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Posts Tagged ‘Leon Panetta’

Pakistan demands U.S. cut drone strikes, CIA agents

By Agence France-Presse via: Raw Story
Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 — 10:41 am

WASHINGTON — Pakistan has told the United States to sharply cut the number of CIA agents and special forces operating there, and to rein in drone strikes against militants, a US newspaper said Monday.

The New York Times said the order highlighted the near collapse of US-Pakistani cooperation, the result of a row that erupted when CIA officer Raymond Davis shot and killed two men who tried to rob him in January.

The authorities in Islamabad were asking a total of about 335 CIA officers, contractors and special operations forces to leave the country, according to a Pakistani official involved in the decision who was quoted by the daily.

Pakistan’s army chief General Ashfaq Kayani personally ordered the reductions, it added, citing unnamed US and Pakistani officials.

The news came as Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the chief of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s powerful military spy agency, met in Washington with Leon Panetta, director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

George Little, a CIA spokesman, told AFP the talks were productive and that relations between the agency and the ISI remained on a “solid footing.”

The Pakistani official involved in the decision to cut back the US presence told the newspaper that Pakistan suspects that what Washington really wants to do is to neutralize the Muslim country’s nuclear arsenal.

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Panetta: “Not much choice’ but to use Blackwater

RAW STORY- By David Edwards and Daniel Tencer
Sunday, June 27th, 2010 — 12:33 pm

CIA director says ‘at most’ 50 to 100 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan

How can a company allegedly responsible for killing 17 unarmed civilians in Baghdad in 2007 continue to get State Department and CIA contracts? CIA Director Leon Panetta says there is “not much choice” because few companies have the capabilities of Blackwater.

“Since I have become director, I have asked our agency to review every contract we have had with Blackwater and whatever their new name is now — Xe — to ensure first and foremost that we have no contract in which they are engaged in any CIA operations. We’re doing our own operations. That’s important that we not contract that out to anybody,” Panetta told ABC’s Jake Tapper Sunday.

“But at the same time I have to tell you that in the war zone, we continue to have needs for security. You’ve got a lot of forward bases. You’ve got a lot of attacks on some of those bases. We’ve got to have security. Unfortunately, there are few companies that provide that kind of security,” Panetta continued.

“State Department relies on them. We rely on them to a certain extent. So, we’ve bid out some of those contracts. They provided a bid that underbid everyone else by about $26 million and a panel that we had said that they can do the job, that they’ve shaped up their act,” he said.

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By Garry Wills | The New York Review of Books, Volume 56, Number 15, October 8, 2009

George W. Bush left the White House unpopular and disgraced. His successor promised change, and it was clear where change was needed. Illegal acts should cease—torture and indefinite detention, denial of habeas corpus and legal representation, unilateral canceling of treaties, defiance of Congress and the Constitution, nullification of laws by signing statements. Powers attributed to the president by the theory of the unitary executive should not be exercised. Judges who are willing to give the president any power he asks for should not be confirmed.

Continues >>

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Panetta: Too Dangerous To Release Torture Tape Docs

TPM Muckraker- By Zachary Roth – June 9, 2009, 9:58AM

Do we have yet another case of the Obama administration mimicking its predecessor’s notorious penchant for government secrecy?

The CIA argued yesterday that Bush-era documents detailing the videotaped interrogations of detainees should not be released, citing national security concerns, reports the Washington Post.

The videotapes, which depicted harsh interrogation tactics, were famously destroyed in 2005. As part of a wide-ranging lawsuit, the ACLU is seeking the release of CIA emails discussing the tapes, handwritten notes taken after reviewing the tapes, and a photograph of one high-value detainee, Abu Zubaydah, among other items relating to the tapes.

CIA director Leon Panetta argued in a statement that releasing the material “could be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security by informing our enemies of what we knew about them, and when, and in some instances, how we obtained the intelligence we possessed.”

Panetta wrote that the “disclosure of explicit details of specific interrogations” would give al-Qaeda “propaganda it could use to recruit and raise funds.” He called it “ready-made ammunition.”

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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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