facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Senators air concerns about Panetta

Jan. 6, 2009 at 9:11 AM   |   Comments

| License Photo
WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Senate intelligence committee leaders expressed surprise that former White House aide Leon Panetta was expected to be nominated to lead the CIA.

News of the possible nomination was disclosed Tuesday by Democratic officials. President-elect Barack Obama and his transition office have not commented. The new intelligence team will be formally announced soon, insiders told The Washington Post.

Panetta, 70, who served as former President Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff and Office of Management and Budget director, is seen as a surprising choice to lead the spy agency, not known for welcoming directors perceived as outsiders, The New York Times reported.

Among the lawmakers expressing skepticism was Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., incoming chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which would handle confirmation hearings for the CIA directorship. In a statement, Feinstein indicated her dissatisfaction and said she was not notified in advance.

"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 Monday.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., the panel's outgoing chairman, expressed similar views as well as concern about Panetta's political background.

"The need for the CIA director to be completely apolitical and Panetta' lack of experience in intelligence concerns me," Rockefeller said through his office.

Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., the committee's ranking Republican, said he would be "looking hard at Panetta's intelligence expertise and qualifications."

However, panel member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., told the Times Panetta is a "strong choice" who would "usher in a new era of accountability at the nation's premier intelligence agency."

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Source: Ferguson cop beaten before shooting
2
Robert Hansen, notorious Alaska serial killer, dead at 75
3
Boko Haram overruns Nigerian police academy
4
4 firefighters injured in 'Ice Bucket Challenge'
5
Alleged jihadist charged with killing 4 in Washington, N.J.
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback