Panetta’s Threats

I’m trying to find it, but some weeks back, there was a report of Rahm and Leon Panetta having a very contentious very public meal in DC. Which is what I assume this passage from the ABC story reporting (again) that Panetta may be on his way out at CIA refers to.

According to intelligence officials, Panetta erupted in a tirade last month during a meeting with a senior White House staff member. Panetta was reportedly upset over plans by Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation of allegations that CIA officers broke the law in carrying out certain interrogation techniques that President Obama has termed "torture."

Assuming that the senior staffer was Rahm (always a good guess when tirades are involved), what does that say about the rest of the article (aside from the fact that the description of Panetta using "salty language" without reporting that it was probably a two-way flood of "fucks" suggests some bias)?

The article itself reports three kinds of complaints Panetta has regarding his position:

  • The imminent appointment of a prosecutor to investigate torture and dealing with the Democrats in the House
  • Panetta’s subordinate position with respect to Dennis Blair
  • Panetta’s discomfort with "with some of the operations being carried out by the CIA that he did not know about until he took the job"

Of note, those are unlike things. Panetta’s frustration with the torture investigation and his former colleagues is undoubtedly related. But his pique at being bureaucratically bested by Blair is completely different. And the discomfort about ongoing operations–suggesting he’s less willing to push the limits than the "former top US intelligence official" reporting this complaint is another kind of problem altogether.

In other words, it’s unclear from the reporting whether Panetta’s complaining because he has been too protective of CIA, of his own turf, or of the law. 

Now add that range of complaints in with some of the guarantees from those who might be passing on mere observations or might be attempts to create the reality it claims to observe. In particular, I’m particular intrigued by the report that one of the runners-up to Panetta in getting the position is already being briefed to take over appearing in the same article citing a former high ranking intelligence officer.

"Leon will be leaving," predicted a former top U.S. intelligence official, citing the conflict with Blair. 


Six other current and former senior intelligence officials said they too had been briefed about Panetta’s frustrations in the job, including dealing with his former Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives.

One of the officials said the White House had begun informal discussions with candidates who were runners-up to Panetta in the CIA director selection process last year.

One of the candidates reportedly has begun a series of preparatory briefings.

Is the guy predicting Panetta’s demise the guy getting briefings in preparation for consideration for the job? And is that guy someone like John Brennan?

Someone (perhaps, but not necessarily in addition to the Blackwater-related people pissed at Panetta for briefing Blackwater’s role to Congress) is out to get Panetta. It’s unclear precisely why they’re out to get him.

76 replies
    • emptywheel says:

      I don’t think he coudl do that. Feingold and Durbin are about to push to put limits on warrantless wiretapping and PATRIOT, both of which are to some degree Brennan’s babies. SO his role in the Bush law-breaking should be more prominent going forward, not less.

  1. JimWhite says:

    If it’s Brennan, it’s time to dig out the earlier posts from Glenn, Spencer and EW about him.

    Those civil liberties extremists don’t ever give up. And they know how to Google.

    Panetta might want to increase his personal security detail.

  2. foothillsmike says:

    THere have been some stories of late that a new interrogation unit is being formed that would answer to the White House and operate out of the FBI offices. Is this another smack down of the CIA that could be bothersome to Panetta?

  3. TarheelDem says:

    Sounds like Blair is driving Panetta’s public concern about torture investigations and is not happy that Panetta spilled the beans to the HPSCI. And someone, maybe it’s Brennan and not Rahm wants to start the “he’s going” drumbeat.

    Assmuming that the piece is not by Ceci Connelly.

    Putting the three unlike pieces together sounds like Panetta’s not on board with a coverup of what went on in the CIA. So is the concern that he might go public, informed the relevant Congressional committees, or let Obama know what is going on.

  4. eliotrosewater says:

    Yeah, even U.S. citizens don’t have THAT short of a memory… I think Brennan would be poison for Obama in such a public role. Besides, he’s already got a cozy spot.

  5. Jkat says:

    i’ve said this elsewhere ..but i’ll repeat it here:

    i have no idea what barak obama’s first term is going to look like .. but .. up to now .. rahm emanuel’s first term is sucking scum off the bottom of the cesspool

  6. WilliamOckham says:

    This is fascinating:

    Six other current and former senior intelligence officials said they too had been briefed about Panetta’s frustrations in the job, including dealing with his former Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives.

    Briefed about Panetta’s frustrations? What an odd choice of words. In the world of bureaucracy and spying, briefing has a very particular meaning. It means an official presentation of the topic. What former senior intelligence official(s) would qualify to get a briefing about the current DCIA being pissed off? Obama’s got nobody on the PFIAB, right? Hmm….

  7. Boston1775 says:

    When I read the ABC story, I feel I’m led to believe that the eruption happened “at the White House.”

    So, if I get this right, he erupted twice: at the White House and at a public meal with Rahm?

    Or was the public in “public meal” meant as in quite a few people saw it and were interviewed about it?

    • fatster says:

      I’ve been furiously googling to find that article about the lunch. Unsuccessful so far. I’m wary of relying on my memory, so be forewarned, but I believe the famous expletive-laced lunch between the two took place soon after Panetta’s appointment to CIA. As I recollect the article, Panetta sat quietly, forking food into his mouth, while Rahm, well, acted like Rahm.

  8. BoxTurtle says:

    And if Obama wants to keep the prosecutions from exploding upward, the last thing he wants is a confirmation battle for CIA director AFTER todays OPR report.

    I wonder if Leon is fed up that the CIA worker bees are going to take the fall to protect the political bosses. Or if he’s just pissed at getting the losing end of the bureaucratic stick.

    I doubt Obama will select Brennan. If he needs to get a new director, he’s going to need someone with impeccable credentials. I’d be looking at the deputy directors under Clinton, whomever they were.

    Boturtle (You don’t suppose Rahm wants it, do you? )

    • Mauimom says:

      Boturtle (You don’t suppose Rahm wants it, do you? )

      Those confirmation hearings would be a picnic!!

    • joanneleon says:

      Worker bees vs. bosses — I had a similar thought. I’m thinking about when Pres. Obama visited the CIA and assured them that investigations wouldn’t be targeted at people who were following orders, or whatever it was that he said, but he did seem to assure them.

      Panetta may have been operating on this assumption, gathering allies at the agency. And now, it may turn out that it will be only the worker bees who will be held accountable and not those who designed, ordered and legally justified the torture programs. If any of my assumptions are correct, it would be one explanation why Panetta would be so furious, and why he and Rahm might have a battle about it.

      I do wonder why he and Rahm would allow themselves to have tirades in a public place though. It’s not like they were discussing how to decorate their offices, they were talking about some of the most sensitive subjects possible. Speculation: Did Rahm take him out to dinner and provoke him so that everyone could see why Leon has to go?

      Panetta’s relationship with Congress might be seen as too cozy by others and possibly even his boss. Can’t have him briefing Congress according to the law too often now, can we?

      I did always find Panetta to be a really strange choice for this position. I assumed he was put in there as someone the admin. could trust. But if he is getting the boot, maybe the culture preservation at the agency won again. Is Obama standing behind Panetta or has he been convinced that Panetta has to go too?

      • Jkat says:

        panetta has no intelligence background .. why place a man with zero experience in command of a directly engaged unit in the middle of ongoing hostilities ?? makes no sense at all to me ..

        spooks want to be led by other spooks .. i can’t see panetta inspiring anyone in the clandestine service ..

        • lllphd says:

          i said elsewhere here that it makes perfect sense to me and was comforting to see a civilian in that post. and precisely because spooks don’t want to be commanded by non-spooks. that’s been going on for far too long, and they think they can get away with anything anymore. they need some very serious beating back in that regard. you know, like reporting to congress and all that annoying constitutional legal stuff.

  9. behindthefall says:


    In other words, it’s unclear from the reporting whether Panetta’s reporting because he has been too protective of CIA, of his own turf, or of the law.

    Does that scan, particularly the bolded ‘reporting’? (Were you thinking ‘retiring’?) I don’t see what ‘reporting’ Panetta might be doing.

    In particular, I’m particular intrigued

    (You may want to clean that second ‘particular’ up, too.)

    I’m being too picky, I know; it’s a good post however you look at it.

  10. Jkat says:

    i’ve always wondered .. “why panetta” he has absolutely no hstory i am aware of with things spooky .. or spookiness in general .. and .. further .. had i been consulted in advance i’d have given my opinion of “he’s not up to ths job” ..

    now .. if rahm needs someone in charge of constructing bicycle paths through greenways .. panetta might be his man .. anything more complicated than that .. and imo .. there’s a potential for real problems ..

    • cinnamonape says:

      Panetta ran the spook language camp at Monterey during the VietNam War. It trained all the intelligence services in everything from albanian to Zulu.

  11. Sara says:

    I smell serious push-back from some former senior intelligence officials, and perhaps a few Blackwater types (could be the same folk), who don’t want to see reports made public, and especially don’t want to see any sort of special prosecutor appointed by Holder.

    Panetta’s first concern right now is whether he has the support of currently serving officers — not those who have flown the coop for the delightful dollars and lack of Congressional Oversight of the private sector — which I remind you gets 80% of the CIA program budget.

  12. perris says:

    what’s wrong with this quote?;

    According to intelligence officials, Panetta erupted in a tirade last month during a meeting with a senior White House staff member. Panetta was reportedly upset over plans by Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation of allegations that CIA officers broke the law in carrying out certain interrogation techniques that President Obama has termed “torture.”

    I’ll tell you what, it’s this part;

    “according to intelligence officials”

    that means that’s information they want us to have, or if you will, push information

    • Mary says:

      That part sounds like an effort to shore Panetta up in front of the troops. See guys, he got mad and cussed out the WH guys over what they are doing to *us*

      • Justinajustice says:

        Sounds like a “very contentious public lunch” in DC was staged to provide cover for Panetta upon the appointment of a special torture prosecutor. The head of the CIA and the president’s chief of staff presumably have alternative venues, say inside their own offices, to have lunch and fight. Next will we learn that Panetta and Rahm were seen hanging their dirty underwear next to the Reflecting Pool?

  13. TarheelDem says:

    HuffPo has a piece about this that includes the text of the memo that Panetta has sent out in advance of the release of the IG report.

    It is once again a Panetta disclaimer.

    • phred says:

      Reading Panetta’s letter to employees (posted over at HuffPo), it is difficult to argue that he is inclined to force the CIA to come clean publicly about what they have done in the past. He is in the Look Forward, Not Backward camp, because golly afterall DoJ looked into it already and the CIA took care of things, so everything’s square. A key paragraph follows:

      * The CIA referred allegations of abuse to the Department of Justice for potential prosecution. This Agency made no excuses for behavior, however rare, that went beyond the formal guidelines on counterterrorism. The Department of Justice has had the complete IG report since 2004. Its career prosecutors have examined that document–and other incidents from Iraq and Afghanistan–for legal accountability. They worked carefully and thoroughly, sometimes taking years to decide if prosecution was warranted or not. In one case, the Department obtained a criminal conviction of a CIA contractor. In other instances, after Justice chose not to pursue action in court, the Agency took disciplinary steps of its own.

      See? Everything is all fine now. Move along…

      I would hate to see Panetta replaced with Brennan or one of his ilk. I would not hate to see Panetta replaced by someone who has some shred of regard for the rule of law.

  14. Mary says:

    It’s unclear precisely why they’re out to get him

    It’s kind of like the Iraq war – evil is the real “big tent” party when it comes to diversity.

  15. JimWhite says:

    So, if the OPR report is recommending the re-opening of a dozen cases against interrogators for torture, will there be further discussion of how these cases were originally handled? Were they intentionally sent by someone at a high level in DOJ (Gonzo? Chertoff?) to a prosecutor whom they knew beforehand to be “safe” and that no charges would be filed? Shouldn’t there be action against the prosecutor(s) and whoever sent the cases their way? One or two cases to be re-opened could be glossed over, but a dozen? That screams for further investigation within DOJ (unless it’s also part of the report coming out today?).

  16. MadDog says:

    And just so EW can twit her favorite twitter target, I bring her this via Marc Ambinder (who borrowed it from Shane Harris):

    …1. Most importantly, the executive office of the President has given itself direct operational authority over the interrogations of high-value detainees. A new inter-agency squadron of interrogators, called HIG, will be overseen by an FBI agent working in consultation with counter-terrorism staff at the National Security Council…

    …The White House insists that its role will be “policy only” — but in practice, the distinction between “policy guidance” and “operational guidance” is thin. The HIG will be overseen by John Brennan’s small staff at NSC and will be run out of the Federal Bureau of Investigation…

    (My Bold)

    John-boy’s gonna be the one cracking the whip? Who could’ve known?

    • MadDog says:

      And just for the heckuva it, one might want to consider the HIG being run out of the White House’s National Security Council in combination with Executive Privilege.

      Does this mean that any future interrogations will be privileged information not subject to FOIA or anything else?

      I ask because I can. *g*

      • phred says:

        I agree this elite interrogation team idea is an exceedingly bad one. Are there provisions for Congressional oversight? How ’bout habeus access to the courts? Or is this just Brennan’s wet dream of keeping the torture regime up and running?

  17. Peterr says:

    I wouldn’t read much into a single profanity-laced meal with Rahm. That seems to be his SOP.


    This whole thing smells of conservative pushback. I think you nailed it, Marcy, when your spoke of “attempts to create the reality it claims to observe” around Panetta. How better to muddy the waters around whatever’s in the coming document dump than to create a stir about the CIA director himself? “Never mind that IG report — did you hear that Panetta’s on his way out?!?”

    Pending document dumps always bring out a raft of bright shiny things from those who are distressed that the contents of the documents are about to be revealed. If you can’t stop the release, try to make sure as few people as possible pay attention to it.

  18. Loo Hoo. says:

    Massacre investigation reopened.

    For eight years, the Bush administration obstructed investigations into a massacre carried out in the name of Americans in Dasht-e-Leili, Afghanistan.

    Earlier this month, a representative from Physicians for Human Rights, the group that originally brought the incident to the attention of the Bush White House, met with officials from the new administration, which has reopened the investigation into the incident.

  19. ghostof911 says:

    Rotate them all through and out the door until Langley is an empty shell. Then level it and create a county open space. The place will then finally have some value.

  20. AlchemyToday says:

    Hmmm… or you leak a potential firing of Panetta with his approval and make up a story about a big fight to make Panetta look better w/in the Agency as all of the inevitable stuff that Bush kept avoiding comes to fruition.

  21. timbo says:

    If this ball gets rolling, it’ll be picking up a lot of speed before it hits bottom. Am just imagining the obstruction charges that could be brought against federal prosecutors, former and current, for failing to pursue investigations into the torturing of prisoners. Also the conspiracy investigations that might have to be opened up. This is indeed a can of worms and it is not surprising that some folks might want Pannetta out in the middle of this. The fact is, current DCIA complied with the law when reporting to Congress about the theoretical (??? makes no sense) assassination by contract planning. If anything, DCIA should be commended for bringing this to the attention of the Congress…if not directly to the attention of the American people…at the time. Let’s hope the Obamai have enough cahones to actually prosecute the criminality behind ‘The Bush Years’ thoroughly, especially in this instance…

  22. MadDog says:

    The latest news on the report’s release from the NYT:

    …But Mr. Panetta also said that the agency “takes seriously proper accountability for the past.” The C.I.A. itself, he noted, had commissioned the inspector general’s review, had provided the ensuing report to Congress and had referred abuse allegations to the Justice Department for potential prosecution.

    But with the release of the details (expected between 2:30 and 4 p.m. on Monday)

    (My Bold)

    Caveat emptor!

    Who knows whether the NYT is speaking from knowledge or is just guessing as we’ve all done?

    • MadDog says:

      Oh, and this little juicy bit also on that NYT article:

      …The advice from the Office of Professional Responsibility strengthens Mr. Holder’s hand.

      The recommendation to review the closed cases, in effect renewing the inquiries, centers mainly on allegations of detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Justice Department report is to be made public after classified information is deleted from it

      (My Bold)

      This is the first I’ve seen that the DOJ intends to release this OPR report/recommendation.

      • MadDog says:

        What’s also “curious” about this NYT article, is that they appear to be saying that the OPR report/recommendation I mentioned in my # 40 is one and the same OPR report/recommendation on the DOJ lawyers wrt interrogation/torture:

        …The report by the Justice Department’s ethics office has been under preparation for more than five years, and its critique of legal work on interrogations provoked bitter complaints from Michael B. Mukasey as he was leaving office as the Bush administration’s final attorney general.

        The Justice Department’s report, the most important since Mr. Holder took office, was submitted by Mary Patrice Brown, a veteran Washington federal prosecutor chosen by Mr. Holder to lead the Office of Professional Responsibility earlier this year after its longtime chief, H. Marshall Jarrett, moved to another job in the Justice Department…

        I wonder if the NYT is conflating two different things or this actually is just one OPR report/recommendation?

        • emptywheel says:

          No, I think what happened was that it got finished under Jarrett, went to Yoo and Bradbury and Bybee, then went to Brown for her input, to CIA for a review, and is not back at Brown (or something like that).

          It sounds like the recommendation to reopen cases came from Brown in one of her reviews.

        • Jkat says:

          …The report by the Justice Department’s ethics office has been under preparation for more than five years, and its critique of legal work on interrogations provoked bitter complaints from Michael B. Mukasey as he was leaving office as the Bush administration’s final atasstorney general.

          there ya go ..all fixed ..

  23. Sara says:

    Has anyone heard a peep out of Seymour Hersh recently…I think he more or less started this flow of documentation when he spoke up in his conversation with Walter Mondale at the University of Minnesota last winter.

  24. MadDog says:

    And it didn’t take Repug Senator Kit Bond long to chime in (via The Hill):

    Bond blasts terrorist interrogation unit

    Sen. Kit Bond (Mo.), the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, ripped the Obama administration Monday over its proposal to create an enforcement team to question suspected terrorists…

    …“What does the White House have against Leon Panetta? This bizarre move is a vote of no confidence in not only the terror-fighters who have kept us safe since 9-11 but their very own CIA director,” Bond said in a statement.

    “Chrysler and Citigroup apparently weren’t enough: now the White House is taking over the CIA and how we interrogate Usama bin Laden…”

    …“Even the Democrat’s favorite boogeyman [former Vice President] Dick Cheney did not take over terrorist interrogations,” Bond said.

  25. JasonLeopold says:

    Just breaking. Holder will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate “alleged CIA abuses.” Just came across the wire. No further details other than the headline

      • MadDog says:

        And more:

        …Holder is poised to name John Durham, a career Justice Department prosecutor from Connecticut, to lead the inquiry, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not complete…

        Hey bmaz, it looks like Holder’s gonna trump you. *g*

        • MadDog says:

          And as I’ve said before, this is not about prosecutions, but instead about whether there will be prosecutions:

          …Durham’s mandate, the sources added, will be relatively narrow: to look at whether there is enough evidence to launch a full-scale criminal investigation of current and former CIA personnel who may have broken the law in their dealings with detainees…

          Big difference! An investigation to determine whether there will/should be prosecutions.

          The intent is to assuage the DFHs while never promising anything will ever happen.

        • bmaz says:

          It appears you are already shuffling backwards a little from your @59, but as a response – Holder isn’t giving Durham any open mandate, he is telling him to consider, emphasis on the “consider”, prosecutions against a defined and limited pool of suspects that, to my understanding is twelve or less (at the very most twenty) field level subjects. That is not and wide ranging mandate, that is effectively a regular prosecutorial assignment to an AUSA, which is exactly what Durham is. This is a whitewhash, just like was predicted.

  26. Hugh says:

    Just to throw this into the mix:…..lobal-home

    A NYT story which says Obama has no preference and will let Holder decide about investigations of prisoner abuse involving the CIA. Question: Why has Obama no preference?

    Other observations: Panetta knew going in that Blair was his boss. Blair and Panetta are on the same page re abuse investigations. I would think Panetta would want to get the CIA out of the whole shitpile of interrogations. This isn’t about Rahm. It is a failure of Obama if he can’t get his intelligence team to coordinate effectively with each other.

  27. perris says:

    I’d like to point something out that everyone needs to consider;

    I do not believe the professionals in the cia were on board with the torture program anyway, just like the fbI I think they might have washed their hands of the program

    if that’s true then it’s only team b that was involved and I think most of the cia are gonna be happy when team b gets investigated

    I really wish we could get valery or joe to talk about this but they are obviously restricted from these conversations

  28. drational says:

    IT’S Coming:

    WASHINGTON – A newly declassified CIA report says interrogators threatened to kill the children of a Sept. 11 suspect.

    The document, released Monday by the Justice Department, says one interrogator said a colleague had told Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that if any other attacks happened in the United States, “We’re going to kill your children.”

    Another interrogator allegedly tried to convince a different terror suspect detainee that his mother would be sexually assaulted in front of him — though the interrogator in question denied making such a threat.

  29. JasonLeopold says:

    Holder’s statement on special prosecutor:

    “The Office of Professional Responsibility has now submitted to me its report regarding the Office of Legal Counsel memoranda related to so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. I hope to be able to make as much of that report available as possible after it undergoes a declassification review and other steps. Among other findings, the report recommends that the Department reexamine previous decisions to decline prosecution in several cases related to the interrogation of certain detainees.

    “I have reviewed the OPR report in depth. Moreover, I have closely examined the full, still-classified version of the 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report, as well as other relevant information available to the Department. As a result of my analysis of all of this material, I have concluded that the information known to me warrants opening a preliminary review into whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations. The Department regularly uses preliminary reviews to gather information to determine whether there is sufficient predication to warrant a full investigation of a matter. I want to emphasize that neither the opening of a preliminary review nor, if evidence warrants it, the commencement of a full investigation, means that charges will necessarily follow.

    “Assistant United States Attorney John Durham was appointed in 2008 by then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate the destruction of CIA videotapes of detainee interrogations. During the course of that investigation, Mr. Durham has gained great familiarity with much of the information that is relevant to the matter at hand. Accordingly, I have decided to expand his mandate to encompass this related review. Mr. Durham, who is a career prosecutor with the Department of Justice and who has assembled a strong investigative team of experienced professionals, will recommend to me whether there is sufficient predication for a full investigation into whether the law was violated in connection with the interrogation of certain detainees.

    “There are those who will use my decision to open a preliminary review as a means of broadly criticizing the work of our nation’s intelligence community. I could not disagree more with that view. The men and women in our intelligence community perform an incredibly important service to our nation, and they often do so under difficult and dangerous circumstances. They deserve our respect and gratitude for the work they do. Further, they need to be protected from legal jeopardy when they act in good faith and within the scope of legal guidance. That is why I have made it clear in the past that the Department of Justice will not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees. I want to reiterate that point today, and to underscore the fact that this preliminary review will not focus on those individuals.

    “I share the President’s conviction that as a nation, we must, to the extent possible, look forward and not backward when it comes to issues such as these. While this Department will follow its obligation to take this preliminary step to examine possible violations of law, we will not allow our important work of keeping the American people safe to be sidetracked.

    “I fully realize that my decision to commence this preliminary review will be controversial. As Attorney General, my duty is to examine the facts and to follow the law. In this case, given all of the information currently available, it is clear to me that this review is the only responsible course of action for me to take.”

  30. lllphd says:

    i may have opined on this in a previous comment, but the intrigue here is so transparent. someone definitely has it in for panetta, and if it’s blackwater-related, it may be because he chose to implicate their role to soften the blows coming for the agency. and if it’s blackwater, then it might be hard to find the congressman in question, as a google of “congressman defends blackwater” produces zilch.

    what a completely untenable (er, untenetable?) position panetta is in. i personally think it was wise to put a civilian in charge of the agency, as obama knew full and clear they’re the epitome of an old boys’ club that circles the wagons so they can get away with, well, everything from drug&gun-running to torture and assassination. panetta cannot have known what he was getting himself into, and is likely having the same kind of OMG nightmare reactions eric holder is having in his position. and these positions and reactions both involve the fullest recognition of just how entrenched the moles and monsters are.

    i keep getting that image from catch-22 where yossarian is in that bombed out hull trying to comfort the young airman who’s been hit, but as yossarian reaches around his torso to tuck in the parachute cum blanket, he notices that it’s filled with blood. “there there,” is all he can muster. “there there.”

  31. Phoenix Woman says:

    The ABC story makes it sound like Panetta is pissed at the White House for letting Holder have criminal prosecutions at all:

    According to intelligence officials, Panetta erupted in a tirade last month during a meeting with a senior White House staff member. Panetta was reportedly upset over plans by Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation of allegations that CIA officers broke the law in carrying out certain interrogation techniques that President Obama has termed “torture.”

    • lllphd says:

      yeah, i just keep getting this feeling that panetta is straddling this wicked uncomfortable fence where, on the one side, he takes his job very seriously and feels that in order to save the agency and its important necessities for raison d’etre he’ll have to do some really intense in-house cleanup; and on the other side, he takes his job very seriously and is appalled at how deep the problems and ugliness and filth are and knows this will have to be like some kind of neurosurgery.

      so yeah, it pisses him off that he has to answer to blair and rahm and all the political crapola. not to necessarily defend him, mind you, but altho a huge part of me would be quite happy to see the agency just implode forever, i also recognize that it’s just too dangerous to do such a thing.

      man, i would not want to have any of these blokes’ positions right now, especially after the bush/dicks did such a bangup job of destroying everything that held us together as a democratic republic.

  32. watercarrier4diogenes says:

    KO just spelled out what John Brennan’s ‘career highlights’ under the Bush Admin were in his segment on Brennan’s role in the new torture team at the WH. Now Jane Mayer’s on saying that there’s not likely any way this can stay at the bottom of the food chain, it’ll go all the way to the top.

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