Wednesday, Jan 7, 2008
Barack Obama has broken with the controversial intelligence practices of George Bush by appointing a former White House official with no relevant experience to lead the CIA.
The selection of Leon Panetta, who was Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, was intended to tell Americans the era of waterboarding, warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary renditions and secret prisons was now over.
President-Elect Obama ignored a list of former and current CIA officials who had impressive credentials but who had worked in intelligence during the Bush administration’s development of controversial policies or during earlier failures.
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The premier US spy agency has still to recover its reputation fully from failing to prevent the Sept 11 attacks and providing faulty intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
Mr Obama’s shift away from career intelligence officers to a nominee renowned as a skilled manager also appears to be an attempt to insulate the White House from the sometimes parochial agendas of the 16 different secret agencies.
But news of Mr Panetta’s selection, which has been confirmed by Democratic sources but not yet officially announced, drew sharp criticism from both parties.
This article was posted: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 5:19 am