Recent commentaries in the news suggest that Leon Panetta does not necessarily have the ‘correct credentials" to manage the US intelligence community. CNN has trotted out its own photgenic expert from the neo-conservative clique who suggests "his impressive credentials are insufficient to allay the well-founded concerns of senior Democrats and Republicans that he is the wrong man…" with th CNN editors suggesting the "U.S. needs a spy chief with experience."
Let’s put the nomination in historical perspective. Nearly 100% of the financial mess that faces the U.S. today, not to mention the serious credibility image problem the U.S. has overseas, can be attributed to the self-selected community that has managed US intelligence operations for the last 100 years. Any serious historian of U.S. foreign policy is forced to ackowledge the primary role of bankers and their offspring in setting foreign policy, financing covert operations, laundering bribes, and making loans to foreign politicans that were never expected to be paid back. Efforts by Presidents Kennedy and Carter to change this resulted in unhappy results for both. Roosevelt was only allowed to get the New Deal because he traded these bankers their ability to continue their overseas political shennanigans in exchange for their staying out of domestic politics. The role of these bankers, in partnership with their covert operations counterparts, in distorting the money supply and creating the financial distaster of 2008 is well documented.(Note 1) The two largest recipients of bailout funding (Citicorp and AIG) have been long alleged financial laundromats for U.S.covert operations, and have gobbled up 33% ($85 billion) of the bailout funding allocated to date.
This ‘intelligence community’ has not been able to provide its executive management with credible intelligence or advice since its inception. As best the public can tell, they have failed the republic as an advisory institution in every major foreign policy decision of the last fifty years. The intelligence community leadership likes to claim they have been successful, but then immediately qualify the praise by contending they cannot say when or how they were successful "for reasons of national security." They have been saying that since WWII, but revelations forced by the Freedom of Information Act have pretty much shown the opposite to be true. So much so, the last three presidents had to over-ride the FOIA and extend secrecy to documents long overdue for public consumption. The ONLY claim to success they have been able to make in the last half century is the ‘end of the Cold War’ although the public facts seem to suggest to the contrary that either a) the CIA was caught "off guard" by the collapse as the officially sanctioned CIA historians suggest, or b) the end of the Cold War was actually the result of covert bank operations that enriched the bankers and covert operatives. History suggests the end of the Cold War is temporary, and the Bush and Clinton bankers did no more than seriously brutalize an injured bear that is looking for a little payback.(Note 2)
If Panetta can bring a little financial management to the CIA – which he seems emminently qualified to do – maybe he can bring the perspective necessary to the convince the yahoos at Langley, the Pentagon and Wall Street that their covert operations have been the source of the current US economic crisis, and that the greatest enemies of the U.S. Constitution can be found by having them look in a mirror. One cannot expect the regulators (using the term loosely) at the SEC, NASD, FINRA, OCC and other agencies to be forced to turn a blind eye to the illegalities of AIG and Citibank under the guise of national security, and then expect them to hold others institutions accountable. The intelligence wonks have prevented the US from supporting international money-laundering treaties and have fought tooth and nail to prevent financial transparency because that is how they secure their futures-which has little to do with the interests of the republic! The US needs another Stanley Turner, but this time, whoever outs the criminals in the intelligence crowd needs to relentlessly pursue these operatives and put them in jail for a long, long time and ensure they don’t make a comeback like they did after Carter. The two big lessons from Turner’s experience that Panetta should learn: 1) don’t trust anyone from the old school (Turner trusted Carlucci who played him like a fiddle), and 2) prosecute these guys to the full extent of the law, because if you don’t, they will have no second thoughts about coming after you and Obama.