Leon E. Panetta has been tapped by Barack Obama to head the Central Intelligence Agency. The New York Times:
Mr. Panetta has a reputation in Washington as a competent manager with strong background in budget issues, but has little hands-on intelligence experience. If confirmed by the Senate, he will take control of the agency most directly responsible for hunting senior Al Qaeda leaders around the globe, but one that has been buffeted since the Sept. 11 attacks by leadership changes and morale problems.
Given his background, Mr. Panetta is a somewhat unusual choice to lead the C.I.A., an agency that has been unwelcoming to previous directors perceived as outsiders, such as Stansfield M. Turner and John M. Deutch. But his selection points up the difficulty Mr. Obama had in finding a C.I.A. director with no connection to controversial counterterrorism programs of the Bush era.
In this instance, I’ll say that no experience is best. The Company requires more than a facelift — it needs a top-to-bottom overhaul. I’m not certain Panetta can accomplish as much, but hopefully he’ll at least throw out the torture manual.
[Have you taken The Contrarian Poll? Surely you can spare two minutes.]