Consistency Please, DiFi « The Washington Independent
Eric Kleefeld at TPM has Panetta-skeptic Dianne Feinstein’s statement on Dennis Blair’s impending announcement as Director of National Intelligence-designate. Long story short: she’s pro-Blair.
I met Admiral Blair several years ago in Hawaii, when he headed the Pacific Command, and I found him to be very knowledgeable about national security and global affairs. His experience gives him valuable insight into the many challenges facing the intelligence community and makes him a strong nominee for Director of National Intelligence.
Blair has more experience in intelligence than Panetta does. But not that much more — or, rather, he’s not the intelligence-professional that Feinstein insists should run the CIA. Now, that’s not necessarily inconsistent. The director of national intelligence is a different job than CIA director, and maybe it’s more important to have a professional in the latter job. However, the broad sweep of the DNI job under Mike McConnell has been to adopt some traditional CIA functions. So what’s the difference? Why Blair and not Panetta?
I emailed Feinstein’s office. Let’s see what they say.
BONUS FUN FACT: Remember the controversy about DiFi appearing to back off of her earlier support for re-outlawing torture? Another part of her Blair statement seems designed to lay that to rest:
“Of critical importance to me is that the next DNI deliver on President-elect Barack Obama’s pledges to end the CIA coercive interrogation program, ensure the rule of law is respected, and improve our intelligence collection and analysis capabilities in order to better assess all threats.”