Oh. Never mind...

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Newsbusters' Kerry Picket tries to suggest that Leon Panetta is a poor choice to head the CIA due to his alleged involvement in "Filegate," one of many 1990s non-scandals relentlessly hyped by the news media (eagerly cheered on by conservative activists like those at the Media Research Center.) But her case contains a slight flaw: Leon Panetta didn't have anything to do with "Filegate."

Picket blasts Panetta's "pathetic excuses in 1996 over why several hundred FBI background reports on American citizens were obtained by Craig Livingston." Panetta apologized for the mistake, calling it "inexcusable" and "a completely honest bureaucratic snafu." Picket angrily denounces that as a "pathetic" and "lame" excuse.

Unfortunately for Picket's case against Panetta, his comments were true. Republican congressional committees and independent counsels (remember Ken Starr?) joined the media in investigating "Filegate," finding that, sure enough, it was an honest mistake.

Picket indignantly concludes:

[WaPo columnist David] Igantius may think a political heavyweight like Panetta will benefit the CIA and the Obama administration, but he fails to mention how Americans can count on Panetta to keep the nation safe.

Bureaucratic blunder or not confidential information was compromised, nonetheless. We are living in a post 9/11 world now. Is this the kind of leadership America really wants in a CIA chief?

Picket apparently doesn't realize that Panetta wasn't White House chief of staff when Craig Livingstone was hired, or when the files were obtained. He was chief of staff in 1996, when the investigations began, which is why he commented on them.

So, to sum up: Leon Panetta wasn't responsible for "Filegate," in which no laws were broken. As a result, Newsbusters' Kerry Picket thinks we can't count on Panetta to keep the nation safe. Got it?

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.