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Obama's CIA Choice Ruffles Feinstein's Feathers

Leon Panetta to head CIA
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Leon Panetta back in the Clinton days | Photo by AP Photo/Dennis Cook, File

"My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time," California Senator Dianne Feinstein said about President-Elect Barack Obama's pick of Leon Panetta to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

Panetta, known as a good manager who can to work through government bureaucracy, was the former White House Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton, an eight-term member of Congress, co-founder of California State University, Monterey Bay and a public policy institute within that college. He once wrote that the United States "must not use torture under any circumstances."

"Yet Panetta, who also served as director of President Bill Clinton's Office of Management and Budget, has no institutional memory of the intelligence agency and no hands-on experience with its thorniest challenges, including the collection of human intelligence overseas," reported the Washington Post. "His lack of experience drew immediate questions, most notably from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the incoming chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who said she was not briefed on his selection and learned about it from news accounts."

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A source close to the Obama administration says the choice of a civilian who is an outside figure, said it is in hopes of restoring morale at the Agency.

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