January 7th, 2009
05:26 PM ET
4 years ago

Feinstein now supports Panetta to head CIA

Sen. Feinstein said Wednesday that she will back President-elect Obama's pick to head the CIA.
Sen. Feinstein said Wednesday that she will back President-elect Obama's pick to head the CIA.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Just two days after she criticized President-elect Obama’s pick to head the sometimes-troubled CIA because he is not an intelligence professional, incoming Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein says she will support Leon Panetta because he will “tell truth to power.”

In an interview with CNN, Feinstein said she believes Panetta, a former congressman and Clinton White House chief of staff, will “surround himself with very qualified intelligence professionals in the top positions.” She praised Panetta, whom she’s known for 20 years, as “smart” and “credible.”

“He will, as has been said, tell truth to power. Not what power wants to hear but should here,” Feinstein said. “That’s probably the most fundamental part of all of this. That what many of think happened with the Iraq NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) never happens again.”

Feinstein denied that the short statement she issued Monday, after news of the Obama’s selection was reported by the New York Times, was designed to send a message to the incoming administration that she was angry at not being consulted about the selection.

“That’s nonsense,” she said.

“Yesterday morning the president-elect called, the vice president-elect called. I had a thorough, thoughtful conversation with both of them. They said sorry, we screwed up. I understand that,” she said. “This is his choice and I understand that. He wants to make a clean cut, open a new chapter. And I support that.”

soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. Greed is not good

    Uncle Obama is taking charge. Better stay on board with the program!

    January 7, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  2. debra

    Hmm...wonder when she got the call to get on message?

    January 7, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. nickdog

    One call from Obama and she got in line. Go Obama.

    January 7, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. Tia

    Flip flop. Over and over. Just like Burris. Suddenly it was all a bluff. Are these politicians still in junior high?

    January 7, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  5. Tia

    I take that back, Junior High Schoolers are more mature and has more integrity

    January 7, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  6. California Gold

    Yes Ms. Feinstein, the President Elect knows what he wants and the right people for the job. Your initial reaction did not put you in a favorable light. Sometimes you come off as another old politician who can't see beyond the tip of your old nose. No depth. Blech.

    January 7, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  7. Tian

    Anonymous January 7th, 2009 5:46 pm ET

    "rich people need to be taxed more than anyone else because like the bushes that "tax money" they are throwing it away on 500,000 dollar dishes. pathetic."

    So people who don't pay taxes can continue to get rewarded with welfare... Maybe I should quite my job so some stranger can support me and pay for health care for my children through their taxes.

    January 7, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. Nina

    Thats the problem with politicians... never stick to your convictions. This man is not qualified to be head of the CIA. He is a politician not intelligence agent. Bad choice!

    January 7, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  9. boered1

    reality hurts doesn't it feinstien? your grandstanding only made you look foolish now that you have had to eat crow. Seems that Obama CAN control her now doesn't it all you Obama haters?

    oh and Charles i know it is hard to tell with bush doing nothing the last couple of months but writing executive orders to try to keep the government as screwed up as he can possible make it before he leaves but the democrats do not yet have "the rock" 13 more days before that happens.

    idiots

    January 7, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. K, CA

    I'm really not comfortable having this silly immature strop as the Senate Intelligence Committee Chair!! What are the Dems playing at keeping Reid and this Feinstein douchebag?!! Obama may have the White House but Change has not come to America until we take out the trash in both houses!!

    January 7, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  11. Former Republican

    WOW, NOW I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER.

    TERM LIMITS, TERM LIMITS, TERM LIMITS !!!!

    FEINSTEIN MUST BE JUST COMING OUT OF A LONG COMMA

    OR A VERY LONG SLEEP. SAID NOTHING ABOUT TORTURE ETC..

    January 7, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  12. dr.mimi de la cruz

    FEINSTINE JUST WANTED TO HEAR HERSELF TALK.

    SHE IS ONE OF THE BEST REASONS FOR TERM LIMITS.

    January 7, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  13. Jen

    Sounds like she got promised something she wanted in that phone call, cause lets face it, she was too rip-roarin' mad the day before and logically said it was a dumb move on Obama's part.
    Now her tune is that Panetta will "surround himself with competent people." We know what that means...Panetta will do what incompetent but promoted managers do all the time in everyday life...he will have his subordinates do the job for him. Those poor CIA employees...I bet they stop jumping ship.

    January 7, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  14. Jan Illinois

    Obama, what a sweet talker!!! Changed her mind over night. I bet he did it in a most gracious way as well.

    January 7, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. Dante

    Oh well, if that worthless hypocrite bat Sen. Feinstein thinks he is good then I am all for him too! To hell with experience!

    January 7, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  16. Sherrol in Canada

    Makes one wonder what PE Obama and VPE Biden said to her to make her do such a 180. She had been pretty miffed about not being included. Could it be she had one of her cronies in mine for the job?

    Anyway, I guess however it was accomplished, it's kind of good to see everyone appearing to be on the same page.

    January 7, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  17. John G

    She was obviously suffering from withdrawals. All she needed was another dixie cup full of the koolaid and all was well again.

    Bet she backs down on her position regarding Burris tomorrow.

    January 7, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  18. Chris in Va.

    Obama stated "there can only be one president at a time". The sooner these swollen heads in D.C. realize that we will be able to make some progress.

    P.S. to Willy Brown.....you sure do love those Nazis don't you, but you have it backwards, the Republicans covet the swastika, none more-so than your Dick "Das Fuher" Cheney. Besides Willy, I'm sure you have a N.S.D.A.P. banner displayed prominently in your slime pit.

    January 7, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  19. malclave

    So, Obama got onto Reid, who got onto Feinstein and told her to straighten up, huh?

    January 7, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  20. email4kh

    One of at least two things is obvious:
    1. Congressmen and Senators don't stop to think before spewing at the piehole, or
    2. None of them has a spine.

    January 7, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  21. Serious in NJ

    I wonder why?

    January 7, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  22. so what gives?

    since barak called diane, all's well?

    and we the people believe whatever ou guys in washington tell us, LOL.

    be afraid, be very afraid, if you have truth to tell to power!

    January 7, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  23. Franky

    “Yesterday morning the president-elect called, the vice president-elect called. I had a thorough, thoughtful conversation with both of them. They said sorry, we screwed up. I understand that,” she said. “This is his choice and I understand that. He wants to make a clean cut, open a new chapter. And I support that.”

    Geez, I wouldv'e give her a grand if she wouldv'e made my boy cry for cryin out loud, LOL!! Heck, I'll pay the GOP two grand if one of them can make my boy cry, LOL!!

    "He's the greatest dancer...na'h, na'h, that I ever seen...

    He';s the greatest dancer...na'h, na'h, that I ever seen!" LOL!!

    As you can see we are jammin baby!!

    January 7, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  24. george from alaska

    presidents depend on our intelligence agencies, but most spies are weak, sniveling, vouyeristic, peeping toms that get a kick out of peeking at others. they need a "normal" person to supervise them, not an insider…insider top management is the primary problem with our intelligence agencies.

    January 7, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  25. tommy jonq

    bam-o showed feinstein bill's donor list, and she saw the light. next up: blago for secretary of commerce. lieberman uber alles!

    http://poltiqs.tommyjonq.com

    January 7, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
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