Dianne Feinstein: Concern Troll.

January 6, 2009 at 11:32 am | Posted in CIA | Leave a comment

Senator Feinstein, paragon of Vichy Democrats during the past eight years, is apparently unhappy with President-Elect Obama’s selection for Director of CIA.

Leon Panetta is not an “intelligence professional” and so is not acceptable to Feinstein. Well, that and she’s miffed because she wasn’t consulted by Obama or the transition team.

She certainly had different ideas when it came to confirmation of Porter Goss: “I believe the President should have the prerogative to appoint who he wants to be the DCI, or for any other senior position, subject only to the requirement that the person be qualified for the job.”

Jay Rockefeller is apparently unhappy at not being consulted as well.

Now, John Negroponte is their kind of guy.

Senator Jay Rockefeller, the senior Democrat on the [senate intelligence] committee, cited Negroponte’s 40-year career as a diplomat and gushed, “This breeds a tough and disciplined man of self-esteem and a willingness to make decisions and tell truth to power….You’ve ably served the country.” Rockefeller did not mention the well-supported allegation that Negroponte, when he was ambassador to Honduras in the 1980s, downplayed and smothered reports of human rights abuses conducted by the Honduran military, his partner in providing assistance to the contra rebels fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. When Negroponte was ambassador to Honduras and ever since, he has denied that he covered up abuses or that the Honduran military engaged in systemic human rights violations. But a 1997 CIA inspectors general report and Honduran investigations have concluded the Honduran military committed serious human rights atrocities during Negroponte’s tenure. The CIA IG noted, “The Honduran military committed hundreds of human rights abuses since 1980, many of which were politically motivated and officially sanctioned.” It also noted that an infamous CIA-trained military outfit, Battalion 316, was linked to “death squad activities.” As ambassador, Negroponte toiled side by side General Gustavo Alvarez, the Honduran strongman who was the architect of Battalion 316.

According to Dianne Feinstein, “Ambassador Negroponte has served with distinction” and “is well suited to overseeing the collection of vital intelligence needed for the United States to protect itself.”

Oh, yes, dear senators, Leon Panetta is clearly not in the same league as Negroponte.

Senator Feinstein voted with Republicans to confirm Michael B. Mukasey to replace Frodo as Attorney General.

And when it came time to vote to confirm Michael Hayden as director of the CIA? No problem! He’s a REAL man!

MRS. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise in support of the nomination of General Michael Hayden to be the next Director of the CIA. I support his confirmation first because I think General Hayden’s vision for the future of the CIA is right on point.

Yes, I can see why these highly-principled senators would object to Leon Panetta. He’s less than supportive of the the programs that they clearly believe should continue.

I’m in full agreement with Steve Benen:

Turf battles notwithstanding, the more complaints I hear about Panetta at the CIA, the more I find the concerns underwhelming. Feinstein and Rockefeller feel snubbed? Given their recent track record, I don’t much care. The head of the CIA should come from within the agency? At least six recent CIA chiefs didn’t. Panetta doesn’t have a background in national security intelligence? Nonsense, as White House chief of staff and an ISG member, Panetta dealt with the very sensitive intelligence on a daily basis. Indeed, he learned very well precisely how to process intelligence to help the president see the big picture.


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