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Leon Panetta confirmed as CIA director

The former California congressman has said prosecutions would not be sought for CIA officers who participated in harsh interrogations.

February 13, 2009|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Leon E. Panetta as director of the CIA on Thursday, placing the spy agency in the hands of a government veteran valued for his skills as a lawmaker and policy manager rather than an expert at intelligence-gathering and analysis.

Approval came by voice vote.

During confirmation hearings, Panetta told senators that the Obama administration would not prosecute CIA officers who participated in harsh interrogations even if it constituted torture as long as officers did not go beyond their instructions. But he would not say whether charges would be sought against those who authorized the treatment.

Panetta, 70, represented California's 16th District in the U.S. House from 1977-1993. He also served in the Clinton administration.

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