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Obama has had a hard time finding a prospective CIA chief who isn't tainted by either involvement in Bush's torture regime or who backed Bush's illicit wiretapping.  He rejected California Congressmember Jane Harman because of her approval of the latter.

However, the person he did approve, Leon Panetta, has roused the ire of Harman's powerful friend Dianne Feinstein, who is slated to take over the Senate Intelligence Committee.  It's an ire that may date back to when they were rivals in the 1998 California governor's race.

Meanwhile, Feinstein herself has come under fire for her unintelligent and slavish backing of Bush's decision to invade Iraq -- a decision based on what was soon found to be bogus intelligence.

More after the jump.  Crossposted at Oxdown Gazette.

Meanwhile, Feinstein herself has come under fire for her unintelligent and slavish backing of Bush's decision to invade Iraq -- a decision based on what was soon found to be bogus intelligence:

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Former chief UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter had briefed Senator Feinstein before the 2002 vote, and presented evidence that Iraq had achieved at least qualitative disarmament and could in no way be a threat to U.S. national security. According to Ritter, "I had her look me in the eye and I asked her if she had seen any credible evidence contradicting my conclusions. She said she had not."

Similarly, I was among a number of scholars, arms control analysts, and other <span id="more-2821"></span>constituents who briefed her staff on how -- given the ongoing strict international sanctions imposed on that country and rigorous UN inspections through the end of 1998 -- there was no way for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to have reconstituted his biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons programs. Citing reports from the UN, reputable think tanks, and recognized arms control experts -- as well as articles from respected peer-reviewed academic journals -- we thought we had made a convincing case that Iraq was no longer a threat to the United States or its neighbors.

Despite all this, Senator Feinstein insisted that Iraq somehow remained a "consequential threat" to the national security of the United States and claimed that Iraq still possessed biological and chemical weapons. And, in an effort to defend Bush's call for a U.S. invasion, she tried to discredit the UN inspections regime that had successfully disarmed Iraq by falsely claiming that "arms inspections, alone, will not force disarmament."

Similarly, even though the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency had correctly noted in 1998 that Iraq's nuclear program had been completely eliminated, Feinstein also falsely claimed that Saddam Hussein "is engaged in developing nuclear weapons."

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Feinstein's dig at Leon Panetta is allegedly based in her stated belief that we need an "intelligence professional" at the head of the Central Intelligence Agency.  Yet when several intelligence professionals tried to show her that Bush's planned war on Iraq was based in bogosity, she ignored them.  Then again, she seems to be quite willing to suspend disbelief when it's a Republican president telling her to do so.

Originally posted to Phoenix Woman on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 08:07 AM PST.

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