January 7th, 2009
05:26 PM ET
10 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. Kurt C.

    Good grief, they got to her. she told the truth a couple of days ago. Leon Panetta is a rank amateur when it comes to intelligence and does not need to come close to heading up any intelligence agency.

    January 7, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. Susie

    Well, hope she's sincere. She also supported most of the Bush follies, didn't she? Too bad SF didn't elect Cindy Sheehan to replace Pelosi-there might be a chance of real policy change then.

    January 7, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Sherrol in Canada

    Makes one wonder what Obama and Biden said to her to make her do such a 180. She had been pretty miffed about not being included.

    Anyway, I guess how ever it was accomplished, it's kind of good to see everyone appearing to be on the same page. Politics at it's best?!

    January 7, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. Albo58

    That's right, let's not consider actual qualifications. I'm sure he'll get the hang of it in a few years and our external enemies usually respect a grace period for new CIA chiefs anyway so no big whoop!

    January 7, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. Al, California

    Hope we will replace Feinstein by somebody more progressive, like Boxer.

    January 7, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. Liz

    Of course she is going to support him now. He's a liberal Democrat just like she and the rest of the idiots who are "running the show" now. Who cares if he's qualified!!!!! This administration and this Congress is going to run the country into the ground just like the last administration did. It makes me sick!!! Could we get some REAL leaders in this country, please?

    January 7, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Harriette, ND

    Good, we will have to wait and see what kind of administration Barack will have. He has a good head on his shoulders and I'm sure he'll do fine. We might not understand his reasons, but I'm sure everything will come together.

    January 7, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. Last Honest man

    Democrats are pathetic. They say one thing...get nailed...take a little heat and then flip flop to PC position.

    January 7, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Objective thinking

    Even though this article has nothing to do with Republicans, ignorant anti-Republican remark from "Proud American" in 3... 2... 1...

    January 7, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. Griff

    Hail South Afrifca,,,, He was in prison in 1961..... America what did Obama do????

    January 7, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Mari

    I have lost all respect for Diane Feinstein! What a hypocrite! She did not like Panetta because OBAMA did not ask for her opinion....... its all about her .........ego.

    January 7, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. No Incumbents 2010

    It will be interesting to see how Feinstein's back will be scratched. I love politicians. She seems to flip flop more than "I voted for it before I voted against it..." John Kerry.

    January 7, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. Linda in MS

    Feinstein sounds like an egotistical shrew to me. She likes Panetta now that Obama and Biden called her and apologized to her. I'll bet her husband is terrified of her. And as far as "telling truth to power" Ms. Feinstein obviously has her Presidents confused. Obama wants to hear the truth, and will not twist it around to serve his ends, unlike Bush.

    January 7, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. Slider

    I knew 'ol Clayface would come around sooner, or later.

    Folks, you just can't make this stuff up.

    Best part of it all is, that there is more from these bozos to come over the next four years.

    January 7, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    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.

    January 7, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. Amber

    If Obama wants to make an appointment that hasn't been cross-checked with Vichy-Democrats that coluded with the Bush regime, then that's FINE BY ME.

    January 7, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. carol

    She seems to have changed her tune, now everything is just hunky dory...it wasn't her decision anyway, Obama knows who he wants for that position and it was his choice to make.

    January 7, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. Charlie in Maine

    Now wait a minute here. Am I to understand that a Senator had a problem with the Admninisrtation, voiced her concern, and got an explanation that was acceptable to her? That's it? No sniping? No one had their patriotism questioned? No one was attacked on some morinic radio program for daring to question?

    Obama, now that is change I can believe in.


    January 7, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  19. Charles L. Shaw, Liverpool, NY

    Well Diane maybe your not that important after all HUH! Come on Dems you got the rock, lets see some movement out there, the American people are starving, homeless and jobless....
    Stop bailing out the rich ponzi makers of the banks and Wall Street and start helping the American workers.

    January 7, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  20. Meka

    Only Issue Feinstein had, President-elect Obama didn't consult with her first!

    Get this Woman out of Washington!

    January 7, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  21. Terry

    So it was all just a petty tantrum. Why am I not surprised...

    January 7, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  22. WIlly Brown

    She must have been taken to the wood shed by Hippie Harry for not goose stepping with the democrats and Das Obama Fuhrer

    January 7, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Ha, Ha. Way to stick to your convictions. You must have gotten wire brushed good By Obama and Biden.

    January 7, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  24. Matt

    Now that she got a little attention she's satisfied. Big baby. Someone should slap her in the forehead.

    January 7, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  25. Hammer

    This is the bunch that is going to lead the country out of the woods into the promise land?

    January 7, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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