Vice President Joe Biden swore in Leon Panetta as CIA director today, reminding employees at the agency that the Obama administration's new strategy in the fight against terrorism and its broader foreign policy cannot work without good information.
"The next four years will be a time of great challenge -- I need not tell any of you this," Biden said, according to remarks released by the White House. "Al Qaeda continues to pose a serious threat to the United States and to our friends. We remain at war in two faraway countries. The global economic situation, as the agency has pointed out, could make the world considerably more unstable. The proliferation of dangerous weapons and technologies threatens our security. New challenges to the established order, such as climate change and other not yet known to us challenges, will emerge."
"In his first few weeks in office, the President has begun to meet these challenges head on," Biden continued. "He ordered the deployment of additional troops to Afghanistan. He ordered a review of the down -- of the drawdown options in Iraq.... [W]e will close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. We will have a single standard across the government for interrogation in armed conflict. And we'll ensure the Red Cross access to all those who are detained in armed conflict.
"This administration's national security strategy will use all the elements of our national power -– our military, which is absolutely essential but not sufficient; our economic; our political; and our cultural and diplomatic tools that exist in the toolbox of any President.
"This strategy cannot succeed, though, without timely, credible and accurate intelligence -- it's the foundation of all we're about to do. It will remain your paramount duty, in my view, to provide such intelligence to the President, the Congress and the military; to protect our fighting men and women and our fellow citizens, who -- to inform -- who are able to make the informed choices about the decisions that we make."
Panetta, himself, a former member of Congress and White House chief of staff, pledged to bring honest leadership and to build relationships with the congressional intelligence committees
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.