless words. "You cannot be making statements or making judgments based on rumors and news stories," he said

Let's recap for a minute. We have a prospective CIA director who apparently either has no problem tossing off politically motivated statements he isn't sure of or is more than willing to make those statements and shade what he knows to be the truth to make partisan political points.Either way, it's not what I'd call encouraging in someone that's supposed to head our intelligence.

Wasn't it the Democrats who made such a huge deal of 'cooked intelligence statements' during the Bush Administration?

Not only that, but Panetta,a man with little to no intelligence experience has just angered the people he's supposed to lead at the CIA before he's even started.

In addition, it turns out that Panetta has a number of troubling conflicts of interest...but then again, that should make him a natural to fit in with the Obama Administration should he be confirmed.

This reminds me a great deal of how Jimmy Carter appointed Admiral Stansfield Turner, a total outsider to run the CIA. Turner promptly gutted a majority of our field intel agents, crippling US security and engendering a poisonous climate in the agency that did not exactly enhance its efficiency and effectiveness, to say the least. And Turner at least was career military with some idea of how intel works and without Panetta's ethics baggage.

Like I said, amateur hour...

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