The appointment of Leon Panetta to run the CIA in the Obama administration has sent shock waves through the US intelligence community.
Panetta, who was Chief of Staff in the Clinton White House, is a budget hawk who in the past has argued for tougher control of intelligence spending. At the same time, he has been a fierce critic of the CIA’s campaign of kidnapping, assassination, torture and warrantless wiretapping, which was authorized under the Bush administration.
For decades, the CIA has fiercely resisted outsiders being imposed on its clandestine and insular world. The last two outsiders to run the CIA, Admiral Stansfield Turner and John Deutch, were widely considered failures, and CIA professionals argue that Panetta, who lacks any intelligence experience, will find the job exceptionally challenging.