Leon Panetta, Barack Obama's surprise choice to head the CIA, clearly isn't someone with much hands-on national security or intelligence experience. But no one disputes that the man knows government.In other words, his "experience" in intelligence is as a consumer of intelligence product, not as a producer of it. There's a vast and significant difference between the two. Being a consumer of fine wine doesn't mean you know jack shit about making it.
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"It is true that he doesn't have an intelligence background. But he certainly dealt with intelligence. In the Iraq Study Group, we dealt with it every day. He certainly dealt with it as chief of staff," said Democrat Lee Hamilton, former chairman of the House International Relations Committee and chairman of the Iraq Study Group. Panetta brings an "outside perspective" to the job, he said.
Even fellow California Democrat Dianne Feinstein isn't sold:
Fellow Californian Sen. Dianne Feinstein, set to chair the Select Committee on Intelligence, indicated that the choice caught her off guard.Great...a partisan hack and presidential lapdog at CIA. What could possibly go wrong?
"I know nothing about this other than what I read. My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time," she said in a statement.