This morning’s Washington Post tells us far more than it intends: 
As a top official at the White House  in 1996, Richard A. Clarke  was looking for an ally after concluding that the CIA  and FBI  needed an additional $1 billion for counterterrorism programs. Officials at the Office of Management of Budget were dismissive of the request, so Clarke sought an audience with Chief of Staff Leon E. Panetta .
Clarke said he made his case to Panetta, who queried him closely about the need for the funds and whether the agencies were prepared to spend them. As Clarke recalled yesterday, Panetta then gave the go-ahead for the initiative, disappointing a large retinue of hostile budget officials who had gathered in the chief’s spacious West Wing office expecting the onetime budget director to skewer Clarke.
“He was in the small handful of people who knew there was a terrorism problem long before anybody else had heard of al-Qaeda ,” Clarke said of Panetta.
Interesting, then, that that information wasn’t transmitted to the incoming Bush administration in any substantial way. Of course, Panetta was gone years before Bush came on the scene. One must wonder if Mr Panetta’s early exit involved misgivings on the part of the Clintons regarding his trumpeting the terrorism situation as he knew it. Certainly, the Clintons didn’t publicly make much of terrorism following his departure in 1997. The suddden drop off in information coming out of the White House in those years, in retrospect does seem to mesh rather nicely with Panetta’s departure.
All that to one side, the piece in the Post this morning, seems to be trying to sell the reader on Panetta as a good pick for CIA. They call it a ‘report’ I call it a ‘sales job’. Given the locus of the paper, it’s a fair bet that an article like this has as it’s target, Congresscritters. The implications of that point, particularly as regards who had input to the story, I’ll leave to you.
In a broader sense, I’ll tell you what we have in Panetta; Someone who is used to the idea of being subserviant to the Clintons. Given the relationship of the CIA and the State Dept, particularly as regards handling of intel, and given Clinton’s history with classified matters (Can you say 900 FBI files? -Ed) it doesn’t take a great genius to figure out what will be happening there. Indeed, what chatter I’m getting from inside the agency (Indirectly) reflects that rather grave concern. If I’m in the CIA, I’m looking for the exit, just now.
My take is that this is a pick that Obama had not thought all the way through… or if he did, that the consequences of not making that pick were higher than making it and putting up with fellow Democrats publicly bitching about it.
What consequences? Well, I suggest that Panetta was Hillary Clinton’s pick for the post, and not Obama’s per se’. If you’ll recall, I asked here a couple months ago, what all the negotiation between Clinton and Obama was about… Clearly, both Clinton and Obama were laying out their conditions…I’ve started to think Panetta at CIA was one of Clinton’s conditions. Given the way this appointment was publicly (mis)handled and the way Obama’s usual processes were bypassed, it makes far more sense than it being a whim appointment on Obama’s part. He’s many things most of them deplorable, but Obama’s simply not that stupid. I suggest Panetta was rammed through because of Hillary Clinton and her preconditions. It’s exactly why Obama is not suffering the debate over Panetta’s appointment well, and went so far out of his way to cut off debate on the issue, to the point of not informaing the Intel comittee leaders in either house… members of his own party.
Is anyone detecting the pattern, here, I wonder? These are all people Clinton has worked with in the past, and clearly has some personal sway with today, and all of them in key positions.
OK, admittedly,this is speculation. But it does fit the known facts, and I doubt that even a lot of Democrats would put it past Hillary Clinton.