Director, Central Intelligence Agency

Leon E. Panetta

Materials arranged chronologically.

Mazzetti, Mark, and Carl Hulse. "Panetta Is Chosen as C.I.A. Chief, in a Surprise Step." New York Times, 6 Jan. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Leon E. Panetta, a former congressman and White House chief of staff, has been selected by President-elect Barack Obama to head the Central Intelligence Agency.... [T]wo senior lawmakers [Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV)] questioned why Mr. Obama would nominate a candidate with limited experience in intelligence matters.... Democratic officials said Mr. Obama had selected Mr. Panetta for his managerial skills, his bipartisan standing, and the foreign policy and budget experience he gained under President Bill Clinton."

Abramowitz, Michael. "Panetta's Peers Back Him for CIA." Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2009, A6. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Several of Leon E. Panetta's "former White House colleagues [have] rebutted criticism that he lacked the necessary experience and qualifications" to be CIA director. "They said Panetta worked closely with President Bill Clinton and his most senior lieutenants on every national security issue that came through the White House between 1994 and 1997."

Peters, Ralph. "An Awful Pick." New York Post, 7 Jan. 2009. [http://www.nypost.com]

The author, "a career intelligence officer in the US Army," protests vehemently Leon Panetta's nomination to head the CIA.

Associated Press. "Panetta Confirmed." 13 Feb. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 12 February 2009, the U.S. Senate "confirmed Leon Panetta as director of the CIA.... During two days of confirmation hearings last week, Panetta told senators that the Obama administration would not prosecute CIA officers who participated in harsh interrogations, even if the tactics constituted torture, as long as they did not go beyond their instructions."

Benson, Pam. "Panetta Sworn in as Spy Chief." CNN, 13 Feb. 2009. [http://www.cnn.com]

"Leon Panetta was sworn in [on 13 February 2009] as the 19th director of the CIA."

Holland, Steve. "Obama Receiving Daily Economic Intel Document--CIA." Reuters, 25 Feb. 2009. [http://www.reuters.com]

In an interview with a group of reporters on 25 February 2009, CIA Director Leon Panetta said that "President Barack Obama wants to aggressively pursue Islamic militants, stressing there has been no let-up in the war despite change in the White House.... Panetta also said that as a result of the global recession, the intelligence community is now preparing a daily report on how the foreign policy of countries suffering economic instability might change."

Hess, Pamela. "CIA, Intel Director Locked in Spy Turf Battle." Associated Press, 27 May 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to current and former government officials, DNI Dennis Blair and CIA Director Leon Panetta "are locked in a turf battle over overseas posts, forcing National Security Adviser James L. Jones to mediate." The dispute "centers on Blair's effort to choose his own representatives at U.S. embassies instead of relying only on CIA station chiefs."

Reacting to Hess's report, Marc Ambinder, "An Intelligence Turf War or Just Unfinished Business," The Atlantic, 28 May 2009, cautions: "don't draw from [the term "turf battle"] the notion that Blair and Panetta are at daggers drawn. They've simply asked the White House to resolve a question that Congress dropped in their laps when it created the DNI structure and took away the CIA chief's power to direct the activities of the nation's other 15 intelligence agencies." See also, Mark Mazzetti, "Turf Battles on Intelligence Pose Test for Spy Chiefs," New York Times, 9 Jun. 2009.

Panetta, Leon. "Congress and the CIA: Time to Move On." Washington Post, 2 Aug. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"I've become increasingly concerned that the focus on the past, especially in Congress, threatens to distract the CIA from its crucial core missions: intelligence collection, analysis and covert action.... It is worth remembering that the CIA implements presidential decisions; we do not make them. Yet my agency continues to pay a price for enduring disputes over policies that no longer exist.... The time has come for both Democrats and Republicans to take a deep breath and recognize the reality of what happened after Sept. 11, 2001.... The country was frightened, and political leaders were trying to respond as best they could. Judgments were made. Some of them were wrong. But that should not taint those public servants who did their duty pursuant to the legal guidance provided."

Panetta, Leon. "The CIA Is Proud To Be on the Front Lines against al-Qaeda." Washington Post, 9 Jan. 2010, A13. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"We have found no consolation ... in public commentary suggesting that those who gave their lives somehow brought it upon themselves because of 'poor tradecraft.' ... In a very different environment, against a very different enemy, our tradecraft is tailored to a battlefield. In the barren landscape outside Khost, Afghanistan, things such as 'safe' houses -- a staple of traditional espionage -- are not easily found."

Finn, Peter, and Joby Warrick. "Under Panetta, a More Aggressive CIA." Washington Post, 21 Mar. 2010, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

As CIA Director, Leon Panetta "has led a relentless assault on al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives in Pakistan.... [H]is willingness to use force has won over skeptics inside the agency and on Capitol Hill." According to current and former senior intelligence officials, "Panetta authorizes every [Predator] strike, sometimes reversing his decision or reauthorizing a target if the situation on the ground changes."

Ignatius, David. "Leon Panetta Gets the CIA Back on Its Feet." Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2010, A19. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

This is a highly laudatory article about CIA Director Leon Panetta's 14 months in the job.

Panetta, Leon E. "Message from the Director: Associate Director for Military Affairs." Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 15 Nov. 2010. [https://www.cia.gov/news-information/press-releases-statements/press-release-2010/associate-director-for-military-affairs.html]

"Statement to Employees by Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon E. Panetta on the Associate Director for Military Affairs": Announces the appointment of Air Force Lt. Gen. Kurt A. Cichowski to be CIA Associate Director for Military Affairs, effective 22 November 2010. He has been serving as Vice Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command. He succeeds Lt. Gen. (soon to be Gen.) Mark Welsh, who will be commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). See also, Jeff Stein, "CIA Picks AF General to Run Military Ops Office," Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2010.

Calabresi, Massimo. "CIA Chief Breaks Silence: Pakistan Would Have Jeopardized bin Laden Raid, 'Impressive' Intel Captured." Time, 3 May 2011. [http://swampland.time.com]

"In his first interview since commanding the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, CIA chief Leon Panetta tells TIME that U.S. officials feared that Pakistan could have undermined the operation by leaking word to its targets. Long before Panetta ordered Vice Admiral William McRaven, head of the Joint Special Forces Command, to undertake the mission..., the CIA had been gaming out how to structure the raid."

Sonmez, Felicia. "Leon Panetta, CIA Director, Unanimously Confirmed by Senate as Defense Secretary." Washington Post, 21 Jun. 2011. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 21 June 2011, the U.S. Senate "unanimously confirmed CIA Director Leon Panetta to serve as the next secretary of defense."

Panetta, Leon, with Jim Newton. Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace. New York: Penguin, 2014.

Ignatius, Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2014, finds Panetta's memoir "very readable," with "frank descriptions of personalities and events." This work is "engaging" because it is "suffused with the personality of the man himself." As CIA Director, "Panetta was an inspired, if surprising, choice.... Panetta's CIA career reached its peak with the discovery and assassination of Osama bin Laden ... in May 2011." His "account of his 18 months as defense secretary is almost an anticlimax after the CIA chapters." For Mead, FA 94.1 (Jan.-Feb. 2015), this "candid memoir offers a useful window into recent U.S. history."

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