In case you didn’t hear, Obama has picked former White House CoS Leon Panetta as the new head of the CIA. Such a decision is only modestly better than, say, picking a lawyer for the Arabian Horse Association to head up FEMA. A professional won’t care what the information is, as long as it’s vetted and confirmed. A Politican might be more inclined to have info go the way he wants for political reasons (yeah yeah, George Tenet…).
Why pick Panetta? The first reason is obvious: Obama wants to have more control over the CIA than would come from having a professional in there.
The second is the idea that the CIA, or the entire intelligence community it seems, is “Tainted” by virtue of being there during the Bush Administration, and someone has to be brought in from the outside. This is a largely political assumption.
Third is that the CIA needs to be “Cleaned up”, and only someone from the outside can do it. Apparently there are no intelligence professionals out there that are trustworthy enough to do this(there are). Good luck on being able to get more than “power-point” deep understanding as to the workings of the Intel community.
It’s interesting that Leon Panetta was picked as head of the CIA, because during his time as White House CoS he allegedly continued the practice of blocking the sitting CIA Director(James Woolsey) from seeing President Clinton outside of group meetings(the practice begun under “Mack” Mclarty). I wonder if he thinks he deserves the same respect from the WH CoS that he gave Woolsey?