In another hitch to the Obama transition following Bill Richardson's withdrawal from the Commerce Secretary post, word leaked today that Bill Clinton's former chief of staff Leon Ponetta has been tapped as CIA director.
CBS News chief political consultant Marc Ambinder reports that the Obama team had planned to announce the selection later this week, but someone close to Panetta revealed he had been tapped for the job before Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the new chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was told.
Feinstein wasn't happy about the timing and expressed her exasperation publicly.
"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," she said. "My position has consistently been that I believe the Agency is best-served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time."
Feinstein affirmed to CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer that she had felt blindsided by the announcement.
"She had no hint it was coming, and she thought the office deserved a professional intelligence person," Schieffer said. "She told me she's not saying she won't vote against him, but it will be an uphill battle now to get him confirmed."
According to Schieffer, CIA Director was not Panetta's first choice of jobs in the Obama administration.
"He's been telling his friends the job he wanted was the one Richardson has just gotten out of, Secretary of Commerce," Schieffer said.
Watch Schieffer's appperance on the "CBS Evening News" below:
A former senior CIA official who now advises Obama defended the choice of Panetta, who lacks direct intelligence experience beyond a short stint during the 1960s as a U.S. Army lieutenant, The Associated Press reports. The official pointed to Panetta's involvement in CIA intelligence, which he got a taste of as White House chief of staff.