I had wondered why Barack Obama appointed Leon Panetta to be the new Director of the CIA. I’m now thinking that Panetta was put into the position to help Obama ferret out information from the agency in order to get AG Eric Holder to file trumped-up charges against high-ranking members of the Bush administration, including George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, for the supposed “misdeeds” of trying to prevent another terrorist attack following 9/11. Panetta, to his credit, has fought tooth-and-nail against the President, Holder, and the serial liar invested as the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, to protect his charges in what Panetta and the four previous CIA Directors have said was a good faith effort to protect the people of this country. Although Panetta slipped up a bit when he tried to push the idea that the CIA had come up with a program to assassinate Al Qaeda leaders without prior notification of Congress, which ended up being nothing more than a Powerpoint presentation that was never implemented (hence the lack of a need to notify Congress), Panetta has been doing his best to hold his own.
It may be all for naught if, as is stated in this great Wall Street Journal piece by Kimberly Strassel, Obama is setting Panetta up to be the fall guy with Holder’s addition of a prosecutor to look further into the allegations of CIA “torture”. It is all quite unsettling in that Obama has publicly stated that he wants to move towards the future and not relive the past. But with the approval of his policies and his handling of the Presidency ever plummeting, even from his leftwing base, along with what I believe is a secret desire of Obama to really stick it to Bush and Cheney, the President seems to believe this limited overture to allow Holder to further undermine Panetta and the CIA will help Obama at least get back the support of the worst of the moonbats. These would be the so-called “civil libertarians” who say the CIA’s treatment of Al Qaeda monsters Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydeh, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was tantamount to torture, despite the fact that the recent release of a 2004 CIA Inspector General report pretty much showed that the enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) weren’t, generally speaking, torture (there were some abuses, but those have been dealt with), that American lives were saved, and that Congress was fully informed of the EITs, thus proving that Pelosi’s statements from earlier this year indicating that the CIA lies all the time was actually a lie by Pelosi.
Most egregious is that Obama’s and Holder’s war against the CIA is going on while the nation is still at war, and the CIA is supposed to be front and center in gathering the required intelligence to defeat Al Qaeda. Despite Obama’s willingness to keep most of what the Bush administration had put in to fight this war, Obama is slowly working on dismantling those items to further distance himself from his predecessor. It seems to the American people that they don’t know if the government still believes the U.S. is at war, and it is Obama who is leading the effort to confuse us. This lopsided battle the administration is engaged in with the CIA and Panetta is part of that.
I am reminded of Thomas Beckett (hence the title of this post), the Archbishop of Canterbury installed by English King Henry II over 800 years ago. Henry, by all accounts and despite his flaws, was a great king. But, he really fouled up with Beckett. For those who don’t know, Beckett was a cleric and longtime friend of Henry. As was the case with most European kings, Henry was involved in a protracted struggle with the Catholic church over who, the king or the Pope, has authority over the local churches and churchmen. Henry appointed Beckett in the top position of religious authority in England, with Henry thinking he could get his way with his best bud in that job. Like Panetta with Obama, Beckett would have none of it, defending the rights of the church and his churchmen against the encroachments of the king. Things got so bad that Henry, in the presence of four knights, wondered aloud “What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?” (the popular but mistaken quote attributed to Henry was “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”). These knights took matters into their own hands and hacked Beckett to death while the Archbishop was at evening prayers (vespers). Needless to say, the Church didn’t take kindly to having one of their leading people murdered and eventually, Henry served his penance by being publicly flogged by the churchmen he had so demonized. He also had to give up his fight with the Church over control of the English churches.
Being the brilliant politician and leader that Henry was, he knew when he lost, and was publicly contrite about it. Now, I doubt that Obama has it in mind that someone should murder Panetta, and I don’t think Obama deserves to be punished as Henry was. But Obama hasn’t yet figured out how to admit he is wrong here, even privately. His ideology and complete lack of governing experience motivate Obama in his actions instead of prudence and leadership. That works fine when campaigning to win the office of the Presidency, which Obama did by campaigning against President Bush instead of John McCain. But Obama is now the President, not George W. Bush. It’s time Obama figured that out.