January 5th, 2009
05:13 PM ET
2 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. JJ12343

    Al Ram January 5th, 2009 6:02 pm ET

    Senator Feinstein if you want a CIA director that you like, please run for the presidency and if you win you will have the chance to appoint one. Else, accept it.
    ______________________________________________________

    Some of you idiots need to realize that she has a say, Panetta still needs to be confirmed!

    January 5, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Yes to Obama Pick

    I respectfully disagree with you Mrs. Feinstein. Obama's pick is supposed to bring a new vision in our intelligence system – is not necessarly someone that has experience in oversee torturing of prisioners SOMEONE NEW WITH A NEW VISION!!!

    January 5, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. Ryan

    Mike in Syracuse is just like all the other republicans still trying to claim Iraq was an intelligence failure rather than a blatant disregard of the facts by bush and cheney. Keep watching fox news mike, they have your opinion all ready to spoon feed to you.

    January 5, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Reality Check!

    #44 = Affirmative Action January 5th, 2009 6:49 pm ET
    ----------------
    Just a reminder, Bush was president for 8 months before 9/11 happened, and it was HIS intelligence guy that kind of screwed up the whole thing. Bush and his administration were advised of the pending dangers, and chose to catch up on his missed reading by going back to kinder garden during the attacks on the WTC. Oh, and good job on his intelligence in regards to those WMD's...BRILLIANT RESEARCH man...really pulled that one off. Oh, and really good job on the war in Iraq...that was genius how we won that war so quickly....oh wait?

    Go ahead and believe your delusional, psycopathic banter.
    PS: I'm not a fan of this pick, but it really is pathetic how people like you try to duck any blame that your man caused during his horrid eight years in office.

    January 5, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  5. My Friends, let me tell you,

    Diane,didnt anyone tell you your days on that committee could be numbered.Your stance on open borders and wide open ports dont make me feel any safer.

    January 5, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. Dan

    Dianne Feinstein is right. You need experience in every field and including presidency. Barack has nothing there so naturally this nomination also has nothing. Besides his cabinet looks like Bill Clinton's cabinet. Is this a change? I thin Diane Feinstein should have stood up when they nominated Barack Obama as their presidential candidate. As we know, Obama Drama has just begun and everybody is watching. This drama will last for the next four years. It is pitiful.

    January 5, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. New Yorker

    He's got to have someone in that position with no experience; better chances of him selling us out that way.

    January 5, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. Lyndon from CA

    Leon Who??

    January 5, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  9. yasmine

    I think Ms Feinstein wish it was her.. since she let Obama and Hilary use her livingroom ...to meet

    January 5, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. Willy Brown

    Another Clinton clown picked by Obama so the left wing loons will be happy.

    January 5, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  11. FreeNLovIt

    Okay, fine. Who should be in this spot? Wesley Clark?

    January 5, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. Ken

    Hey Reality Check, sounds like you need one.

    YOU never forget that your golden boy Clinton was in office for YEARS while Bin Laden bombed us time and again, try reading history.

    He had a dozen chances to take out Bin Laden which the CIA told him was planning to strike the U.S. (Guess they got that one right, huh?), but he did'nt because he did not want to hurt his "image", sound familiar, like B.O.

    Even democrats are upset at this, yet all you do is bash them because they dared to disagree with the "One".

    You truly are a cult.

    January 5, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  13. ED FL

    I think Senator Feinstein Needs to be replaced . Her record to this point has been lackluster and she can not show any instance where her performance justifies remaining as the committee member.

    January 5, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  14. FreeNLovIt

    I pray that the right man be in the position. I think you do need someone who understands the minds of these secret men.

    January 5, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  15. clifford

    How in the hell could the Democratic party be imploding before Obama has even taken the oath of office!! Sen. Diane Feinstein is definitely correct on this one though! Hillary sure is building her coalition!! Wonder what dirty pool she has on Obama??

    January 5, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  16. JJ1222

    Reading these responses crack me up. Senator Feinstein who has a say in this as Obama's nominee needs to be confirmed is all of a sudden worthless, should shut up, should resign. So basically anyone who disagrees with Obama even if its the same party should not be listened to. Really read some of these posts, does everyone really think that Obama should not be questioned at all. Everything he says goes and can do no wrong? You are asking to be disappointed and are abandoning the structure of this great nation.

    January 5, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. Andrea

    For those who are pointing out the fact that Obama can only nominate and the Senate has to approve so he needs to listen to Feinstein need to catch a clue. Do you really think that Obama has not done his homework on votes for his noms?! How many Senators do you thinkg are already "in the bag" for Obama? I mean really...give the man some credit. If Feinstein is "out of the loop", that says more about her future on the Intelligence Committee than it says about Obama's CIA pick.

    January 5, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  18. JJ1222

    My Friends, let me tell you, January 5th, 2009 7:41 pm ET

    Diane,didnt anyone tell you your days on that committee could be numbered.Your stance on open borders and wide open ports dont make me feel any safer.
    ______________________________________________________
    I bet you were a fan of Bill Richardson for commerce. He was for open borders. How about Napalatano living in AZ I can tell you she is for open borders.

    Feinstein brings up legimitate questions in regards to this nominee.

    January 5, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  19. keeth in california

    Jenny, keep on making up those funny stories. Diane, it's time to resign.

    January 5, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  20. Meka

    "Get Rid Of This One, Too"

    Congress Term Limits . . . 12 year, NO Retirement !

    January 5, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  21. john from sandiego

    Leon Panetta ?? this is starting to get real scary...who next, madeline halfbright ??

    January 5, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  22. John

    Obama is bringing new people to US intelligent world, thats is why is picking some new to this agency, lets give him a chance, all those other intelligent gurus fail us, the made the biggest intelligent blonder in US history.

    January 5, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. earle,florida

    Good for Mr Panetta,now he can get the goods on Feinstein for all her shaky-deals (steering/underwriting recommendations) with her husbands lucrative government contracts in California.This should keep her in tow, regarding the dispersment of PE Obama's ,"Stimulus Package", disproportionally going to her state,rather than evenly distributed as PE Obama would have it! PS. Mr.Panetta is also from California, but has a superior IQ,with an astute sense of pragmatism.

    January 5, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. paul oregon

    obama isnt even in office yet and the egos of reid pelosi and feinstein are rearing there heads. no wonder us dems. are always sucking hind tit. there needs to be term limits and wage roll backs.

    January 5, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  25. Larry

    Typical Democrats-Doesn't ANYBODY in the Democratic Party need any experience to lead this nation in these trying times??

    Obama – president -NO EXPERIENCE
    Penetta- top CIA--–NO EXPERIENCE

    ON AND ON AND ON-NO EXPERIENCE

    January 5, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
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