Intel Inside

By John Liang / February 11, 2009 at 5:00 AM

This just in from the Senate Select Intelligence Committee:

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Christopher (Kit) Bond (R-Mo.), vice chairman of the committee, announced that the committee has approved the nomination of Leon Panetta to be the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

“Leon Panetta will mark a new beginning for the CIA as its next Director. He has the integrity, the drive and the judgment to ensure that the CIA fulfills its mission of producing information critical to our national security, without sacrificing our national values,” Senator Feinstein said.

“He has promised the Senate Intelligence Committee that he will not allow coercive interrogation practices, secret prisons, or the transfer of terrorist suspects to countries that may use torture. And he has pledged to surround himself with career professionals, to keep Congress fully and currently informed, and to give the President unvarnished, independent advice. I am confident that the President and the nation will be well-served by Mr. Panetta as our next CIA Director.”

“I have supported Mr. Panetta after receiving his assurances that he will lean forward in the fight against terrorism to keep our nation safe,” Senator Bond said. “He has committed to using all appropriate and lawful means to do so, including the use of contract employees when the agency does not have a qualified government employee to perform the job, exploring the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on high-value detainees that may warrant going beyond the Army Field Manual in certain situations, and the lawful rendition of detainees to countries who have assured our State Department that they will not engage in torture.”

Panetta’s confirmation in the full Senate is expected to take place "as soon as possible," according to Feinstein's and Bond's joint statement.