Phew. After the blogger-concocted “Brennan scandal”, it must come as a great relief to Team Obama that the same virtual vetters are wholeheartedly endorsing the president-elect’s choice of Leon Panetta as CIA chief.
Here’s Salon’s Glenn Greenwald recycling his own narrative:
I don’t have any particular thoughts, one way or the other, about Panetta himself, but — particularly in the wake of the Brennan controversy — it does seem clear that the Obama team was serious about avoiding anyone who had any connection at all to the Bush torture, surveillance and detention programs. Not only did they want to avoid anyone with any formal connection, but also anyone who (like Brennan) advocated or supported those programs.
At Harper’s, Scott Horton calls the choices — Panetta and Blair –“not merely good, but inspired”:
[…] Panetta has one other key trait. When he tells the nation and the world that the torture and mistreatment of prisoners and the program of torture by proxy has ended, people will believe him.
It’s not that I disagree. But here’s the thing: neither Greenwald nor Horton, nor any of the other bloggers who doomed John Brennan’s appointment by cherry-picking stuff out of a couple of googled interviews, ever produced a shred of proof that John Brennan was an advocate of anything more than harsh words. And I’m pretty sure they will be equally selective in taking the rap, should Panetta prove a dismal failure.
UPDATE: Here’s an endorsement that should make Greenwald and Horton’s hair stand on end:
The Panetta choice also makes sense to him, said Philip Zelikow, a former counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice […]. ‘The issues of presidential trust and clean hands are, at this moment in history, most important,’ Zelikow said by e-mail. ‘And even an ‘intelligence professional’ would have to rely on others in many ways. … So Obama and his team have made a certain kind of tradeoff.’
You may recall that Zelikow is the guy who, at his friend Condi Rice’s request, wrote the overview of Bush’s “preemptive war” and later served as the Bush mole on the 9/11 Commission.