Panetta, Obama,

and the Central

Intelligence Agency

From my facebook status update:

“Leon Panetta has released a new book. I took an interest in reading it because a source on the internet said that Panetta and Obama were scared of the CIA. Sure enough, Panetta was completely controlled by the agency. They even refused to comply with certain decisions he made, openly. They would even tell him what to do! On the few battles Panetta did pick with them, the CIA bypassed him and took their complaints to the White House. Obama would almost always let the CIA have their way! Panetta might as well have bent over and have the CIA prod him with a sharp stick. Given that this is the same agency that assassinated President Kennedy, this sadly shouldn’t be surprising. To this day they refuse to declassify documents as mandated by the President and Congress.”

It’s not like Panetta was some pushover who came out of nowhere. He’s had an illustrious career, starting with being the first person in his family to attend college, graduating Magna Cum Laude, then with a Juris Doctor. Even in high school he became President of the Student Body. He would later go on to become a military intelligence officer in the Army, defied President Nixon after he was appointed by him to head the Civil Rights Office (Nixon essentially didn’t want Panetta to do his job). Panetta retained his job through his superiors who threatened to resign if Nixon fired him. Panetta then went on to become a Congressman where he quickly rose in the ranks through hard work and committee leadership. He was in charge of the US budget under President Clinton. To get the budget passed, you have to work with Congress which was not easy in the 1990’s, and is nearly impossible to do today. Panetta was successful in his tenure there like he was with everything else he ever did in life. He did some of his most serious work with that after he technically left the budget post to become Clinton’s White House Chief of Staff. Veteran political author Nigel Hamilton notes, “Panetta replaced (Mack) McLarty for the rest of Clinton’s first term—and the rest is history. To be a great leader, a modern president must have a great chief of staff—and in Leon Panetta, Clinton got the enforcer he deserved.”
Then he became CIA Director.
Leon Panetta had always been successful in his personal and professional relationships, and was revered by his collegaues. He was affable, positive, and generally happy, but he was also use to being a take-charge leader who enfused high morale in those who worked for him. This was not a man lacking in social skills and insight. He is an overachiever who Presidents lean on for governmental solutions, and was use to his wisdom being the one that prevailed. And yet, having read the chapters on the CIA in his book, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the CIA made Panetta their bitch. And no matter what you may think of Obama, as President he thought highly enough of Leon Panetta to follow up his appointment of him as CIA Director with the even more serious position of Defense Secretary. The US Senate thought highly enough of CIA Director Panetta to vote in favor of him as Secretary of Defense unanimously!
Panetta is no shrinking violet by reputation, and yet he gained no real, civilian control of the CIA under his leadership. Granted, some of this responsibility lies with the President, but don’t you get the feeling that the CIA does what it wants regardless of how weak or strong a Chief Executive is? Is there anyone tough enough to run the CIA? They sure aren’t intimidated by legendary bad ass Jesse Ventura.

Official book link More reading: “The fact of the matter is that Panetta had his own worthy fights to encounter at both the CIA and the Pentagon, but he dodged them all.  He became an immediate and willing captive of the operational culture of the CIA and the military culture of the Pentagon.  … he was never taken seriously by the senior bureaucrats and officers at the CIA and the Pentagon.” – Melvin A. Goodman – “a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and adjunct professor of government at Johns Hopkins University.  His 42-year government career includes tours with the US Army, the CIA, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense.  His most recent books are “The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA” and “National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism Panetta originally pledged to produce a report for public accountability. Once he got going though, the CIA put him in his place. So much so that Panetta was even willing to have an ass made out of himself. What was he more afraid of than losing his reputation? His safety?


18 thoughts on “Panetta, Obama,

  1. Your Logo says, “The Endangered Left”.

    Are you unaware of the falsehood of the Left/Right paradigm engineered by the Hegelian Dialectic?

    I know that is proposing a situation that may take a long conversation to work out an understanding. I just thought I would test the waters here with that question.

    I found this blog through JFKfacts, where you would know me by my real name, Willy Whitten



    1. Hello Willy, and thanks for visiting. I intend to improve the content on this blog over time. The Endangered Left is, to me, a self evident title. The left is endangered in this country. The Democratic party of Kennedy is now the Green party. I can count on one hand how many liberals in Congress are worth a damn.
      It is an amazing age we live in where a Reagan Democrat neoconservative like Obama can be called a Communist and tens of millions believe it.


      1. So, you have indeed embraced the idea that socialism ie collectivism can be what you term “democratic”…Yes?


    2. Awkwardly put, Democratic socialism is a socialist government with a capitalistic economy. It’s basically socialists regulating capitalism. Democratic socialists believe in heavily regulating capitalism. Several European countries are more or less democratic socialist. There are different kinds of socialism, and socialism itself is ill-defined (in my view) because of this.
      As for what I mean by Left, it’s just a political term like left wing, or “the new left”. I don’t mean it like Leftists.


      1. “Democratic socialism is a socialist government with a capitalistic economy.”

        That definition would include the new system in China. Where does ‘democratic’ fit in with “Democratic Socialism” – you just defined socialized capitalism.
        So let me have your definition of “democracy” if you will.


      2. The model that I’m after is Switzerland, not China. You’re right, I didn’t specify enough, but I was talking about socialism in the context of democratic socialism, not totalitarian socialism.
        Democratic socialism is characterized by democracy, a progressive tax based free market economy, wealth distribution, services provided by the public sector, and a heavily regulated private sector.


      3. “Democratic socialism is characterized by democracy, ”

        You have been more specific now, that is good!
        But you have not defined “democracy”, which was in fact my question.
        Can you give it another shot?
        Thanks, Willy \\][//


      4. Sorry, I didn’t see where you asked me to define democracy. When I think of democracy, I think of equal power, equal voice, equal rights. Everyone gets to have their say, and that is how a majority becomes known and acted upon. That’s what it means to me personally. I’m going to decline to give a definition.


      5. It is a difficult question isn’t it?

        It rather demands a subjective answer such as yours. The textbook definitions turn out to be quite incomplete, because it is a deep subject to delve into.
        Therefore there is a general vagueness to the definition of democracy.

        Then there is another aspect to it that few have given thought to. That is the distinction between Forms of government, and the processes or instruments of governance.

        You may recall that the United States under the Federal Constitution established a Republic as the Form of government. This constitution also provided for “democratic” instruments of governance. The major one is the democratic voting process. Generally this is now looked upon as practically the only process that the people hold firm in their minds.

        How familiar are you with the history of the American Revolution? What do you know of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia? Have you read the Federalist papers that promoted the convention?
        Any other comments you wish to make are invited.

        ~Willy \\][//


      6. “How familiar are you with the history of the American Revolution?”

        Average? I don’t know.

        “What do you know of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia?”


        “Have you read the Federalist papers that promoted the convention?”


        I don’t retain information well. Unless I study something over and over again, I don’t retain it, and our early founding is not something that I’ve studied in depth. I haven’t gravitated to it, like I should. I have tried in the past, but I’m not disciplined like that.

        Take this blog. When there is something I want to post about, I study up on it, then write it. I touched on our early founding in an earlier post on my blog, but it was because I had just read up on whatever I was looking for, not because it’s something I still know.

        This blog (and I) have a long way to go … but there are things I’m working hard on, that I sincerely believe will be of benefit to readers.


  2. Let me pose it this way Nominay:

    The Left in its extreme form is usually referred to as “Communism” (World Socialism)

    The Right in its extreme form is usually referred to as “Nazism” (National Socialism)

    Socialism in all its forms are “Collectivist” All forms require an authoritarian State.

    Dispensing with the Labels, what are the practical differences between any of these forms of Collectivist ideologies?

    I would posit that the real struggle is, Collectivism v Unalienable rights of the Individual.


  3. “This blog (and I) have a long way to go … but there are things I’m working hard on, that I sincerely believe will be of benefit to readers.”

    Very good Nominay. I wish you and your studies well.


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