Leon Paneta, former Clinton White House chief of staff, has been selected by Barack Obama to be the new head of the CIA. Paneta has no experience in the area of secret intelligence and many critics undoubtedly will denounce selecting such an individual to head America’s main spy agency. However, as one reviews the history of the CIA, and its leadership, many questions arise as to the nature of competency. The CIA has been dominated for over forty years by individuals who had the right academic credentials and who supposedly knew what they were doing. But, it was these individuals who missed the downfall of the Soviet Union, misunderstood Saddam Hussein, blundered in Iran and who fouled up all over Latin America, and whose record in Asia is not much better.
During World War II, General “Wild Bill” Donovan headed America’s spy agency, the OSS, and although lacking in any training in the area of espionage, his record matches up against any of those who headed the CIA. Donovan hired prostitutes, baseball players, actors, Socialists, communists, criminals and so on because he believed a spy agency should have a diverse body, not just those who do well in college. Let’s hope Paneta follows the ideas of Donovan over “spy experts” in the CIA.