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Steve Kappes to Stay as CIA’s No. 2?

Via Josh Marshall, Mark Mazzetti reports for* *The New York Times that Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) choice for CIA director, Steve Kappes, might remain deputy director as part of a plan to mollify the new chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee ahead of confirmation hearings for President-elect Barack Obama’s reported pick to head the agency, Leon Panetta:

Mr. Obama said Tuesday that Mr. Panetta and other members of the new administration would be “committed to breaking with some of the past practices” that had “tarnished the image” of the United States’ intelligence agencies.

But transition officials said Mr. Obama also intended to keep the C.I.A’s No. 2 official, Stephen R. Kappes, a highly regarded former Marine officer and agency veteran. The transition officials spoke on condition of anonymity about the personnel move, a plan that could help defuse criticism inside the C.I.A. about Mr. Panetta’s own thin background in intelligence.

Yes, that Steve Kappes. As deputy director, Kappes won’t go through any confirmation hearings, so the Abu Omar affair and his role in it — in whatever capacity — will remain incomplete, as will his successes in Libya and elsewhere. Of course, the CIA didn’t tell Mazzetti what Kappes’ own plans for the future are, so this may all be a moot point, but still.

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