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Panetta Takes Hard Line as CIA Director

When Leon Panetta was appointed director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) skeptics wondered how the former congressman, with the only intelligence experience in the military as an officer in the 1960s, could handle the job. Those same critics have been pleased with how aggressive Panetta has been at the helm of the CIA. “I’m from the Show-Me State. He’s done a pretty good job of showing me,” said Senator Chrisotpher S. Bond, an early doubter of Panetta’s ability to lead the CIA.

At the time George W. Bush left office seven predator drones were kept in the air at all times. According to senior intelligence officials the number of intelligence drones will double at the end of this year.  Also, 666 suspected terrorist have been killed by predator drones since 2009 above Pakistan airspace, an increase from the 177 killed from 2004 to 2008. Sources close to Panetta state he does not shrink from using the drones in which he authorizes every strike.

The predator drone strikes have raised criticism from human rights groups that point that point out as many as 117 civilians have also been killed in the strikes. Additionally, the predator drones use is arguably illegally because the killing does not occur on the battlefield. Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s National Security Projects said, “The government’s use of drones to conduct targeted killings raises complicated questions?not only legal questions, but policy and moral questions as well.”

Panetta has also advocated for the CIA by fighting against the release of the “terrorism memos” and refusing to cede control of overseas intelligence gathering to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  

Read More at the Washington Post.


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