27 Jan 2009
Former Democratic Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham, recently published an Op-Ed that made a case for Leon Panetta being “right one” to fix the CIA’s problems. Making the call that the CIA needs a proven leader who can revitalize and restore the CIA’s credibility, Senator Graham made this statement:
“Universities selecting new presidents are often advised to choose a leader who reflects where the institution believes itself to be and where it wants to go. President Barack Obama followed that same counsel when he chose Leon Panetta as the new director of the CIA, a battered agency reeling from divisive leadership. The CIA needs a proven leader who can revitalize the agency and restore its credibility.”
There has been plenty of press coverage pointing out issues and challenges that the CIA faces, however, here’s a list that Senator Graham highlighted:
1) First, the CIA has strayed far from its basic mission: human intelligence grounded in the truth – as opposed to being a politicized organization that tells the President “what he wants to hear.”
2) The CIA has lost it’s institutional clout: the CIA director for many years (1947-2004) was supposed to wear a “second hat” as the director of central intelligence – being responsible for the overall direction of the intelligence community. Graham points out that ignoring this second role played a major part in the failures surrounding the 9/11 attacks and our involvement in Iraq.
3) The CIA failed in capture or killing of Osama bin Laden.
It certainly seems that the CIA is at a point where change is needed. What do you all think? Does the CIA require a massive overhaul? A revitalization from new leadership? Or perhaps just some good PR? And, is Panetta the right person to take over as director?