Report: Obama Might Replace CIA Chief
Posted on Aug 24, 2009
CIA Director Leon Panetta might quit or get canned in the next year, reports ABC News. Anonymous officials said Panetta, who may have already threatened to walk, is unhappy with everything from his role in the hierarchy to some of the nasty things the agency is up to. Both the White House and the CIA vehemently deny the report.
By “vehemently deny,” we mean “wrong, inaccurate, bogus and false,” in the words of a CIA spokesman. The anonymous sources beg to differ, but then they’re anonymous and should be treated with suspicion, accordingly.
Panetta was considered an odd choice to begin with. He’s a politician, not a national security expert, although he may have picked something up as Bill Clinton’s chief of staff. Perhaps to foster credibility with his agents, Panetta has resisted administration efforts to hold the agency accountable for Bush-era transgressions. —PS
In addition to concerns about the CIA’s reputation and its legal exposure, other White House insiders say Panetta has been frustrated by what he perceives to be less of a role than he was promised in the administration’s intelligence structure. Panetta has reportedly chafed at reporting through the director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, according to the senior adviser who said Blair is equally unhappy with Panetta.
“Leon will be leaving,” predicted a former top U.S. intelligence official, citing the conflict with Blair. The former official said Panetta is also “uncomfortable” with some of the operations being carried out by the CIA that he did not know about until he took the job.
Director Panetta stands by his boss as he addresses the CIA.