Panetta Wrong Choice for CIA

By: Craig Chamberlain

To head the CIA, America’s top agency for collecting intelligence, President elect Obama has selected former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta. It’s a bad choice. First of all Panetta is a political hack, with absolutely no experience in intelligence gathering, secondly it’s a very unserious pick. It would be like picking a first year law student to head the Justice Department. It says that you don’t care.

Panetta is a political animal, more interested in partisan victories than he is in the safety of this country. Yes, the selection of Panetta is going to send fear through the ranks of Al-Qaeda. Memo to all CIA operatives: Interrogations may now only be conducted from the hours of 9:00 AM to noon, and only if tea is being served to the suspect. One can hardly believe that the Obama administration has an intent on taking the threat of Islamic terrorism seriously. If he did he would have at least picked someone competent to be in charge of the CIA.

We’ve had a history of intelligence failures in the past. Most notably when it came to Iraq, and then there was the CIA and State Departments attempts to undermine the Pentagon during the buildup to the Iraq war. Given the partisan culture at the CIA, and their past failures, it would be imperative that someone who can actually take charge be put in command and put that house in order.

However, with the nomination of Mr. Panetta, President- Elect Obama is saying that he has every intention to go back to a September the 10th attitude. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to conservatives, and others who care about national security, but it should come as an annoyance. We have Iran feverishly chasing after nuclear weapons, instability in Pakistan, the troubles in North Korea, and of course the ever present problems between the Israelis and Hamas, Hezbollah, and Fatah. With theses problems going on I guess our future dear leader sees it appropriate to ignore them by putting a Democratic operative, rather than an intelligence operative in charge of the CIA.

The sad thing is that not only will such an attitude be par for the course for the incoming administration, most of the American people don’t care. They’re more concerned about gas prices, their 401k’s, and who is going to the super bowl, rather than be concerned about the security of the country. In this the GOP has been a victim of it’s own success. President Bush has spent 8 years defending the United States, and done a good job of it. Two terrorist regimes toppled, and no more terrorist attacks on the United States. That record came with vigilance, and actually considering terrorism a real threat. We can’t expect that same security with such a negligence on national security. Can we expect a Leon Panetta, or a Barack Obama, to keep terrorists from attacking us? Well, the voters put the Dear Leader in office. We have to wait and see what happens now, but terrorists attack when you turn your back to them. And Obama is turning his back.

Inaction, and indifference only encourages terrorist attacks. When the Khobar towers got bombed we did nothing(this is when we considered terrorism a criminal justice matter, a philosophy that the new administration is signaling that it believes in) this led to the attacks in Kenya and Tanzania, and we did nothing, this led to the attack on the USS Cole, and we did nothing, and that culminated in the attacks of September the 11th. With Panetta in charge of the CIA President-Elect Obama is announcing his strategy for dealing with terrorists: do nothing.

President elect Obama is saying he doesn’t care about intelligence, that he wants a kinder, friendlier, CIA, one more concerned with the dignity of terrorists than the security of the United States. Will the American people remain indifferent if we are attacked again? Probably not, and there is no guarantee that we will be attacked again, but with the selection of Mr. Panetta to lead the CIA, President- elect Obama has increased the odds of an attack a great deal.

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