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  • Spy Surprise
    Posted by John M. Doyle 2:31 PM on Jan 08, 2009

    President-elect Barack Obama’s reported selection of Leon Panetta to head the CIA caught lots of people by surprise – and many of them weren’t happy about it.

    Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the outgoing chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, and his successor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), were among the lawmakers critical of the decision. They and several intelligence officials complained that the Obama transition team didn’t consult – or even inform – them about the Panetta selection.

    blog post photo
    House File Photo

    But not every intelligence official is critical of the choice.

    The current head of the State Department’s counterterrorism office says Panetta – a former congressman from California and Bill Clinton’s chief of staff – is a “prudent choice” who brings the right skill set for managing and dealing with people.

    Ambassador Dell Dailey, State’s top counterterrorism official, says Panetta is “a team-builder."

    Dailey also praised Obama’s expected choice to be the Director of National Intelligence – and Panetta’s boss -- Dennis Blair. “I’ve seen Denny Blair in action,” Dailey told defense writers in Washington Jan. 6, calling the retired Navy admiral “a smart, smart guy.”

    blog post photo
    Photo: Office of the Director of National Intelligence

    Dailey, a political appointee who has run the counterterrorism operation at State since 2007, says he’d like to continue serving in the Obama administration.

    Tags: ar99, CIA, intelligence, Panetta

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