One of the few things I have agreed with Dick Cheney about is the wisdom of using a scalpel rather than a truncheon:
The stepped-up drone strikes, Panetta’s opposition to the release of information about CIA interrogation practices, and his resistance to greater oversight of the agency by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) have prompted criticism that he is a thrall of the agency’s old guard. In the meantime, the strikes have begun to draw greater scrutiny, with watchdog groups demanding to know more about how they are carried out and the legal reasoning behind the killings.
In an interview Wednesday at CIA headquarters, Panetta refused to directly address the matter of Predator strikes, in keeping with the agency’s long-standing practice of shielding its actions in Pakistan from public view. But he said that U.S. counterterrorism policies in the country are legal and highly effective, and that he is acutely aware of the gravity of some of the decisions thrust upon him.
Panetta may resemble the Company’s old guard, but it’s hard to argue that the organization isn’t stronger under his leadership. Were I to have one wish, it would be that the tension between the DCI and the DNI come to a head and be resolved once and for all.