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Obama Intellience Nominees Lack Experience   January 5th, 2009
Obama seeks style over substance in national security       


More observations...

To this point I haven't been entirely surprised or alarmed by Obama's nominees, given who Obama is. But when it comes to national intelligence it seems rather alarming that Obama is apparently more concerned with style than substance.


President-elect Barack Obama's decision to fill the nation's top intelligence jobs with two men short on direct experience in intelligence gathering surprised the spy community and signaled the Democrat's intention for a clean break from Bush administration policies...

Obama had hoped to send an unequivocal message that controversial administration policies approving harsh interrogations, waterboarding and extraordinary renditions -- the secret transfer of prisoners to other governments with a history of torture -- and warrantless wiretapping are over, said several officials.

But despite an internal list of former and current CIA officials who had impressive administrative credentials, all either worked in intelligence during the Bush administration's development of controversial policies on interrogation and torture or earlier, during the months leading up to the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

So in other words, more-qualified people with direct intelligence experience were passed over for nominees with little experience in the field simply because the more-qualified people had recent work experience which meant they had contact with the Bush administration? Usually "current work experience" is a good thing, especially in a field that can change so quickly as intelligence gathering. But Obama apparently is more concerned with the "message" that his nominees will send than their ability to do the job.

It seems to me that this is worrisome. This could be Obama's equivalent of President Bush's Michael Brown . Michael Brown was Bush's nominee for directory of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. After Hurricane Katrina, Brown was widely criticized by Democrats for not having relevant experience to merit his nomination by Bush, and Bush was widely criticized for having nominated someone without relevant experience.

Now Obama has nominated people to protect our national security through intelligence, and they don't have all that much direct experience in the field. I'm not sure this is a time and place for inexperience.

Considering Democrats blamed Brown and President Bush for perceived failures due to a lack of experience during Katrina, imagine the potential results of a failure in our national intelligence.

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