If there is any indication that the Barack Obama and his foreign policy and homeland security efforts simply cannot be taken seriously it is the appointment of Leon Panetta as the director of the CIA.
Mr. Obama owes the American people an explanation, not that I think they’re going to get one.
Namely, he should explain to us how Mr. Panetta, who is after all nothing more than a former congressman and lobbyist… and it should be said, he wasn’t very good in either role… could possibly do a better job than any of the people currently in the CIA… including the guy whose job it is to polish the spittoons. Personally, I have no idea other than Panetta is a good political operative.
That factor, tells us the story, perhaps that makes the most sense. Clearly, what this appointment shows us is that if anything Mr. Obama fears the CIA. This kind of political appointment usually ends up involving a micro- manager. Leon Panetta, with a long history of bureaucratese behind him, will certainly feel comfortable in that particular role. But frankly, I fail to understand how having a political loyalist in that role helps the CIA benefit these United States. Indeed, it seems to me more damaging than helpful. It may help Obama, politically, but that seems to me another matter altogether.
There is one other thing that this appointment does; it brings Bill Clinton’s chief of staff into the picture. and as with earlier today when observing Mr. Obama’s choice for deputy attorney general , I am forced to ask how bringing in more Clintonistas constitutes “change”?
The Los Angeles Times is reporting  that Senator Dianne Feinstein who this week is beginning her run as chair of the senate intelligence committee wasn’t consulted on the choice and indicated that she might oppose it. Here’s the quote, and it’s a stunner:
“I was not informed about the selection of Leon Panetta to be the CIA director,” Feinstein said. “My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time.”
This is not exactly a ringing endorsement, particularly when you consider that Feinstein has not been lost for words in recent memory. Under normal circumstances, I would rather saw off my own arm with a rusty blade than agree with Dianne Feinstein. These are far from normal circumstances; she’s right. That is what’s needed at that posted this point, and Panetta by any measure doesn’t qualify as such.
If you’re going to appoint a Clintonista to the role on account of their political loyalty, wouldn’t you be better off with Sandy Berger? He, at least, has some field ops experience… and likely the document- smuggling pants still fit.
Seriously… There is something about this appointment, that simply stinks. There is something completely wrong about it.
My problem, you see, is that I can’t make any logical sense out of it. Then again, when I attribute logic to a CIA director, I am factoring in all the usual reasons about being concerned about the smooth running of the CIA, or homeland security, or foreign policy, or any one of the number of things that the CIA is usually involved with. Since this appointment doesn’t make any sense in any of those contexts, I am forced to conclude that there is some other reason, which we are not being told of, that drove this particular appointment.
Given the lack of trust that Mr. Obama has engendered these last several months, one cannot get over the feeling that whatever it is that’s making that horrible smell, it can’t be very good.