In his remarks, Leon Panetta noted the presence in the audience of many people he has worked with over the years - including the man who is now the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel worked for Panetta when Panetta was chief of staff in the Clinton White House.
"Rahm Emanuel. Thank you for being here. I taught him everything he knows," Panetta joked, as CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller reports. "On the other hand – if he screws up – it's not my fault."
Panetta is an old Washington hand, having served as a congressman for nearly two decades and in the Clinton administration. His appointment was nonetheless initially criticized because he lacked experience in intelligence gathering.
Panetta pledged to turn the page on the contentious Bush years during his confirmation hearings, but he also said that he will not seek prosecutions for people who participated in the controversial interrogations of foreign detainees, even if they constituted torture.
Panetta was confirmed last Thursday by a voice vote in the Senate.
Before accepting the job as CIA chief, Panetta and his wife, Sylvia, directed the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy based at California State University, Monterey Bay.