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The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Where’s Tony Lake?

Anita Barnes
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Jan 06, 2009

The congressional antipathy to Leon Panetta’s ascension to CIA director that I reported on yesterday makes the lede of The New York Times’ Panetta story. In addition to incoming Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, The Times’ Mark Mazzetti and Carl Hulse report that outgoing chairman Jay Rockefeller is also a Panetta skeptic. (As my friend Tim Starks at Congressional Quarterly did yesterday afternoon.)

Two things about that. First, according to her statement, Feinstein had her feathers ruffled by Panetta in part because she wasn’t informed about the pick. But of course she wasn’t informed. Hulse and Mazzetti broke news; Obama didn’t announce anything. We can’t really know whether Feinstein would have been informed if Obama had been able to keep to his own timetable, but it stands to reason. But Obama can tamp that concern by credibly saying he would have informed her ahead of an official announcement.

Still — and this is the second thing — Feinstein, like Rockefeller, thinks that the CIA director should be an intelligence professional. (I’m not criticizing them for that, as that’s my personal preference as well.) Feinstein, at least, made her preference clear. That objection is something Obama and Panetta are going to have to overcome: unlike the no-one-told-me argument, it’s a substantive point with policy implications.

Obama has someone who knows what it’s like to face Hill objections when seeking to become CIA director: his adviser Tony Lake, who withdrew his nomination in 1997 after Republicans turned it into a referendum on President Bill Clinton’s foreign policy. If there’s anyone who knows the importance of getting the Senate Intelligence Committee aligned with a nominee ahead of confirmation hearings, it’s Lake. Obama could do worse than dispatching Lake to talk to Feinstein.

Anita Barnes | With over twenty years of professional experience in the design industry, I'm a web designer and front-end web developer. As a small business owner, I am familiar with the difficulties that come with running a business. One of those challenges is creating a strong online presence. One that not only represents your ever-changing brand and personality, but also appeals to your target audience. Throughout my web design career, I've built a distinct design style that emphasizes attention to detail. I assume that less is enough when it comes to design. You don't have to have all the bells and whistles only because you can. It's critical to figure out which elements are essential for getting your message through to your customers – and which ones are unnecessary. I'll assist you in sorting through the choices to see what works best for you.


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