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President-elect Barack Obama has chosen former White House chief of staff Leon Panetta to lead the CIA, which has been widely criticized for harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects, Democratic officials said on Monday. The choice of Panetta for Central Intelligence Agency director was one of the last major nominations for the incoming Obama administration, which takes over from President George W. Bush on January 20.
I asked my original source what he thought of Panetta. He said: “A fascinating pick. He is very smart and capable, and a power center to himself in Washington. He was very effective as White House chief of staff under Clinton and understands how to operate in Washington. He will not be pushed around by Jones, Blair, or anyone else in uniform. I think he is the most powerful individual pick yet, even more than Clinton at State, because he doesn’t have negative political baggage. I suspect he will have direct access to POTUS, and throw considerable weight in discussions, all of which is good for the agency.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Percentage of African countries in which it is illegal to practice homosexuality:
Scientists in Taiwan created transgenic pigs that glow in the dark.
In Norfolk six black-tipped reef sharks, a bonnethead shark, a bowmouth guitar shark, six penguins, and a green sea turtle were evacuated from the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary because of flooding.
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Notes on South Africa’s failed revolution
“I will never know what goes on in your mind, or what that shield of a smile behind which we try to advance should tell us.”