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Posts Tagged ‘Leon Panetta CIA’

Obama’s Intel Picks Short On Direct Experience

PAMELA HESS | January 5, 2009 09:44 PM EST | AP

WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama’s decision to fill the nation’s top intelligence jobs with two men short on direct experience in intelligence gathering surprised the spy community and signaled the Democrat’s intention for a clean break from Bush administration policies.

Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, an eight-term congressional veteran and administrative expert, is being tapped to head the CIA. Retired Adm. Dennis Blair is Obama’s choice to be director of national intelligence, a selection expected for weeks, according to two Democrats who spoke on condition of anonymity because Obama has not officially announced the choices.

The Obama transition team’s long delay in selecting CIA and national intelligence directors is a reflection of the complicated demands of the jobs and Obama’s own policies and priorities.

Obama is sending an unequivocal message that controversial administration policies approving harsh interrogations, waterboarding and extraordinary renditions _ the secret transfer of prisoners to other governments with a history of torture _ and warrantless wiretapping are over, said several officials.

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