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.
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.”
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.