Panetta hearing has begun; read documents here

As I’d noted Monday, the Senate Intelligence Committee‘s hearing on the confirmation of California’s own Leon Panetta as director of the Central Intelligence Agency is ramping up right now on Capitol Hill.

Read Panetta’s opening statement here; his written answers to pre-hearing questions here; and his written answers to vice-chairman Christopher Bond’s questions here.

From his answer to the second of the committee’s pre-hearing questions:

With respect to the issues of rendition, detention, and interrogation, I draw several lessons from what has happened in recent years. First, what the CIA does in each of these areas must be consistent with U.S. law and treaty obligations. Second, clearer policies and procedures are needed in each of these areas to ensure CIA employees involved in such activities are not put in jeopardy by unclear guidance. The new Executive Orders issued by the President on January 22, 2009 clarify the policies going forward. The Orders also establish special interagency task forces to consider whether further guidance is needed. Lastly, the experience of the past few years indicates the importance of congressional buy-in and involvement on these issues. These are not issues that should be resolved solely by the Executive Branch. It is my strong view that the rendition, detention, and interrogation issues should have been briefed to the full Intelligence Committees in both the House and Senate.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.