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Archive for Wednesday, January 7, 2009

CIA pick unlikely to face Senate challenge

January 7, 2009

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— President-elect Barack Obama had to do a little fence-mending Tuesday with the new Congress controlled by his own party — apologizing to a key Senate Democrat for failing to consult on his decision to name veteran Washington hand Leon Panetta CIA director.

Vice President-elect Joe Biden also branded it a mistake for Obama not to discuss the decision in advance with the incoming Senate Intelligence Committee chair, Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

But despite rumblings of criticism about Panetta’s lack of intelligence experience, his confirmation is not expected to draw strong opposition.

After complaining Monday about the president-elect’s lapse, Feinstein, who will oversee Panetta’s confirmation hearing, said Tuesday that both Obama and Biden had called to reassure her. Feinstein had also questioned Panetta’s lack of grounding in intelligence matters.

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