Leon Panetta Wikipedia

Leon Panetta
Leon Panetta, official DoD photo portrait, 2011.jpg
Panetta in June 2011
23rd United States Secretary of Defense
In office

July 1, 2011 – February 27, 2013
PresidentBarack Obama
DeputyWilliam Lynn

Ashton Carter
Preceded byRobert Gates
Succeeded byChuck Hagel
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
In office

February 13, 2009 – June 30, 2011
PresidentBarack Obama
DeputyStephen Kappes

Michael Morell
Preceded byMichael Hayden
Succeeded byMichael Morell (Acting)
18th White House Chief of Staff
In office

July 17, 1994 – January 20, 1997
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byMack McLarty
Succeeded byErskine Bowles
29th Director of the Office of Management and Budget
In office

January 21, 1993 – July 17, 1994
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byRichard Darman
Succeeded byAlice Rivlin
Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget
In office

January 3, 1989 – January 21, 1993
Preceded byWilliam H. Gray
Succeeded byMartin Olav Sabo
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives

from California's 17th district
In office

January 3 – 21, 1993
Preceded byCal Dooley
Succeeded bySam Farr
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives

from California's 16th district
In office

January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1993
Preceded byBurt Talcott
Succeeded byDon Edwards
Personal details
BornLeon Edward Panetta

(1938-06-28) June 28, 1938 (age 76)

Monterey, California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (Before 1971)

Democratic (1971–present)
Alma materSanta Clara University
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1964–1966
RankUS-O2 insignia.svg First Lieutenant
AwardsArmy Commendation Medal
Leon Edward Panetta (born June 28, 1938) is an American statesman, lawyer, and professor. He served in the Barack Obama administration as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2009 to 2011 and as Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013. A Democrat, Panetta was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1977 to 1993, served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1994 and as President Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1997. He is the founder of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, served as Distinguished Scholar to Chancellor Charles B. Reed of the California State University System and professor of public policy at Santa Clara University.

In January 2009, President-elect Obama nominated Panetta for the post of CIA Director. Panetta was confirmed by the full Senate in February 2009. As director of the CIA, Panetta oversaw the U.S. military operation that led to Osama bin Laden's death.

On April 28, 2011, Obama announced the nomination of Panetta as Defense Secretary when Robert Gates retired. In June the Senate confirmed Panetta unanimously as Secretary of Defense. He assumed the office on July 1, 2011. David Petraeus took over as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on September 6, 2011.


          Early life, education, and military service

          Leon Panetta was born in Monterey, California, the son of Carmelina Maria and Carmelo Frank Panetta, Italian immigrants from Siderno in Calabria who owned a restaurant in Monterey. He was raised in the Monterey area, and attended Catholic schools San Carlos Grammar School and Carmel Mission School. He continued his education at Monterey High School, a public school where he became involved in student politics, and was a member of the Junior Statesmen of America. As a junior, he was Vice President of the Student Body, and became President of the Student Body as a senior.

          In 1956, he entered Santa Clara University, and in 1960 he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He also received a Juris Doctor in 1963 from the Santa Clara University School of Law. In 1964, he joined the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant, where he served as an officer in Army Military Intelligence. There he received the Army Commendation Medal, and was discharged in 1966 as a First Lieutenant.

          Political career

          Early political career

          Panetta started in politics in 1966 as a legislative assistant to Republican Senator Thomas Kuchel, the United States Senate Minority Whip from California, whom Panetta has called "a tremendous role model".

          In 1969 he became the assistant to Robert H. Finch, Secretary of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare under the Nixon administration. Soon thereafter he was appointed Director of the Office for Civil Rights.

          Panetta chose to enforce civil rights and equal education laws.[citation needed] Secretary Robert Finch and Assistant Secretary John Veneman refused to fire Panetta, threatening to resign if forced to do so.[citation needed] A few weeks later in 1970, Panetta resigned and left Washington to work as Executive Assistant for John Lindsay, the then-Republican Mayor of New York City (Lindsay would switch parties the following year.) He wrote about this experience in his 1971 book Bring Us Together.

          He moved back to Monterey to practice law at Panetta, Thompson & Panetta from 1971 through to 1976.

          U.S. House of Representatives


          1977 Congressional portrait of Panetta.
          Like Lindsay, Panetta switched to the Democratic Party in 1971, because he thought that the Republican Party was moving away from the political center. In 1976, Panetta was elected to the U.S. Congress to represent California's 16th congressional district, unseating incumbent Republican Burt Talcott with 53% of the vote (the 17th district after the 1990 census), and was reelected for nine terms.


          During his time in Congress, his work concentrated mostly on budget issues, civil rights, education, healthcare, agriculture, immigration, and environmental issues, particularly preventing oil drilling off the California coast. He wrote the Hunger Prevention Act (Public Law 100-435) of 1988 and the Fair Employment Practices Resolution. He was the author of legislation establishing the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and legislation providing Medicare coverage for hospice service.

          Budget Committee

          A member of the House Committee on the Budget from 1979 to 1989 — and its chairman from 1989 to 1993 — he played a key role in the 1990 Budget Summit.

          Committee assignments

          His positions included:
          • Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on the Budget
          • Chairman of the Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Domestic Marketing, Consumer Relations, and Nutrition
          • Chairman of the Administration Committee's Subcommittee on Personnel and Police
          • Chairman of the Task Force on Domestic Hunger created by the U.S. House Select Committee on Hunger
          • Vice Chairman of the Caucus of Vietnam-Era Veterans in Congress
          • Member of the President's Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies.

          Director of the Office of Management and Budget

          Though elected to a ninth term, he left the House in 1993 after President Bill Clinton selected him to be Director of the United States Office of Management and Budget. He is credited with developing the budget package that would eventually result in the balanced budget of 1998.

          White House Chief of Staff

          In 1994, President Clinton asked Panetta what was wrong with his administration and was told about the lack of order in the White House. Clinton named Panetta as his new Chief of Staff, replacing Mack McLarty. According to author Nigel Hamilton, "Panetta replaced McLarty for the rest of Clinton's first term—and the rest is history. To be a great leader, a modern president must have a great chief of staff—and in Leon Panetta, Clinton got the enforcer he deserved." On July 17, 1994, he was appointed White House Chief of Staff by Clinton, a position he held until January 20, 1997. He was an important negotiator of the 1996 budget, which was another important step towards balancing the budget.

          Director of the CIA


          Then-President-elect Barack Obama nominated him to the post of Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on January 5, 2009.

          After his selection, journalists and politicians raised concerns about his lack of intelligence experience, aside from his two-year service as a military intelligence officer.

          Washington Post columnist David Ignatius said that Panetta did have tangential exposure to intelligence operations as Director of the OMB and as Chief of Staff for President Clinton, where he "sat in on the daily intelligence briefings as chief of staff, and he reviewed the nation's most secret intelligence-collection and covert-action programs in his previous post as director of the Office of Management and Budget". California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wasn't happy with the Leon Panetta selection:

          “I was not informed about the selection of Leon Panetta to be the CIA Director. I know nothing about this, other than what I’ve read. My position has consistently been that I believe the Agency is best-served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time.”

          Former CIA officer Ishmael Jones stated, that Panetta was a wise choice because of his close personal connection to the President and lack of exposure to the CIA bureaucracy.

          On February 12, 2009, Panetta was confirmed in the full Senate by voice vote.


          Panetta as Director of the CIA.
          Wikisource has original text related to this article:
          Message from the Director: Interrogation Policy and Contracts
          On February 19, 2009, Leon Panetta was sworn in as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency by Vice President Joe Biden before an audience of CIA employees. Panetta reportedly received a "rock star welcome" from his new subordinates.

          In March 2009, Panetta visited India to discuss a host of issues including common strategy on dealing with Islamic extremism and Taliban. This was his first international visit since he assumed office.

          In 2010 Panetta conducted a secret review of enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA during the administration of George W. Bush. The review, which came to be known by 2014 as the "Panetta Review," yielded a series of memoranda that, according to The New York Times, "cast a particularly harsh light" on the Bush-era interrogation program.

          Panetta supported U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, which he identified as the "most effective weapon" against senior Al-Qaeda leadership. These attacks increased significantly under Panetta, with as many as 50 suspected Al-Qaeda militants being killed in May 2009 alone.

          As Director of the CIA, Panetta presided over the operations that led to Osama bin Laden's death on May 1, 2011.

          Secretary of Defense


          Panetta being sworn in as Secretary of Defense.
          On April 28, 2011, President Obama announced the nomination of Panetta as United States Secretary of Defense as a replacement for retiring Secretary Robert Gates. On June 21, 2011, the United States Senate confirmed Panetta in a 100-0 vote. He was sworn in on July 1, 2011.


          One of Panetta's first major acts as Secretary of Defense was to jointly certify with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the military was prepared to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", triggering final repeal after 60 days. In August 2011, Panetta said that deeper cuts in the defense budget risked hollowing out the military and would hamper Pentagon efforts to deal with rising powers such as China, North Korea, and Iran. It was the second day in a row that Panetta issued a public warning to Congress not to go beyond the roughly $400 billion in defense cuts required over the next decade under the debt reduction bill signed by President Barack Obama. "You cannot deal with the size deficits the country is confronting by simply cutting the discretionary side of the budget", he said, referring to defense and other portions of the budget that Congress appropriates annually. "You have got to look at the mandatory side of the budget, which is two-thirds of the federal budget, and you also have to look at revenue."

          Like Robert Gates before him, Panetta has fielded questions from the troops about their entitlements. He has said that future soldiers may see changes in retirement benefits and that healthcare may need reforms to protect care while reining in costs.

          In November 2011, Panetta, speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum, described the United States as confronting "fiscal realities of limited resources" and outlined the future of the United States Armed Forces "that, while smaller, is agile, flexible, deployable and technologically equipped to confront the threats of the future". He also urged other countries to share in the burden of maintaining global security.

          When the debt reduction super-committee did not approve a deficit reduction plan, Panetta said that the "failure of the congressional super-committee to reach an agreement on deficit reduction is a setback for the country's efforts to achieve fiscal responsibility while protecting our national security." He added that "if Congress fails to act over the next year, the Department of Defense will face devastating, automatic, across-the-board cuts that will tear a seam in the nation's defense."

          I join the President in his call for Congress to avoid an easy way out of this crisis ... Congress cannot simply turn off the sequester mechanism, but instead must pass deficit reduction at least equal to the $1.2 trillion it was charged to pass under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

          Leon Panetta with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Rome.
          In January 2012 Panetta, speaking to soldiers at Fort Bliss in Texas, said that the United States is keeping all its options on the table, including military ones with regard to Iran. "Clearly there are those areas that for us are red lines", Panetta said. "Number one, we cannot allow them to develop a nuclear weapon. That's a red line. Number two, we cannot tolerate Iran blocking the Straits of Hormuz." In June 2012, Panetta marked Pride Month by praising the contributions of gay members of the military both before and after the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell".

          In August 2012, on a visit to the Middle East, Panetta said regarding Iran acquiring nuclear weapons that "if they make the decision to proceed with a nuclear weapon ... we have options that we are prepared to implement to ensure that that does not happen." Panetta made the remarks during a visit to an Iron Dome counter-rocket defense system outside the city of Ashkelon together with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Panetta said repeatedly that "all options", including military force, are on the table to stop Iran, should sanctions and diplomacy—the preferred means of persuasion—ultimately fail. He said he still hopes Iran will see that negotiations are the best way out of this crisis.

          In January 2013, Panetta announced that women would soon be allowed to enter all combat jobs in the military, citing an assessment phase in which "each branch of service will examine all its jobs and units not currently integrated and then produce a timetable for integrating them". Infantry and Special Operations would take longer for women to integrate into. It was also stated that if a "specific job or unit should not be open, they can go back to the Secretary and ask for an exemption to the policy, to designate the job or unit as closed".

          Activities outside politics

          Panetta giving his farewell speech to Europe at King's College London in January 2013.
          Panetta and his wife founded the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy in December 1998, where they serve as the Institute's directors. The Institute is located at California State University, Monterey Bay. Panetta was instrumental in creating CSU Monterey Bay by converting Fort Ord, where he was chief of operations and planning of the intelligence section when he was in the army, into the university. Leon & Sylvia Panetta both served on the board of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation, as Distinguished Scholar to the Chancellor of California State University and as Presidential Professor at Santa Clara University. He was urged to consider running for Governor of California during the recall election in 2003, but declined in part because of the short time available to raise money.

          Panetta has long been an advocate for the health of the world's oceans. As a member of Congress from California’s 16th District, he wrote numerous successful acts of Congress to protect the California coast, including legislation creating the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. In 2003, Panetta was named chairman and commissioner of the Pew Oceans Commission, which in 2005 combined with the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy to establish the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative. Panetta now co-chairs the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative with Admiral James D. Watkins, U.S. Navy (Ret.). Panetta continues to pursue his commitment to ocean and marine life issues, serving as a resource for legislators and the media, advocating for ocean reform on behalf of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative as well as other ocean organizations, including the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

          In 2006 he was part of the Iraq Study Group, also known as the Baker Commission.

          In 2009 Panetta delivered the commencement speech to the graduating class at The University of Maryland at College Park, emphasising the importance of public service and leadership.


          Joint Ocean Commission Initiative
          • Commissioner and Co-Chair

          Pew Oceans Commission
          • Commissioner

          Bread for the World
          • Board of Directors

          National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
          • Member of the Board of Directors

          National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management
          • Board of Directors, 2004–2009

          New York Stock Exchange
          • Co-chairman of the Corporate Accountability and Listing Standards Committee
          • Board of Directors since 1997

          Close Up Foundation
          • Board of Directors, Member since 1999

          Connetics Investor Relations
          • Board of Directors since March 2000

          • Co-chairman of the Corporate Accountability and Listing Standards Committee
          • Co-chairman of the Corporate Credibility Advisory practice
          • Member of the International Advisory Board

          Junior Statesmen Foundation Inc.
          • Trustee since 2004

          Public Policy Institute of California
          • Board of Directors since 2007

          In June 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops appointed Panetta to their National Review Board, which was created to look into the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal. This created controversy because of Panetta's pro-choice stands on abortion and other views seen as conflicting with those of the Church.

          Personal life

          Panetta is married to Sylvia Marie Varni, who administered his home district offices during his terms in Congress.

          He and his wife live on his family's twelve-acre (49,000 m²) walnut farm in Carmel Valley, California. They have three sons and six grandchildren. The cost of Panetta's frequent trips home on military flights were a source of controversy during his tenure as Secretary of Defense.


          • 1966 – Army Commendation Medal
          • 1969 – Abraham Lincoln Award, National Education Association
          • 1984 – A. Philip Randolph Award
          • 1988 – Golden Plow Award, American Farm Bureau Federation
          • 1991 – President's Award, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
          • 1991 – Coastal and Ocean Management Award, Coastal Zone Foundation
          • 1993 – Peter Burnett Award for Distinguished Public Service
          • 1995 – Distinguished Public Service Medal, Center for the Study of the Presidency
          • 1997 – Special Achievement Award for Public Service, National Italian American Foundation
          • 2001 – John H. Chafee Coastal Stewardship Award, Coastal America
          • 2002 – Law Alumni Special Achievement Award, Santa Clara University School of Law Alumni Association
          • 2003 – Julius A. Stratton "Champion of the Coast" Award for Coastal Leadership
          • 2005 – Received an honorary Doctorate from University of Wisconsin–Parkside
          • 2005 – Received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Northeastern University
          • 2006 – Paul Peck Award

          Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Panetta )
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