Leon E. Panetta
Who is he: Leon E. Panetta is the US Secretary of Defense, sworn in July 1, 2011. Previously he was Director of the Central Intelligence Agency for the Obama Administration beginning in February 2009.
Before beginning his CIA stint Panetta spent 10 years co-directing with his wife the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy, based at California State University-Monterey Bay. The Institute is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit center that seeks to "instill in young men and women the virtues and values of public service."
In March 2006, Panetta was chosen as a member of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan committee established at the urging of Congress to conduct an independent assessment of the war in Iraq.
From July 1994 to January 1997, Panetta served as Chief of Staff to President Clinton. Prior to that, Panetta was Director of the Office of Management and Budget, a position that built on his years of work on the House Budget Committee. Panetta represented California's 16th (now 17th) Congressional District from 1977 to 1993, rising to Budget Committee Chairman during his final four years in Congress.
Leon Panetta does not come across as a dynamic person in his media appearances but seems to have impressive bureaucratic skills and proverbial "sharp elbows." His tenure at the CIA was highlighted by the death of Osama bin Laden. A growing number of people in the US and abroad do not believe that bin Laden died on May 1, 2011.
That Leon Panetta proudly lists this as a career accomplishment is more evidence of his "company man" demeanor. Panetta is someone who will willingly step forward to present whatever mythology the ruling Anglo-American power elite wishes to provide. He did it as Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff, and he does it at the CIA.
Background: Early in his career, Leon Edward Panetta served as a Legislative Assistant to Senator Thomas H. Kuchel of California, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Director of the U.S. Office for Civil Rights, and Executive Assistant to Mayor John Lindsay of New York. Panetta also spent five years in private law practice. Panetta served as an Army intelligence officer from 1964 to 1966 and received the Army Commendation Medal.
Panetta holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a law degree, both from Santa Clara University. Panetta was born on 28 June 1938 in Monterey, where his Italian immigrant parents operated a restaurant. Later, they purchased a farm in Carmel Valley, which is still in the family. The Panettas have three grown sons and five grandchildren.
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