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. Denise Colorado

    I'd like to know why the White House is spending $485,000 on china when we have a 1.2 trillion dollar deficit, just this year. Is this really necessary?

    January 7, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. Chris - Denver

    Oh, Oh, Panetta. I thought you said Banetta. Yeah, Panetta's OK. Good thing it wasn't that lame-o Leon Banetta.

    January 7, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. gregg45

    my god , the god father was not that good,,,,,,,,,,,,ooops,,, sorry, obama,, i did not do nothin,,, i just want u to rule the earth,,, as i said ,, i is sorry

    January 7, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  4. valwayne

    Senator Feinstein was obviously pleased as punch that Obama ignored her in selecting the head of the CIA! He probably knew she'd tell him choosing a man with no intelligence experience would be a disaster that could cost thousands or tens of thousands of American lives. If Obama's choice causes new intelligence failures that allow another devastating terrorist attack on the mainland U.S. after George Bush kept us safe for 7 years Diane Feinstein will be glad that she had no part in it.

    January 7, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  5. Strange Change Indeed

    Panetta lacks the qualifications, but it's no longer necessary to have qualifications to be in public office (See Obama, Caroline Kennedy, Franken, etc.).

    January 7, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  6. gregg45

    may your lord have pity on this country,, may the basketball hands of the almighty obama , lift you high in the air,,, may he bounce you around, as he has b4,, may he slam dunk u,, into the hell we will see... good luck amerika,,, from a former democrat

    January 7, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  7. Rick

    I;m sure Obama and the rest of them pulled the Democrate garbage up over her head just like they have done to the rest of those who voted for him. within 2 years things will change, taxes will go up, and our lives will be run by the government. When it happens, I hope those who voted for them are happy

    January 7, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  8. Doug

    The problem here is politics not government. The government will NEVER get better with political actors like Panetta. Remember the campaign" We can't get Change using the same people and hoping for a DIFFERENT OUTCOME."

    January 7, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  9. Brenda C

    Look at her eyes in the picture. Looks like Cheech and chong might have joined her and obama in the meeting. I'm sure obama served up some of his famous kool-aid to.

    January 7, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  10. boredboy

    this is boring

    January 7, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  11. illinois209

    Strange Change Indeed January 7th, 2009 6:55 pm ET
    Panetta lacks the qualifications, but it's no longer necessary to have qualifications to be in public office (See Obama, Caroline Kennedy, Franken, etc.). ...How about Bush Senior??

    January 7, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  12. MikeH

    Dianne should change her name to Sybil, or maybe Legion.

    Anyway, it's nice to see her in with the crowd, for now.

    January 7, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  13. Jamal Chicago

    Ummm.... so we complain about Bush and now we put in these jokers? OK.... hmmmm.... I don't get it.


    January 7, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  14. David Newport, OR

    Power...it goes to everyone's head that is in this business for a job. Maybe that is why being a politician shouldn't be a career opportunity?

    January 7, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  15. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    "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..." says Charles L. Shaw, Liverpool, NY...

    Totally ignoring the fact that the Republican President and too many obstructive Republicans are still wandering the hall of Congress!

    The Democrats have had a majority for three days now and Obama isn't even sworn in ... its gonna take awhile to clean up 8 years of the mess the GOP has left ....

    Betting Charles L. Shaw, Liverpool, NY will be whining on February 1st about Obama not accomplishing all he promised ... sour grapes made into GOP whine....

    January 7, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  16. Dave in Illinois

    Got to toe the party line, Dianne. There is no opportunity for independent opinion and truth, just fall in line with all the other sheep because the messiah says it's so.

    January 7, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  17. Dave

    I'm glad she knows that he'll “surround himself with very qualified intelligence professionals in the top positions.” Why, 'cause maybe he's smart enough to know that he don't know crap about running an intelligence agency.

    January 7, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  18. WIlly Brown

    Chris in VA. please show up for work tomorrow at with your paper hat this time please. Thanks the mgt..

    January 7, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  19. OC

    She simply needed to shift her own paradigm and she sees their point of view on why Panetta was picked instead of an insider. What's wrong with that.

    January 7, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  20. love 'em all

    Good thinking Dianne. No wonder this country is so ......up.; keep the
    stupid broads out of politics and on PMS. They really think better that


    January 7, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  21. Betty

    Lady Di is off her meds. Time to put her out to pasture with the rest of the dead wood in the Washington. The Senate and House needs some young new faces who want to work for the people and get things done.

    January 7, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  22. bob

    Feinstein and Pelosi need to retired from Politics. They haven't done anything positive for our country or the state of California. Let Obama be our true voice of reason and not the old guards from Congress and Senate.

    January 7, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  23. Reggie Hammond

    Of Course She Does ... Barack spanked her I suspect.

    January 7, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  24. Gil

    Nice to see that people can still change their minds. Penetta is exactly what we need. No more yes men to push our country to use torture to get confessions. No more dick cheney clones to ignore the laws and to violate international laws.

    January 7, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. lol inhell

    stupid person can't make up her mind in office or out of office, Kalifornia, please don't elect her again!

    January 7, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
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