Thursday, February 5, 2009

Leon Panetta Will Spay the CIA

I don't know about you but I've never been impressed with Leon Panetta, nor his cultivated avuncular mien. It's not fair to say he reminds me a great deal of Bill Richardson, but he does. While the Panetta appointment doesn't violate Obama's dictate about not hiring registered lobbyists, Leon has done a lot of unregistered lobbying for groups doing business with the government. Since serving as Bill Clinton's chief of staff, Leon has spent his time spinning in the revolving door between government and private industry. The purpose of all that, of course, is to make money, be a success, use his connections in government to do so.

The Wall Street Journal reports that he earned more than $700,000 since the beginning of 2008. The money has come from making speeches for troubled banks and investment corporations like Merill-Lynch. He's also consulted for companies that invest in defense contracting. There's a whole lot more but you need to read Glenn R. Simpson to get full facts and details. Isn't that all a bit sticky? Are we going to re-install the entire Bill Clinton apparatus of government? About the only Bill Clinton era appointee that makes sense is Hillary and that is only because she earned it. I worry less about what Hillary will do as Secretary of State than I do about what Panetta will do at CIA.

Panetta is not that exciting a speaker that anyone would pay him thousands of dollars just to talk. They pay him because he's a prototypical bureaucrat, steeped in the ways of Washington, and willing to sell access. He's not much different from Blagojevich except that Blago is blunt whereas Panetta quietly gathers in the chips.

The worst part of a Pinhedda appointment is what he believes about terrorism and the right of nations to defend against it. He's formed himself into a sort of a plastic amorphous image of a blind monkey. Joe scarbough described the choice of Panetta as one of the "most baffling appointments" of the Obama administration. He's for closing Gitmo, throwing out the interrogations as well as the interrogators, and for granting rights of habeus corpus to people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammad.

Panetta is sort of an hyper-broadcast announcement of American weakness and vulnerability at a time when foreign terrorists are most likely to succeed. A eunuch-inspired CIA is not what we need right now.

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