Archive for the ‘Blair’ Category

Never Wrong? U.S. Intelligence Says Iran Does Not Nave Any Highly Enriched Uranium

March 11, 2009

Didn’t our national security team miss the current global economic, what’s the president call it?  Catastrophe?  Just in the last few weeks, the global economy was added to the president’s daily national security brief: too late.

Now our U.S. intelligence assessment is that Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium. 

“We assess now that Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium,” said Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday.

But what if he’s wrong?  Hasn’t our intelligence community been wrong before?

Did they predict September 11 and the death of 3,000 Americans?

Didn’t the United States invade Iraq based upon a sure national security warning which was wrong?  Didn’t our national security team miss the impending fall of the Soviet Union?

The mistakes made by our national security team have had far reaching impact and have been much more significant in recent times than its successes.

The Times (London) reported today that a former Gitmo prison inmate was again killing U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan.  “The revelation of Rasoul’s return to the battlefield underscores the challenges faced by the Obama administration in carrying out its vow to close Guantanamo, and raises fresh questions about the quality of American intelligence….”

On Iran and its ability to make a nuclear weapon, what if they are wrong?  What will that do to Israel, to world relations and to our national security?

Did our national security team know North Korea had a nuclear bomb?  India?  Pakistan?  Did they know that A.Q. Khan was selling nuclear secrets all over the place?

Did our national security team know that those relesed from Gitmo would end up fighting the United States again?

Pardon me but I take no solace from yesterday’s national security assessment on Iran’s nuclear potential.

I’ll bet Israel doesn’t either….

On March 8, 2009, Israel’s Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, who told the cabinet on Sunday that Iran had “crossed the technological threshold” and that its attainment of  nuclear military capability was now a matter of “incorporating the goal of producing an atomic bomb to its strategy.”

File:Amos Yadlin.jpg
Amos Yadlin

Israeli’s view the possible development of a nuclear weapon in Iran as a life and deth proposition for Israel.  They are not comforted by Iran’s President Ahmadinejad when he says the Holocaust didn’t happen, the Zionist State (Ahmadinejad refuses to say the word “Israel”) is illigitimate and Israel should be removed from the world’s map.  And Israeli’s have been lied to in negotiations so often — and then attacked — that they put little stock in negotiations.

But the new U.S. president is sure he can negotiate for them with Syria, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, even the Taliban.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Israel’s took little comfort in President Obama and in the estimates of his national security team.

And you’ll have to pardon Israel if some there believe that U.S. intelligence may sometimes be politicized.  Obama’s seclection of known anti-Israel advocate Charles Freemanto be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council was proof enough for Israel.

This is life and death stuff in Israel.  It isn’t clear yet that this is life and death to the Obama Administration which is waging war against Rush Limbaugh and eliminating the word terrorism from the government lexicon….

Related:
 Obama’s Next Challenge: Iran, Israel, Russia? It’s Here Now

Obama Policy On Gitmo, Taliban, Afghanistan, Intel: As Stupid as It Gets

Obama’s Anti-Israel, Pro-China Intel Pick Freeman Withdraws

http://libertyjustincase.com/200
9/03/11/prisoner-8/

Losing Terror War? Al Qaeda, Afghanistan, Iran

March 11, 2009
Defense Intelligence Agency chief Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples tells senators during a Capitol Hill hearing that Al Qaeda has resurfaced in a country it was forced to flee seven years ago.
By Greg Miller
Los Angeles Times
March 11, 2009
Reporting from Washington — Al Qaeda has expanded its presence in Afghanistan, taking advantage of the sinking security situation to resurface in the country it was forced to flee seven years ago, the top U.S. military intelligence official testified Tuesday.

Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, described Al Qaeda’s efforts as one of the reasons for the Obama administration’s decision last month to order additional troops to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is no longer the haven for Al Qaeda that it was before the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States. But in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Maples said, “I believe Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan is more significant, although still at a relatively minor scale, than we have seen in the past.”

Maples also cited intelligence indicating that Iran is playing a more active role in supporting a militant group based in Pakistan that is launching attacks against U.S. and Afghan forces.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworl
d/world/la-fg-intel11-2009mar11,0,421
8559.story

Intelligence Officials Testify On National Security Threats 
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Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair, left, and Defense Intelligence Agency chief Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples testify on Capitol Hill at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Maples said Al Qaeda has resurfaced in Afghanistan in a way not seen since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Blair said the U.S. intelligence assessment is that Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium.  Alex Wong / Getty Images

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A progressive Presidency is a terrible thing to waste. It only comes around once every so often. Wouldn’t it be a shame if Americans’ hopes for the Obama Administration were squandered in Afghanistan?

See:
http://nasir-khan.blogspot.com/2009/03/c
an-congress-save-obama-from-afghan.html

Obama Policy On Gitmo, Taliban, Afghanistan, Intel: As Stupid as It Gets

March 10, 2009

President Obama  nominated Charles Freeman for a top intelligence job, even  though Freeman was a well known anti-Isreal guy and very pro-China.

The heat and light of media attention caused Freeman to withdraw.

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/1
0/and-another-one-bites-the-dust-cha
rles-freeman-out/

President Obama has said (A) He wants to close the terrorist prison at Guantanomo Bay Cuba; and (B) He wants to open discussions with the Taliban; and (C) We need to send more troops to Afghanistan.

The president is in the process of sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan and is begging European allies to do the same — even while Joe Biden is saying we are losing the war in Afghanistan.

Bad policy doesn’t help one achieve national goals…..

Well: Here’s a way the president can talk to the Taliban: talk to them at Gitmo before they get free and go to work against the U.S. again…. Then you don’t have to send U.S. troops overseas to kill them.

A former U.S. Marine Corps General Officer told us today, “The only good Taliban is a dead Taliban.”  But if that can’t be achieved, maybe Gitmo is as good as it gets….

Our foreign policy on Gitmo, the Taliban, Afghanistan and (we can no longer say TERRORISM) is about as stupid as government gets….

Who’s to blame?

Did Blair do this?  Panetta?  Rush Limbaugh?  Rahm Emanuel?  Hillary?

Maybe I am too stupid to get this.  Ya think?

Related:
 Obama Throws Britain Under the Bus: Relationship “Reset” and “Regime Change”

http://libertyjustincase.com/2009/0
3/11/prisoner-8/

Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?
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Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama

Czech President Says Obama Views “Unknown” On Key Foreign Policy Issues

White House: U.S. Will Not Shoot North Korean Missile

Obama, State Department, White House Staff, Hillary “Unaware,” “Overwhelmed” by Expectations
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Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

 Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
(Now we can add stupid….)

 

Related:
Guantanamo detainees gloat; say they planned Sept. 11

 Biden: “U.S., West Not Winning In Afghanistan”

Leon Panetta 
Above: Leon Panetta.  Photo by AP

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AP

The Taliban‘s new top operations officer in southern Afghanistan had been a prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, the latest example of a freed detainee who took a militant leadership role and a potential complication for the Obama administration’s efforts to close the prison. U.S. authorities handed over the detainee to the Afghan government, which in turn released him, according to Pentagon and CIA officials.

Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, formerly Guantanamo prisoner No. 008, was among 13 Afghan prisoners released to the Afghan government in December 2007. Rasoul is now known as Mullah Abdullah Zakir, a nom de guerre that Pentagon and intelligence officials say is used by a Taliban leader who is in charge of operations against U.S. and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan.

The officials, who spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to release the information, said Rasoul has joined a growing faction of former Guantanamo prisoners who have rejoined militant groups and taken action against U.S. interests. Pentagon officials have said that as many as 60 former detainees have resurfaced on foreign battlefields.

Pentagon and intelligence officials said Rasoul has emerged as a key militant figure in southern Afghanistan, where violence has been spiking in the last year. Thousands of U.S. troops are preparing to deploy there to fight resurgent Taliban forces.

One intelligence official told the Associated Press that Rasoul’s stated mission is to counter the U.S. troop surge.

Although the militant detainees who have resurfaced were released under the Bush administration, the revelation underscores the Obama administration’s dilemma in moving to close the detention camp at Guantanamo and figuring out what to do with the nearly 250 prisoners who remain there.

In one of his first acts in office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to close the jail next year. The order also convened a task force that will determine how to handle remaining detainees, who could be transferred to other U.S. detention facilities for trial, transferred to foreign nations for legal proceedings or freed.

More than 800 prisoners have been imprisoned at Guantanamo; only a handful have been charged. About 520 Guantanamo detainees have been released from custody or transferred to prisons elsewhere in the world.

A Pentagon tally of the detainees released show that 122 were transferred from Guantanamo in 2007, more than any other year.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009031
0/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/guantanamo_de
tainee_taliban_4

Obama’s Anti-Israel, Pro-China Intel Pick Freeman Withdraws

March 10, 2009

While still a candidate for preident, then Senator Barack Obama had to go an extra mile or two to convince American Jews he was not anti-Israel.  Then he went to Israel and to the wailing wall.

But after he was elected he nominated Charles Freeman for a top intelligence job, even  though Freeman was a well known anti-Isreal guy.

Freeman is also decidedly pro-China…..

China uses naval showdown with U.S. to flex muscle

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News Today from AFP:

A veteran US diplomat and vocal Israel critic, Charles Freeman, has withdrawn from contention for a top US intelligence post, US intelligence director Dennis Blair announced Tuesday.

Freeman “has requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed. Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman?s decision with regret,” Blair’s office said in a statement.

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Obama’s nominations to top jobs (Bill Richardson, Tom Daschle, Tim Geithner) have not all panned out.  But many of the losers once nominated to top government jobs are now gone — thanks due to the Congress, the lame vetting process used by Team Obama and the media including people like Michelle Malkin…..

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/10/a
nd-another-one-bites-the-dust-charle
s-freeman-out/

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Politico

The controversial appointee to chair President Barack Obama’s National Intelligence Council walked away from the job Tuesday as criticism on Capitol Hill escalated.

Charles W. Freeman Jr., the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, had been praised by allies and by the director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, as a brilliant, iconoclastic analyst. Critics said he was too hard on Israel and too soft on China, and blasted him for taking funding from Saudi royals. 

Freeman “requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed,” Blair’s office said in a statement. “Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman’s decision with regret.”

The withdrawal came after Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) grilled Blair at a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing Tuesday. Lieberman cited his “concern” about “statements that [Freeman] has made that appear either to be inclined to lean against Israel or too much in favor of China.”

Read the rest:
http://www.politico.com/news/st
ories/0309/19856.html

A veteran US diplomat and vocal Israel critic, Charles Freeman, ...

Global Unemployment Threat to Stability Worldwide

February 14, 2009

From lawyers in Paris to factory workers in China and bodyguards in Colombia, the ranks of the jobless are swelling rapidly across the globe.

Worldwide job losses from the recession that started in the United States in December 2007 could hit a staggering 50 million by the end of 2009, according to the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency. The slowdown has already claimed 3.6 million American jobs.

NELSON D. SCHWARTZ
The New York Times

High unemployment rates, especially among young workers, have led to protests in countries as varied as Latvia, Chile, Greece, Bulgaria and Iceland and contributed to strikes in Britain and France.

Last month, the government of Iceland, whose economy is expected to contract 10 percent this year, collapsed and the prime minister moved up national elections after weeks of protests by Icelanders angered by soaring unemployment and rising prices.

Just last week, the new United States director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, told Congress that instability caused by the global economic crisis had become the biggest security threat facing the United States, outpacing terrorism.

“Nearly everybody has been caught by surprise at the speed in which unemployment is increasing, and are groping for a response,” said Nicolas Véron, a fellow at Bruegel, a research center in Brussels that focuses on Europe’s role in the global economy.

In emerging economies like those in Eastern Europe, there are fears that growing joblessness might encourage a move away from free-market, pro-Western policies, while in developed countries unemployment could bolster efforts to protect local industries at the expense of global trade.

Indeed, some European stimulus packages, as well one passed Friday in the United States, include protections for domestic companies, increasing the likelihood of protectionist trade battles.

Protectionist measures were an intense matter of discussion as finance ministers from the Group of 7 economies met this weekend in Rome. [Page A16.]

While the number of jobs in the United States has been falling since the end of 2007, the pace of layoffs in Europe, Asia and the developing world has caught up only recently as companies that resisted deep cuts in the past follow the lead of their American counterparts.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15
/business/15global.html?_r=1&hp

Bush Called “Healer” for Africa, HIV, AIDS

January 16, 2009

A legacy of President George W. Bush will be that he saved 10 million lives around the world.

That according to Doctor and Senator Bill Frist.

So many responded with anger and hatred and an anti-Bush visceral response to this article that we did a little (just a little) research.

“I salute President Bush for his leadership in crafting a plan for AIDS relief in Africa and backing it up with funding dedicated to saving lives and preventing the spread of the disease.”

That quote came from President-elect Barack Obama…..

Obama, Others Praise Bush for Work on AIDS, Africa
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/12/01/world.aids.day/
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Related:
“Worst president in American history?”
.
Bush Got A Lot of Things Right: Obama Likely Chief Revisionist

President-elect Barack Obama boards his plane at Washington's ...

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By Bill Frist for CNN

His critics ignore it, but name another president about whom one can say that with such certainty. It is what historians will say a decade from now looking back. Not bad for a president who leaves office with the lowest approval rating in recent memory.

The bottom line is: George Bush is a healer.

First, a surprise proclamation came on January 29, 2003.

I was in the first row in the House chamber when three quarters through his State of the Union address, the president boldly said: “I ask the Congress to commit $15 billion over the next five years … to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean” and “lead the world in sparing innocent people from a plague of nature.”

In this  Sept. 4, 2008 file photo, Bill Frist speaks at the ...

And lead the world we did. No president in history had made such a commitment against a single disease. Those words and the action that followed meant that instead of another 30 million people dying from HIV infections, maybe just another 20 million will.

Later that night in an interview for CNN in my Capitol office, I predicted that five years later, this commitment to fight HIV would be the single most significant thing the president said that night. It was.

But even I — who as physician in Africa had witnessed how this virus was hollowing out societies — did not predict the huge global impact this Bush commitment would have on generations to come.

By Bill Frist
Special to CNN 

Editor’s note: Bill Frist, a physician, is former Republican majority leader of the U.S. Senate and a professor of medicine and business at Vanderbilt University.

US President George W. Bush in Washington, DC, January 13.(AFP/Jim ... 
US President George W. Bush in Washington, DC, January 13.(AFP/Jim Watson)

Read the entire article:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/1
5/frist.bush/index.html

Obama Choice of Panetta At CIA Gaining Support

January 10, 2009

Outgoing CIA Director Michael V. Hayden told employees Friday that his designated successor could learn more from them than the other way around.

“If confirmed by the Senate, he will learn from you about the CIA as it is now, starting with the decisive contributions you make each day to the strength and security of our country,” Mr. Hayden said of nominee Leon Panetta.

President-elect Barack Obama officially announced Friday that Mr. Panetta was his choice to head the CIA and that retired Adm. Dennis Blair would be the director of national intelligence. John O. Brennan will be Mr. Obama’s homeland security adviser and deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism, a post with the title assistant to the president and which is not subject to Senate confirmation.

By Sara Carter
The Washington Times

Michael V. Hayden

Michael V. Hayden

The choice of Mr. Panetta, which was leaked to the press earlier this week, has caused some controversy because he lacks direct experience in the intelligence community.

It provoked sharp criticism from senior Democrats, including the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Dianne Feinstein, of California, who was not informed about the pick in advance. She later recanted her criticism after speaking with Mr. Panetta.

Mr. Hayden, who had made clear his desire to continue in the new administration, told employees, “To facilitate a smooth transition, the president-elect has asked me to stay on until the confirmation process for a new director is complete, and I have agreed.”

He said he and his deputy, Steve Kappes, had met with Mr. Panetta and “came away deeply impressed with his candor and clear commitment to the welfare of the men and women of CIA. It was apparent to us that he is eager to immerse himself in the details of intelligence and espionage.”

Mr. Obama said during his announcement Friday, “We must seamlessly collect, analyze, share and act on information with a sense of urgency.” He said torture would not be an option, and intelligence agencies must not seek information “to suit any ideological agenda” — a slap at the Bush administration’s encouragement of the CIA and other intelligence organizations to seek information supporting the invasion of Iraq.

Leon Panetta 
Above: Leon Panetta.  Photo by AP

Mr. Panetta is known primarily for his budget and managerial expertise. He served in the House from 1977 to 1993 but was not a member of the intelligence committee. From 1993 to 1994, he ran the Office of Management and Budget. He was White House chief of staff from 1994 to 1997. In 2006, he served on the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, which recommended major changes in U.S. policy toward Iraq and the Middle East.

The announcement of the Panetta selection surprised many within the CIA who thought Mr. Hayden would be retained for a number of months and who said Mr. Hayden had boosted morale within the agency.

According to intelligence officers, the attrition rate was nearly 6 percent when Mr. Hayden became director, and in the past two years it has dropped to 4.1 percent, the agency’s lowest rate on record. The rate of resignations is currently 1.8 percent, the officers said.

However, Robert Steele, the author of six books on intelligence and the founding senior civilian of the Marine Corps Intelligence Center, said that “Panetta is actually the first DCI of substance since Bill Casey, the first since Casey who will not be bamboozled by the insiders or bullied by Congress and special interests.”

Mr. Brennan, who was Mr. Obama’s campaign adviser on intelligence, was another candidate for head of the CIA but withdrew his name after some left-leaning bloggers accused him of complicity in crafting interrogation policies for detainees that critics say amounted to torture.

In his new post, however, Mr. Brennan may have more influence over national security than he would have had as CIA chief. The 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act made the agency subservient in many ways to the director of national intelligence for intelligence analysis.

The primary role for the CIA today is its clandestine service, which recruits spies. But the Pentagon in recent years has stepped up both its intelligence gathering and “black” operation capabilities.

While the power balance in the next administration is still to be determined, it’s likely that the national security council will wield more influence than it has under the Bush presidency, when national security advisers failed to reign in warring bureaucratic factions.

John Deutch, CIA director from 1995 to 1996, said it was important to look at Mr. Obama’s intelligence picks as a team.

“You have Blair, Panetta and Brennan. They have a mixture of backgrounds and the mix is unusually strong,” Mr. Deutch said.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan
/10/cias-hayden-impressed-with-panetta/

Obama To Make National Intelligence Nominations Today

January 9, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama will announce Friday that he is naming Leon Panetta as CIA director and Dennis Blair as director of national intelligence, two officials close to the transition told CNN Thursday.

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After a surprisingly heated reaction earlier this week to President-elect Barack Obama’s apparent selection of Leon Panetta as CIA director, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the would-be spy chief appear to have put the matter behind them.

Read the rest:
http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/obama/2009/0
1/08/feinstein-softens-on-obamas-pick-of-panetta-to
-lead-the-cia.html

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Commentary from The Washington Times

The appointment of Adm. Blair, following unprecedented reappointment of Bush administration Defense Secretary Robert Gates, is guaranteed to antagonize many on the political left, Mr. Obama’s initial national base of core support. There is also more general concern about military dominance of intelligence. During the Bush administration, appointment of Gen. Michael Hayden to head the CIA drew some sharp attacks.

As with criticism of Mr. Panetta, this argument ignores history. The first four directors of the Central Intelligence Agency were all senior military officers: Rear Adm. Sidney Souers, Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg, Vice Adm. Roscoe Hillenkoetter, and Gen. Walter Bedell Smith.

Smith, notably successful at CIA, had been chief of staff to Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower during World War II. In retrospect, Ike and his team were remarkably effective in steering the United States through very turbulent Cold War years. Experience in the disciplined milieu of the military translated directly into success in the shadow scenery of the spy.

In tandem, Adm. Blair and Mr. Panetta may be an ideal team to bring effective policy change grounded in essential competence.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200
9/jan/09/surprise-at-the-cia/

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From CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/
01/08/obama.intelligence.jobs/index.html

Europeans Deplore Huge Debts, Spending to Solve Current Economic Crisis

January 8, 2009

The head of Europe‘s biggest economy said Thursday that world leaders should be looking at the massive U.S. deficit and other economic imbalances, not just problems caused by financial markets, as they debate a new global order.

Speaking at a conference in Paris on the future of capitalism, German Chancellor Angela Merkel singled out the American budget deficit and China‘s current account surplus — the difference between exports and imports — as problems upsetting the global economy.

“We would be making an error if we were content to look solely at financial markets,” she said.

She deplored huge debts that governments are accumulating to spend their way out of the present crisis. But she said she recognized, for the moment, that “there is no other possibility.”

By EMMA VANDORE and GREG KELLER, AP Business Writers

French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech at the symposium ... 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech at the symposium ‘New World, New Capitalism’ in Paris Thursday Jan. 8, 2009. Sarkozy and former British prime minister Tony Blair host a conference on the financial crisis focusing on values and development. Sarkozy has hit out at financial speculators for having ‘perverted’ capitalism, which he said Thursday should be overhauled with a new role for governments and moral values.(AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer/Pool)

A Congressional Budget Office report estimates that the U.S. federal budget deficit will hit an unparalleled $1.2 trillion for the 2009 budget year — and that is before President-elect Barack Obama’s sweeping stimulus package is calculated. European governments have agreed to be flexible about budget rules that limit deficits to 3 percent of gross domestic product as recession bites.

Merkel said the International Monetary Fund has not managed to regulate global capitalism, and she called for the creation of an economy body at the United Nations, similar to the Security Council, to judge government policy.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, leading the two-day conference with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, blamed financial speculators for encouraging a system fueled on debt. He called financial capitalism based on speculation “an immoral system” that has “perverted the logic of capitalism.”

“It’s a system where wealth goes to the wealthy, where work is devalued, where production is devalued, where entrepreneurial spirit is devalued,” he said.

 

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090108/
ap_on_bi_ge/eu_france_new_capitalism

Obama: “Utmost Respect” for CIA Choice Leon Panetta

January 6, 2009

Just about 24 hours after the news was released that the President-elect would probably nominate Leon Panetta to head the CIA, Mr. Obama had to defend his choice before reporters this afternoon.

Panetta, a former Congressman from California and Clinton White House Chief of Staff, has already come under fire because he has no intelligence service experience, even on the House Intelligence Committee.

Barack Obama praised Panetta’s management skill and experience and said when he formally announces his intelligence team that anouncement will show balance, skill and experience.

Obama went out of his way to say Panetta as “one of the finest public servants that we’ve had.”

“He brings extraordinary management skills, great political savvy, an impeccable record of integrity,” Obama said, adding — perhaps in answer to grumbling from some members of Congress that Panetta has no direct experience in intelligence-gathering — that “he is somebody who obviously was fully versed in international affairs crisis management, and had to evaluate intelligence consistently on a day-to-day basis.”

Los Angeles Times writers  Greg Miller and Christi Parsons  said, “In choosing Leon E. Panetta to be the next CIA director, President-elect Barack Obama appears to have concluded that a spy chief who understands politics may be better equipped to carry out the incoming administration’s national security agenda than one who understands espionage.”

But despite Panetta’s known political acumen and that of the Obama team, one small detail was left unattended.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who this week begins her tenure as the first female head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she was not consulted on the choice and indicated she might oppose it.

“I was not informed about the selection of Leon Panetta to be the CIA director,” Feinstein said. “My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time.”

Panetta’s lack of “intelligence experience” is probably seen as a good thing by Obama and his advisors.

George Tenet came up through the CIA to become the Director of the CIA team that made the wrong call on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

And Porter Goss, a well respected member of the House Itelligence Committee, went to head the CIA where most said he failed….

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Related:
 Obama’s CIA Pick from “Left Field” Agents Say; President-Elect Wants It That Way

What’s so bad about Panetta?
http://johnmcquaid.com/2009/01/06/whats-
wrong-with-panetta/

Read the Los Angeles Times story:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation
/la-na-obama-cia-panetta6-2009jan06,0,5514283.story

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Read the Huffington Post

There are lessons to be learned from Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s reaction to the nomination of Leon Panetta as CIA head. One is that powerful Democratic Senators can be no less sensitive or arbitrary than their GOP counterparts. Another is that the phrase “intelligence professional” can be used like a mantra without being properly defined for the public. Nevertheless, the appointment of a “politician” to run the CIA is not inherently wrong. It can be a good or bad thing — depending on how it’s done, and by whom.

Read the rest:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/feinstein
panetta-senatori_b_155627.html

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From Politico:

Did the appointment of Panetta — a 70-year-old veteran of the Democratic establishment with a blue-chip name but no record of fresh thinking about intelligence issues — indicate a dearth of creativity and options within the Obama team as time runs out on the transition?

Read more:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090106
/pl_politico/17107_1