Following up on Patrick’s post, Slate’s Fred Kaplan offers a reasoned defense of the Panetta choice. The difficult trade-offs seem clearly to have delayed the pick – and the roll-out was uncharacteristically bumpy, but the transition seems committed to calming the waters. In an important steo (and consistent with Patrick’s thought) the transition is signaling  it will retain the C.I.A Deputy Director Stephen Kappes. An agency veteran, Kappes was pushed out during the Goss era and returned to the CIA under Director Hayden. His returned was widely viewed as a boost to badly-damaged morale at CIA. Here’s what the Post wrote in 2006 about the return of Kappes to CIA:

Stephen R. Kappes, a legendary CIA clandestine operative, will become as soon as today the No. 2 at the agency in a move that CIA Director Michael V. Hayden hopes will lift morale there. Kappes’s top priority will be to help rebuild the agency’s human intelligence capabilities when the United States needs spies within the jihadist community and elsewhere.

Kappes, who speaks Russian and Farsi, is a former Marine whose almost 25 years at the CIA included being station chief in Moscow and Kuwait and running operations against Iran. He returns to an agency whose clandestine service has been shaken by retirements and the resignations of senior-level case officers with years of experience in recruiting agents overseas.

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