Saturday, January 10, 2009

Managing From Weakness

President elect Barack Obama, soon to be President Obama, will get his choice for CIA Director, Leon Panetta, confirmed. This is certainly as it should be, A President, especially a first term newly elected President, gets to chose his own team.

It is rare for an appointment to be denied unless the appointee has a genuinely fatal flaw. This, most assuredly, is not the case with Panetta, who I have previously said is very bright, honest, an excellent manager and totally loyal, not to mention a great Democrat Party cheerleader.

The only way for Panetta to not get the job is for Obama himself to arrange a face saving withdrawal. I do not expect that to happen.

In spite of all of the above, I strongly feel Panetta is a disastrous choice to lead the CIA, one that will ultimately leave the agency in ruins and one that will leave the United States deaf and blind in the face of an unprecedented terrorist threat.

I strongly urge readers here to link over to the National Public Radio (NPR) website and listen to the excellent and very balanced
report by NPR Reporter Tom Gielten. Unfortunately a transcript of the report is not currently available. The report is fair and balanced and terribly frightening.

This is a decision that was made out of weakness and Obama's own unwillingness to confront very bizarre ultra left wing of his party. In spite of Obama's protestations, Panetta will have neither the ear nor the confidence of the President, who nominated his own real choice for CIA Director, John Brennan, to the position of "Counter-terrorism Advisor," which will not require any hearings or Congressional approval. It has been Brennan who has advised Obama every day. Brennan will continue to have Obama's ear and confidence.

This is a decision that will come back to haunt President Obama and the nation.

I strongly urge you to listen to the


Stella said...

You're right, Wizard. Great report from NPR. Panetta is rather moderate. I'm the ultra left wing of the party, but I also recognize we're a nation that must get along.

I think your post about Panetta is excellent. We certainly need someone well-heeled and highly schooled in intelligence for the CIA Director.

I'm not sure if I agree that Obama made his decision in weakness. He's a thoughtful individual. All presidents have their personal advisers who tend to have the ear of the leader.

Really great post, Wizard.

Vigilante said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vigilante said...

I'm not reading da NEWZ as attentively as I have in the past, so I'm not going to make a balls-out argument here. But just a few comments as a reaction.

1st and foremost, Panetta was not on my short list as far as whom I expected to be nominated. Not even on the list. There were many other candidates, well-schooled in the intelligence field.

I've read that Panetta might serve just as the external face of the CIA, and that the Deputy Directors will run the CIA. Fine with that.

If Panetta's appointment is a symbolic certification that torture will be ended, then I'm also fine with that. Especially fine, in fact. My reading of the history of the French Republic years ago convinced me that torture doesn't create actionable intelligence so much as it creates rot up and down the chain of command-in the entire polity. So, if Obama means, by appointing Panetta, to send a signal and message that torture is no longer U.S. policy, I'm okay with that.

But, that said, abolishing torture does not fix the CIA problem. Under Bushencheny, the CIA became dysfunctional, politicized, demoralized and unreliable. That is the major problem that has to be fixed.

The CIA will have an expanding role to play in national security for the decades to come.

If Panetta can fix that political gate-keeping problem, then that's major.

shoo said...

"Under Bushencheny, the CIA became dysfunctional, politicized, demoralized and unreliable. That is the major problem that has to be fixed."

This is the agency that thought Iraq had WMDs even before Bush took office. Not sure how you manage to blame any problems with the CIA solely on this administration.

No attacks since 9/11: clearly the CIA is doing something right.

Vigilante said...

Yeah, but what about from 9/10/01?

sm said...