In an L.A. Times article, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who starts this week as the first female to chair the Senate Intelligence Committee, was asked her thoughts on Leon Panetta being tapped as the Director of Central Intelligence. She said she might oppose it.
“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.”
Generally I would never agree with Senator Feinstein, her political positions and my own are light years apart. Here I agree. In this position, experience matters. Why in the world would we place a political hack at the helm of the C.I.A. instead of an intelligence professional?
I know, I know, political hacks have occupied the helm before, but at least they were political hacks with experience in the intelligence field. Some may argue that the DCI is mainly just a political operative who is basically just an administrator – the real important appointments are who is in the Deputy Director of Intelligence and Deputy Director of Operations, etc. Remember that he would be there boss, and at least historically it is the DCI who gives the President his daily intelligence briefings, wouldn’t we want those intelligence briefings to be, I don’t know, intelligent?
It isn’t surprising that the experience argument is lost on President-Elect Obama since he only had two years experience as a Senator before deciding to run. It shows with this appointment. How many other missteps will have be made, and will our intelligence-gathering capability be degraded as a result?
Fienstein is right, the C.I.A. is best served by having an intelligence professional at the helm. Pigs really do fly.
HT: Rick Moore