January 7th, 2009
05:26 PM ET
3 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. Mac

    The CIA needs a good cleaning out. This could not be done by an insider. More power to Panetta – he'll need a lot of fortitude and some hip-boots.

    January 7, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  2. Lyndon from CA

    See, all the lady wanted was a little respect and to have her a..... kissed.

    January 7, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  3. Teri Bishop

    Why doesn't anyone talk about helping our young people with their student loans–bailing them out?? They are the future of this country and they are saddled with enormous debt and no jobs. We bail out corporations, consumers that purchased SUV's and flat panel TVs with the home equity, etc., and noww the porn industry needs a bail out!!!! What about our kids?

    January 7, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  4. gregg45

    when does our new american police force roll,? our new policy ,, if u did not vote for the fuh,, u will be rounded up,,, and deported,,,, haha

    January 7, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  5. J

    Dear Liz,
    Where have you been for 8 years, the Bush Regime has already run this country into the ground, WE ARE BROKE, WE ARE FIGHTING WARS THAT WILL SOLVE NOTHING, THE WHOLE WORLD HATES US, THEY JUST GAVE AWAY 700 BILLION WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED TO AN INDUSTRY THAT HAS LOST MORE THAN THAT, and you are sick! ha ha ha ha ha ha. What exactly do you think the new president is going to do, start a war, put us in debt, start a recession, there is really not much for him do except improve things. Just think in about 12 days the Bush legacy will just be a nightmare in every persons mind around the globe, may the death and misery he has caused go with him.

    January 7, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  6. tee

    ALL YOU RETHUG HEATERS

    LOOK WHERE SO CALLED EXPERIENCE GOT US.
    WE NEED INTELLIGENCE THAT EQUALS OBAMA, WHO HAS MADE SOME GREAT CHOICES. DEAL WITH IT!!!!!!!!

    January 7, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Sounds to me like she was reminded who the President is going to be.......and its not her!

    January 7, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  8. E A Richardson

    The CIA is a rat's nest that's dirty from the inside out. Obama wants someone he can trust to tell him the truth. No way could he put an experienced 'insider" in that position. Obama knows what he's doing.

    January 7, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  9. Ridgeway

    Hmmm? Let's see "intelligence" in the context of an Obama appointee is a bit confusing. OK, so Leon has no qualifications to be head of the CIA but heck Obama's not qualified to be President so what's one more inept political hack in D.C.
    Think I'm kidding? Al Franken. I rest my case.

    January 7, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. Hammer

    And all we have heard from these people is about incompentence of the Repubs. The last few days the Dems have shown that they are both inept and incompentent.

    January 7, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  11. No Hillary = No Obama

    And now you know why Congress has betrayed Americans. Not a one of them can stand their ground. They are all in bed together.

    January 7, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  12. PULEEEZZZ!! lets tell some truth

    Diane gets to changer her mind.. There are alot of people who are afraid of someone like Panetta.. He doesnt have anything to hide .. Many people around the CIA do, and they knew he might be effective in getting them to crawl out from under the rock where the are hiding..

    January 7, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  13. Tl

    Does Feinstein know that the Church Age is over ?

    January 7, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  14. Texas Teacher

    Better get a grip on your posterior, Feinstein... whose side are you on.... ? the Repubs are going OUT.... unless you want to follow, you need to put your Dem hat on, and then pray that not Too Many remember how often you sided with Repubs.... like just about every time. You rolled over so much, that you might qualify for the White House Pet vetting! :)

    January 7, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  15. John G

    Just another fine example of the "party before principles" standpoint of the Democratic party.

    January 7, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  16. Not a Democrat but voted for Obama out of Desperation

    I don't feel too good about the security situation under the new administration. Just give me my govt. check and I will go hide somewhere for four years. Quick, please.

    January 7, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  17. ga.

    all that fuss about nothing, shame on her selfishness.

    January 7, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  18. Marjo

    I don't understand, if she felt she was being ignored by Obama or had some other beef with him, why didn't she just pick up the phone and call his office. Was it really necessary to issue a statement to the press?

    January 7, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  19. No love lost lost

    I get tired even hearing about her continually and even more looking at her isnt there someone better some where?

    January 7, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  20. chuck

    THIS WOMAN NEEDS MENTAL HELP QUICKLY. WHEN SOMEONE STARTS CHANGING THEIR MIND SO OFTEN I GET SCARED. I STILL WOULD LOOK AT THIS WOMAN WITH FOUR EYES.

    January 7, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  21. Chris in Va.

    @ Willy Brown.....you and Griff must be on the same meds, you make as much sense as he does....NONE!

    Come again, I'm sure in your simple mind your comment made sense, now pull firmly with your back and sholders until you hear a loud POP!!! take a deep breath, explain your inane comment, then feel free to insert your head up your arse again!!! The world awaits.

    January 7, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  22. Scott

    Who put the squeeze on Dianne? She was right in the first place.

    Looks like the only non-Clinton person in this new administration is Obama.

    January 7, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  23. Rick

    She's a moron

    January 7, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  24. Fay Tx

    @tee January 7th, 2009 7:53 pm ET
    ALL YOU RETHUG HEATERS
    LOOK WHERE SO CALLED EXPERIENCE GOT US.
    WE NEED INTELLIGENCE THAT EQUALS OBAMA, WHO HAS MADE SOME GREAT CHOICES. DEAL WITH IT!!!!!!!!
    ****You are SOOOOO RIGHT!!!!

    January 7, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  25. Ben in Dallas

    After the debacle in Vietnam, the US military completely revised its relationship with the civilian authority. To this day they try to maintain a trusted advisor status to the president and congress. The lessons learned in our most deadly war can stand the Intelligence community in good stead. If Panetta guides the CIA, NSA and other branches through such a review and implementation he will have achieved much.

    January 7, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
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