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by Chuck DeVore | Irvine On Monday, January 5, President-elect Obama selected former Cong. Leon Panetta to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Panetta's chief qualification is his utter lack of intelligence experience - meaning that he has not been involved with any of the intelligence activities in the past 7 years that have kept America safe. This makes him an acceptable candidate to the anti-war left. Obama's first choice to head the 20,000 person, $10 billion spy agency was John Brennan, a former top CIA officer with 25 years of experience, including time as a station chief in Saudi Arabia. Brennan was a leader of Obama's intelligence transition team. Obama pulled the plug on Brennan after an uproar from leftwing bloggers that he took his serious job too seriously. The current Director of the CIA, retired USAF General Michael Hayden, was head of the code-breaking National Security Agency (NSA) for six years before being named the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence for a year. With complete understanding of her Constitutional role to provide "Advice and Consent" in approving a president's cabinet picks, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the incoming chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, expressed strong reservations about Cong. Panetta. Sen. Feinstein said, "I was not informed about the selection of Leon Panetta to be the CIA director... My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time." Indeed. With America still engaged in fighting a dangerous foe, one who killed 3,000 people that dark September day in 2001, we need an experienced and steady hand at the CIA. In contradistinction to Sen. Feinstein's sobriety regarding a vital national security position, California's junior U.S. Senator, Barbara Boxer, enthused over the choice of Panetta, saying Obama has, "...picked the right person." Time will tell. If Sen. Barbara Boxer votes to confirm Cong. Panetta to be the new CIA Director, and he wins confirmation, a large portion of America's safety will be the responsibility of a man possessing no intelligence and foreign policy experience. CRO Chuck DeVore represents 450,000 people in the California State Assembly in coastal Orange County. He retired from the Army National Guard as a lieutenant colonel. From 1986 to 1988 he was a Reagan White House appointee in the Pentagon. DeVore co-authored China Attacks with Steven Mosher. The book was translated into Chinese for sale in Taiwan. See: www.ChuckDeVore.com.

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