U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, today issued the following statement on President Obama's nominations of CIA Director Leon Panetta to replace Defense Secretary Robert Gates and General David Petraeus, now the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, to replace Panetta as CIA director:
"Leon Panetta may be the most skilled person in government. He came to the CIA at a turbulent time, after a lot of criticism over detention, interrogation and the failure to adequately brief Congress. He has restored order and morale at the Agency and shown himself to be able to handle anything that comes at him.
"The two biggest challenges facing the Department of Defense are the war in Afghanistan and managing the Pentagon during a period of budget reduction. Leon Panetta is well qualified for both -- as CIA Director he is intimately involved in Afghanistan. As a former House Budget Committee Chairman and former OMB Director, he understands budgets. I can't think of a more capable person to take on the challenge of being Secretary of Defense at a time of war, unrest and conflict in the Middle East, an over-stretched military, and the need to rein in Pentagon spending."
"I have enormous respect for General Petraeus, both for his success in Iraq and for agreeing to step down at CENTCOM to replace General McChrystal in Afghanistan. He is clearly a very accomplished officer and familiar with the parts of the world where many of the threats to our security originate.
"In Iraq, at CENTCOM and in Afghanistan, General Petraeus has been a consumer of intelligence and has commanded DoD intelligence resources. But that is a different role than leading the top civilian intelligence agency. I look forward to hearing his vision for the CIA and his plans to make sure the CIA is collecting the type of intelligence that policymakers need."