Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another Clinton Appointee


January 7, 2009 --
WOULD you ask your accountant to perform brain surgery on your child? That's the closest analogy I can find to the choice of Democratic Party hack Leon Panetta to head the CIA.

Earth to President-elect Obama: Intelligence is serious. And infernally complicated. When we politicize it - as we have for 16 years - we get 9/11. Or, yes, Iraq.

The extreme left, to which Panetta's nomination panders, howled that Bush and Cheney corrupted the intelligence system. Well, I worked in the intel world in the mid 1990s and saw how the Clinton team undermined the system's integrity.

Al Qaeda a serious threat? The Clinton White House didn't want to hear it. Clinton was the pioneer in corrupting intelligence. Bush was just a follow-on homesteader.

Now we've fallen so low that left-wing cadres can applaud the nomination of a CIA chief whose sole qualification is that he's a party loyalist, untainted by experience.

The director's job at the CIA isn't a party favor. This is potentially a matter of life and death for thousands of Americans. But the choice of Panetta tells us all that Barack Obama doesn't take intelligence seriously.

Mark my words: It'll bite him in the butt.

After the military, the intel community is the most complex arm of government. You can't do on-the-job training at the top. While a CIA boss needn't be a career intelligence professional, he or she does need a deep familiarity with the purposes, capabilities, limitations and intricacies of intelligence.

Oh, and you'd better understand the intelligence bureaucracy.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), who was blindsided - and appalled - by the Obama mafia's choice, has the essential knowledge of how the system works. She, or a similar expert, should have gotten this nod. But the president-elect wanted a clean-slate yes-man, not a person of knowledge and integrity.

We're witnessing the initial costs of Obama's career-long lack of interest in foreign policy, the military and intelligence. He doesn't think the top job at the CIA's important and just wants political cover on that flank. (Guess we got Panetta because Caroline Kennedy has another engagement.)

Forget a "team of rivals." Obama's creating a campaign staff for 2012.

Of course, he's reeling from the shrill rage of the crowd over his nomination of grown-ups to be his national-security adviser, director of national intelligence, administrator of veterans' affairs and, yes, secretary of state. (By the way, how could Hillary be dumb enough to accept a job where success is impossible?)

Panetta's appointment is a sop to the hard left, a signal that intelligence will be emasculated for the next four - or eight - years.

Think morale's been bad at the CIA? Just wait.

Conservatives played into this scenario by insisting that any CIA analysis that didn't match the Bush administration's positions perfectly amounted to an attack on the White House. Well, sorry. The intelligence community's job isn't to make anybody feel good - its core mission is to provide nonpartisan analysis to our leaders.

To be a qualified D-CIA, a man or woman needs a sophisticated grasp of three things: The intel system, foreign-policy challenges and the Pentagon (which owns most of our intelligence personnel and hardware). Panetta has no background - none - in any of these areas. He was never interested.

If you handed Leon Panetta a blank map of Asia, I'd bet my life he couldn't plot Baghdad, Kabul or Beijing within 500 miles of their actual locations. (Maybe he can see China from his California think tank?)

This shameless hack appointment is the first action by the incoming administration that seriously worries me. Get intelligence wrong and you get dead Americans.

Ralph Peters was a career intelligence officer in the US Army.


Mike West said...

By Karen DeYoung and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, January 7, 2009;

President-elect Barack Obama said yesterday that he has selected a "top-notch intelligence team" that would provide the "unvarnished" information his administration needs, rather than "what they think the president wants to hear."
But current and former intelligence officials expressed sharp resentment over Obama's choice of Leon E. Panetta as CIA director and suggested that the agency suffers from incompetent leadership and low morale. "People who suggest morale is low don't have a clue about what's going on now," said CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield, citing recent personnel reforms under Director Michael V. Hayden.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence were still stewing over Obama not consulting them on the choice before it was leaked Monday and continued to question Panetta's intelligence experience. Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. acknowledged that the transition team had made a "mistake" in not consulting or even notifying congressional leaders.

vwatt said...

This is hilarious to watch..the ole "southern strategy"(racial polarization politics started under Nixon) is not working if you can't beat 'em , join 'em!!

NYT 11 JAN 09

WASHINGTON — As the nation is on the verge of inaugurating its first black president, the Republican Party is facing a telling choice: whether to elect its first black chairman.
The contest for Republican Party chairman comes as Republican leaders seek to figure out what the party stands for, as well as what face to put forward as they struggle to avoid shrinking into a PARTY of Southern WHITE MEN in an increasingly diverse country.

The six candidates are four white men, including two from the South, and two black men: Michael Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, and J. Kenneth Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state.

Because it is a six-way race in which ballots are cast anonymously, it is impossible to project who might win. But party leaders said Mr. Blackwell and Mr. Steele were viable candidates, particularly Mr. Blackwell, who has strong support from social conservatives.

The leadership struggle follows a campaign in which Democrats, led by President-elect Barack Obama, made geographical and demographic inroads, despite eight years in which President Bush and a previous party chairman, Ken Mehlman, tried to expand the ethnic and racial backdrop of the party.

The Republicans are grappling with sharp ideological and geographical divides, and the question of the candidates’ race has not been explicitly raised by the committee or the contenders. “I think it’s color blind; I don’t think people are talking about it,” said Mike Duncan, the current party chairman, chosen by President Bush, who is seeking re-election.

Nevertheless, racial strains have emerged in the contest. Katon Dawson, the South Carolina Republican chairman, quit his membership in an all-white country club soon before he joined the race. And another candidate, Chip Saltsman, the Tennessee party chairman, was roundly criticized for distributing a holiday CD to party members that included a parody song called “Barack the Magic Negro.”

Some Republicans argued that electing a black chairman could prove helpful as the party struggles to rebuild.

“Race is not a consideration of why a person should become chairman of the R.N.C., but if the nation can celebrate its first African-American president, I would certainly think the Republican Party could celebrate its first African-American chairman,” said Jim Greer, the Florida Republican chairman, who endorsed Mr. Steele last week. “There certainly is an advantage of a credible message of inclusion if you have a minority as chairman.”

Brodad Unkabuddy said...

Is"Barack, the Magic Negro" about Barack Obama? Nope. It's about Al Sharpton's reaction to the Obama candidacy. It's about how the "We Shall Overcome" black generation is reacting to the "New Society" black generation. It has nothing to do with White vs Black.