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

Feinstein now supports Panetta to head CIA

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/07/art.difi0107.gi.jpg caption="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. not sure it matters

    but I'm glad that she was consulted

    January 7, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  2. just dallas

    @ illinois209 historically functionaly iliterates qualified for office which leads me to believe that 99 percent of public office seekers are qualfied as the constitution does require much since we live in world of over reachers with opinions .Everytime you turn on the news somebody is over reaching. "the racecard" over reaching, "not seating Burris just because it was said the governor is no good ,not proven but simply said, congress over reaching, "right wing nuts trying to tie Obama to everybodies elses indiscretions" major over reaching.and for the GOP to throw up qualification of the PE but had the audacity to entertain sara palin being anywhere near the office because she's a governor of bout what 20 people in a state so far removed from American reality.talk about over reaching. this is the 21st century and a young black man was elected to lead who i firmly believe paced his entire career on the path to the white house I'm sure when he made President of Harvard Law Review he saw himself in the whitehouse don't think he didn't. remember many may want to lead but few are born to Lead....

    January 7, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  3. dustin

    Obama isn't even sworn in yet and already such pettiness from the right......presidents 1-42...little over 5 trillion in debt, president 43 leaving office with around 11 trillion in debt. Bush ran more debt than the previous 42 presidents including all those "tax and spend" liberals. So, quit your whining already and wait till the next election till you start spewing your idiocy.

    January 7, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  4. Larry

    Typical Democrats--Knuckle under-politics as usual ,flip flop.

    January 7, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  5. Bea

    I support Barack but Sen. Feinstein, when you don't agree with something, there is nothing wrong with speaking your mind.

    January 7, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Ah,yea? The ,"battle of the hormones",testerone triumphs over estrogin in the esoteric world of american politic's,...

    January 7, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  7. Scott L

    Man the Democrats look like a bunch of morons right about now...

    Funny how Obama will come out and talk about every single burning issue right now, but when it comes to the middle east crisis going on, he defers to Bush.

    Get used to Obama not being able to do anything as President.

    Be careful what you wish for BHO, you just got it.

    January 7, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  8. Scott L


    You are right, when people flip flop so quick like that, they do have mental issues. Gee reminds me of...hmmm....someone with Hussein in their middle name that just hoodwinked the American people.

    The best part about all of this is that you all were voting him into office expecting a tax cut and are going to get screwed because he is already talking about setting a new lower cap. 250k ummmm der 200k ehhh errrr 150k....ummmm errr 100k....uuuuuhhh ummmm errr 50k....ummm middle east is Bush' problem now....duhhhh errrr...

    You sheep fell for that one hook line and sinker and Scott L is laughing all the way to the bank because of recent shifts in my portfolio I have made to protect myself against the trauma that BHO and Democrats are going to inflict on American wealth.

    January 7, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  9. Zion

    Diane Fienstein is behaving like a typical woman. If you don't do things her way, she'll kick and scream and try to destroy. That's why I couldn't stand Hillary.

    January 7, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  10. earle,florida

    Ah yes,the battle of the "Hormones", testrogen's triumph over estrogin in the esoteric world of american triumvirate politics,...

    January 7, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  11. Ecor

    Good Grief; even Charlie Brown would say. Each and every time I, unfortunately, encounter anything uttered by her I just say to myself: Self: "make no change inopinion; she is a professional political idiot."

    January 7, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  12. PA

    Feinstein changes her mind more often than Obama changes his socks! She's against Panetta today and for Panetta tomorrow. Another spirited conversation with the right people, a wind change, or hot flashes and who knows where she'll be next!

    January 7, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  13. Gail

    these disgusting politicians we have pinned our and our children's and our grandchildren's future on seem to change their minds day by day. DISGUSTING!!

    January 7, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  14. Rick


    The stupidity of some people never ceases to amaze me !!!! this is not a republican or democrat issue !!!! you have to have the best person suited for this kind of job in other words you need someone that has experience in human intel, black ops, and espionage !!! you dont throw in someone who has no experience !!!! we are still at war with people that seek to destroy us I am sure the new president elect knows that !!!!!!

    January 7, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  15. WIlly Brown

    Well Chirs if I had a low IQ I could be a democrat too. I think the french fry machine is calling you.

    January 7, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |

    Dianne = Old, rich, white woman trying to tell me what's up.

    Shuttee, please.

    January 7, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  17. Grant in Canada

    Oh my, Amber..........Vichy – Democrats? LOL. Nicely done.

    January 7, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  18. Tim

    Hold to your conviction Feinstein? She always felt that the intelligence community should be headed by an intelligence professional?

    I'm laughing at the change.

    January 7, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  19. Penn Voter

    The democrats are doing a good job at kicking their own A$$ during the days leading up to Obama taking the office.

    With Bill Richards being forced to withdraw, the Chicago Pay to Play scandal and questionable appointment of a junior senator, the "you never told me" tantrums, the Reid/Pelosi "Obama ain't the boss of me" showboating, the "keep your enemy closer" selection of Hillary as the Sec of State, and we still have 12 days to go....

    If this way things will happen in the Obama administration, then by day 100, Jeb Bush will be measuring drapes in the Oval Office.

    January 7, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  20. Proud American

    Fay Tx, not sure what a rethug heater is; is that something like a pug in heat? Anyway, people like you, Proud American, Texas Teacher are fine examples of citizens who should never be trusted with the right to vote...or procreate... or teach.

    January 7, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  21. Rick Sutter

    This cannot be lost on you dems; Barack's operatives "convinced" Feinstein that her original, reasoned opinion was incorrect. Get used to much, much more. Don't be surprised if Biden doesn't last for four years.

    January 7, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  22. Pay for endorsements

    This is what Americans hate about back door politics. Obama has clearly offered something of value to Feinstein to change her mind The Democratic Party in DC is no different than the IL Governor - the only difference is that Fitzgerald does not have federal wire taps on the phone of the US Senate

    January 7, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  23. Perusing-through


    Now that Barack Obama & Joe Biden won the White House, thereby completing the Democrats rise to political leadership; prima donnas like Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein have suddenly become cocky as though the nation installed her as President and Vice President. Senator Feinstein was a Bush/Cheney rubberstamp the past 8-years, and suddenly she found a backbone now that the nation has chosen Obama & Biden to lead. Same thing is true with Senate Leader Harry Reid, he suddenly found a backbone now that the big bad wolves Bush & Cheney are leaving town.

    January 7, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  24. Rick Sutter

    I am a little surprised (not) at the mysogyny, racism, agism and general intolerance of the lefties on this forum. Feinstein is a "typical woman". There are endless comments about Republicans being "old, white men". Would you tolerate a comment about one of Barack's decisions being that of a "typical black man"?

    January 7, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  25. Michael

    This really isn't Feinstein's finest moment. She seems to have had a nutty over not being consulted. Perhaps, she was dissed, but she could have expressed her anger privately rather than publicly. One thing I admire about her new-found approval of his nomination is that she demonstrated that she can back-up, collect herself, and get back on track.

    January 8, 2009 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
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