January 5th, 2009
05:13 PM ET
3 years ago

Feinstein slams Obama CIA head pick

Sen. Dianne Feinstein believes the CIA is best-served by having an intelligence professional in charge.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein believes the CIA is best-served by having an intelligence professional in charge.

(CNN) –- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Senate’s incoming Intelligence committee chair, slammed President-elect Barack Obama’s choice of Leon Panetta as director of the CIA Monday.

“I was not informed about the selection of Leon Panetta to be the CIA Director. I know nothing about this, other than what I’ve read,” Feinstein said in a statement. “My position has consistently been that I believe the Agency is best-served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time.”

A Feinstein spokesman told CNN’s Dana Bash that the California senator found out about Obama’s pick after her staff showed her a New York Times report.

"The President-elect will now have a chance to make his arguments,” the spokesman said. “Her next move is to listen."

Feinstein is the new chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. While Panetta’s political career - as a congressman, and as President Clinton’s chief of staff - spans three decades, he has little hands-on intelligence experience.

–CNN’s Pam Benson contributed to this report.

soundoff (244 Responses)
  1. MLH

    Well, he's the one who gets to pick names and she gets to disagree. Sounds a bit like sucking on sour grapes though when she complains that she was 'not informed.'

    January 5, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  2. Steve

    How DARE Obama make a choice without running it by the esteemed Sen. Feinstein! You'd think he was, oh I don't know, the president-elect or something.

    January 5, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  3. voter

    if the cia director job requires management, then the individual does not have to have intelligence/cia experience. Clearly, Panetta has management experience as he was chief of staff for clinton. In addition, he is aganist torture and has no ties to the cia community. this is important because most of the people in the cia community has ties to the current administration who believes in torture. Panetta is a good pick.

    January 5, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. SamSunny

    I have never seen an incoming President whom everyone everywhere felt owed them – literally. This was an election folks, it took millions to get Barack elected. All those in D.C. think he needs to keep them informed first and their input should be of the upmost importance.

    January 5, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  5. Texas Teacher

    I, for one, feel that Panetta was following Bush/Cheney or should I say Cheney/Bush orders.... Just as I believe he will follow Obama's agenda! Maybe I'm wrong.... I don't think so, however. :)

    January 5, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  6. Cam, Atlanta

    EVERY OBAMA PICK IS PART OF AN OVERALL STRATEGY!

    Obama has picked the best campaign staff and won with little executive experience and you want to question his moves, now?

    What may seem puzzling to us is what Obama intended. Come Jan. 20th..his picks and strategy will all fall into place.

    Stay tuned...I trust Obama's strategy.

    January 5, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  7. Sherrol in Canada

    Who is this chick?......Please!!!

    January 5, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  8. Joanna

    And who put you in charge Diane? I didn't realize the decision was yours.......

    January 5, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. Rob

    the ones with hands on experience screwed up big time on WMD and they have cost the U.S. lives and money . shame on them . maybe he'll be better . he can't be worse

    January 5, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  10. empty heads voted for an empty vessel

    Reality check, I am no fan of Bush, but to lay this at his feet is a joke that has gotten dumber as the years went on and unlike your hero Bill Clinton who IGNORED multiple bombings on HIS WATCH, Bush did something:

    In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." - Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

    "I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons...I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out." - Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Cohen in April of 2003

    These are actual quotes from Clintonista's who supposedly knew a little bit about what was going on, I have MANY more quotes from LIBERALS and OTHER Countries who talked a good game that I could post but CNN doesn't have the disk space needed,

    Bush is a dolt, but he did MORE in eight years to protect us than Billyboy did and they BOTH ended their tenure with a recession.

    That my friend is the real "reality".

    January 5, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  11. Ms. Johnson, Pearland,Texas

    Feinstein has never liked and will never like Obama or anything he does. She is a Hillary supporter who can't get over the fact that she loss. FYI Diane to get respect you must give respect. Get over yourself Obama is the president and therefore he gets to choose and the senate confirms or not. Your dark side is showing and it's not becoming.

    January 5, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  12. Susie

    I see ACORN on every board...ACORN did not "steal the election." Have they even been charged with anything? All they do is register voters; they don't vote for them, for God's sake. You need ID that matches your voter registration info–how many people faked that?
    The only recent election that was stolen was 2000-by the Supreme Court. Gore won the popular vote, and they GAVE it to Bush. In 2004, there were plenty of irregularities in Ohio, but Kerry chose not to put the country through another farce of a recount, and let it go.
    I realize Republicans are used to getting their own way, but this time, you lost, and the country will, hopefully, return to some semblance of a country that respects its citizens, the citizens of the world, and our Constitution. Bush should have been impeached two years ago, but Pelosi was in on the torture meetings, and afraid for her own butt. So he's slid until now.

    January 5, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  13. Anna, ATL

    Diane Feinstein has been in the Senate forever.

    She has a right to voice an opinion and the Clout of Seniority to Stand on it.

    I think Obama can handle and respect thoughtful criticism.

    I kind of like the whole American idea of debating our differences.

    January 5, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  14. fred michaels

    I think that if Obama wants to help the country, that he should offer to work for a salary of one dollar a year. He should also not spend the tax payers money sending his children to private school that costs over 30,000 dollars a year. Every other parent in the United States has to pay for their own childs education. Lastly maybe Obama should try staying in a less expensive hotel while waiting to take control.

    January 5, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  15. Anna, ATL

    And the President-Elect doesnt choose who is Seated, he chooses a nominee. The Senate has to confirm every recommended appointment, and has a right and an obligation to question each choice and their credentials.

    Checks and balances, ya know.
    that is why we have a president and not a king.

    January 5, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  16. Maggie SC

    Anyone with the Clintons need to know what intelligence means, I hope this lady know what she is talking about. Intelligence thse days is hard to find.

    January 5, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  17. Bill Charlotte,NC

    If I were Obama, what she thought would bother me for about ten seconds. He is not answerable to you Frankenstein; get over it!

    January 5, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  18. Patriot

    Bush kept us safe?
    But not safe from himself!
    Bush kept us safe?
    Some Americans are so tone deaf! lol

    Are some Americans still so asleep asleep as to not recognize that the worse attack on the mainland HAPPENED ON BUSH'S WATCH ...... ON 911?

    3000 Americans were slaughtered on 911 ON BUSH WATCH!

    How did Bush keep the tens of thousands of American LIVES, LIMBS & MENTAL HEALTH 'safe' in his UNPROVOKED Iraq bush war?

    January 5, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
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