January 9th, 2009
11:16 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama names Panetta, Blair

 Barack Obama fills out his intelligence team at a news conference on Friday.

Barack Obama fills out his intelligence team at a news conference on Friday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama named Leon Panetta as CIA director and Dennis Blair as director of national intelligence on Friday morning.

Watch: Obama announces CIA, DNI picks

In addition, former CIA official John Brennan was tapped as White House homeland security adviser and deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism.

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Matt

    Let me guess...there will be several posts here from GOPers regurgitating the things Feinstein said despite the fact that she has been convinced Obama is right after talking with him.

    January 9, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. SS

    When you're good, you're good!
    Luxury versus necessity???
    Does our economy speak for Americans these days?
    The appointment appears to be suitable for this day and age...

    January 9, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Robin

    Panetta is the wrong choice for THIS job. I'm not saying he's not intelligent, it's obvious he is.

    But the head of the CIA is vital to our national security. We can't have someone "making it up as he goes."

    Obama, I did not vote for you but I want to support you. This choice makes supporting you hard, and flat out scares me.

    January 9, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. Sye the Pychic

    Panetta will draw out the whistle-blowers and tell us whos been naughty and whos been nice.I see publishers having a field day this year and making some money.Invest in book sales.

    January 9, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. and they will be surrounded by...

    more agents of AIPAC and neo-cons.

    i say, let them dig the hole deep enough

    so that they could NEVER dig themselves out of it!

    jump the ship, people, abandon the unjust system,

    before it drags you down in its way to the bottom of the sea!

    stop buying corporate products!

    walk away from your upside down mortgages now!

    start growing your own food!

    recycle everything and anything!

    stop betting against your own interests by investing in wall street!

    free yourself, your children and grandchildren from the grips of the murderous thieves!

    January 9, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Kevin in Ohio

    Yep, its official. The dismantling of the CIA and every shred of security and Intelligence gathering ability we've had are imminent. Can't wait to see where he chooses to send the Gitmo terrorists......... RIP America.

    January 9, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Obama Victim

    have never seen the words "Blair" "Panetta" "Osama" and "intelligence" in the same sentence before

    January 9, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  8. Gordon Shumway

    Let us hope this is not step one in the downgrading of American Intelligence capabilities. Makes one wonder whether Palin was more qualified than Obama..................

    January 9, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. W.Graboviesky

    It's Obvious that Prez-Elect Obama is as Didgusted as the rest of us re: PORK. The Waste. The Self-Serving Greed & corruption that we have seen for far too many years.
    We'd now like to see, on a regular basis that is, (daily) WHO is asking for WHAT?
    WHO will hold up productive measures for the country just to get the snout into the trough! We're far from stupid. We do know where most of the kick-back goes. SICK of it? You bet!!!
    If Cooper 360- is serious about "keeping them honest" let's "can" the sensationalism & see it in action for once!
    Best that You All get honest about what yr doing too!!!

    January 9, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Brian

    So we're at a point in our nation's history where we've never been more hated around the world, I think that's fair to say. We have 2 wars going on, troops deployed all over the planet in efforts to keep peace and deliver liberty. So in a time when we're most hated, most susceptable to terror attacks, the man nominated by Obama to be in charge of the CIA has little to zero experience in the intelligence community?? I've been satisfied with Obama's appointees up to this point, but Panetta is not a good choice, plain and simple.

    January 9, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. Baze

    Overall, it doesn't look like the intelligence organization from the previous administration was all that bad. Let's see how this one fairs.

    January 9, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. Matt

    Duh...Obama refuses pork and the GOP will suddenly have an attack of "conscience" and, despite having voted to bail out the financial industry without oversight so their buddies and donators could get rich, they'll refuse the stimulus package on "principle" of "small government." Small gov't is just GOP code for "we'd rather the government spend nothing if it's not going to spend to our advantage."

    January 9, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Lindsay

    During the Reagan administration, I served as a high-level Defense Intelligence Agency analyst at the Pentagon. In 1986, I took part in a policy symposium on the future of the Soviet Union with my counterparts at CIA and the State Department. Our unanimous conclusion was that - for many reasons - the Soviet bloc would certainly collapse by the end of the decade: a prediction that, of course, came true.
    When I attempted to report our findings, I was promptly "silenced" by a higher-level Reagan appointee, who reprimanded me in front of my colleagues for "irresponsible analytical conclusions." Admitting fatal Soviet weakness would've derailed Reagan's rampant defense spending. I needn't remind you of more recent instances of distortion or suppression of intelligence to suit a sitting President's agenda.
    Let's hope and pray that our new President's intelligence team is allowed to tell the unvarnished truth.

    January 9, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. lovable liberal

    Stick to your guns, Barack. Let the carpers carp themselves blue in the face while you stay resolute.

    January 9, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. Simpliticus

    These are very good choices as honest operators for their respective area. It is obvious that good administration efforts are a priority with Obama. Indeed the CIA and other intelligence gathering centers have been essentially wrecked by the George W. Bush administration. The CIA itself has been subjected to horrible debasement by Bush as regards poor intelligence over going to war with Iraq when the base knowledge was primarily gathered through the Department of Defense and Doug Feith's group, this an open concern and common knowledge. Bush and Cheney cherry-picked the desired "intelligence" from the Feith group at DoD and compelled the CIA to follow in step or heads would role. Obama is using good decision to repair a dishonored organization(s) with Panetta's nomination. What a heckava job you haven't done, Brownie!

    January 9, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Coherent1

    To Matt: Exactly.

    January 9, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. tired of corporate politics

    from Lindsay's story: "... was promptly "silenced" by a higher-level Reagan appointee, who reprimanded me in front of my colleagues for "irresponsible analytical conclusions."

    It is no different now. If you disagree with the power, you will be silenced and reprimanded as a racist or a non-unity nay-sayer.

    The current myth now is "if we are nice to everyone, the world will love us". It will be interesting to see how people are treated who discover there are still people who hate us out there.

    Look at how Obama handled the Cuba flap druing the election – he talked to both sides and made them both angry! But he looked good of course.

    And how about Gaza? This is major news – people are dead on both sides. Maybe it is time to form an actual opinion.

    Always Question Authority!

    January 9, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. geecee827

    Obama continues to do what he feels is best for our Country, despite any criticism he may get from the Republicans or his own party, who, by the way, are not above being obstructionists either! He is going to get things done for the betterment of all of us, and that's just so refreshing. Keep up the good work, President-Elect Obama.

    January 9, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. Patsy Madison, TN

    This is a good solid pick. Obama needs someone to tell him the truth and not let anyone change the intelligence as Bush/Cheney did.

    January 9, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    These might have been Obama's clumsiest appointments. Not as satisfying as the previous appointments he has made.

    January 9, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Mike

    The fact that Panetta has no "intellegence" experience is a good rather than bad thing. The Director of the CIA should be a Manager of the CIA – not an Intelligence Expert. That is what employees of the CIA are for.
    The "Intelligence" concerning 9/11 and the lead up to the Iraq invasion was was good. The problems are that the Intelligence was not looked at or the facts were ignored because they didn't fit into what the upper eschelon of the CIA and the President etc wanted the facts to show.
    The job of the Director of the CIA is to make sure all angels of the Intelligence picture are presented.

    January 9, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. Mari

    @ Lindsay....... thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree that many times in our history the truth is squashed to suit the Military-industrial-complex!

    Unlike the Washington insiders, I see the choices of Blair & Panetta as excellent! The CIA needs to be cleaned up, there have been too many failures and mistakes. The CIA can not be a political pawn.

    And while he is at it...... the President-elect needs to take a good hard look at the out of control Defense budget.... especially the "star wars" program.

    January 9, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. S Callahan

    Wow Lindsay...that was a tough thing to go through, you did your part and that is what counts..... life has a funny way of bringing justice about....it may take years...but eventually it happens.......I live by the motto of Exodus 14:14

    January 9, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |



    January 9, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. S Callahan

    I have to add...Obama knows what he is doing...remember..his love of the game of basketball is actually he can apply tactically to his adminstration........ you can see it already

    January 9, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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