All's Well That Ends Well For Those Complicit In Torture
After some damage control by the Obama transition team, Dianne Feinstein emerged satisfied with the choice of Leon Panetta for CIA Director. See if you can read between the lines on this one.
Emerging from a policy luncheon this afternoon, Senator Dianne Feinstein disclosed that she had spoken with Leon Panetta last night, after raising objections earlier this week about his qualifications to become the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Asked whether she planned to support his confirmation now — following telephone conversations initiated by both President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., she said: “I believe all systems are go.”
As far as the oversight made by Obama officials when they did not brief her on the on the selection of Panetta before the news leaked out, she said today: “I don’t really care about that. What I do care about is the agency, and that it faces many issues and it has many problems. And what I do care about is that the White House is given crisp, good, as much as possible factual, intelligence, and it is not what they want to hear necessarily but it is what the agency believes is the truth." [...]
She also noted, after speaking with both Mr. Obama, Mr. Biden and Mr. Panetta, that she believed there was a “high likelihood” that Mr. Panetta would surround himself with those who were knowledgeable about intelligence and had experience in the field. She said she would be meeting with him again next week. Specifically, when asked whether she had received assurances in these discussions that Stephen R. Kappes, the No. 2 at the agency, would remain in the job, the senator pursed her lips and wouldn’t comment directly.
In other words, the price for her support was keeping Stephen Kappes. This was clear from the Times story this morning, where transition officials assured reporters that Kappes would stay on.
While Panetta is a solid choice with all the right enemies (including some of the spooks who don't want to change their ways), Kappes stood mute in the face of torture and rendition and other illegal activities. I guess the Village thinks there's a chance that Kappes will help keep those bodies buried. If Panetta resigns in a year or two because he couldn't fight the institutional barriers, you'll know the reason why. And DiFi will have a big smile on her face.