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February 11, 2011
Panetta predicts Mubarak exit - via TV reports
The budget for intelligence is unknown but thought to exceed $80 billion. The spooks have an array of high tech gadgets and gizmos to glean the latest information from friend and foe alike, not to mention several hundred operatives spread out across the world whose only job is to figure out what foreign governments are going to do next.
But CIA Director Leon Panetta doesn't need any of that. He told a congressional hearing yesterday that there was a "strong likelihood" President Mubarak would be resigning later in the day. The fact that he got it wrong is important. But what is truly mind blowing about his statement was that it wasn't based on satellite intel, super secret listening devices, HUMINT (human intelligence), or even intercepted transmissions.
Panetta saw it on TV:
CIA Director Leon Panetta helped touch off an avalanche of erroneous expectations Thursday when he testified that there was a "strong likelihood" that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would step down by the end of the day. A few minutes after Panetta testified about his ability to understand media reports, James Clapper made his clueless statements about the Muslim Brotherhood being "largely secular."
Within minutes, senior aides to Panetta sought to tamp down the impact, saying he was merely referring to media reports. But by then, the comments had ricocheted around the Internet, underscoring U.S. confusion about events unfolding in Egypt, as well as the perils of publicly weighing in on such developments while serving as director of CIA.
What in the name of all that is good and holy is going on with our $80 billion + intelligence community?