Diana West

That, once upon a time, was your CIA-director-turned Defense secretary-designate at work. Which makes this story of his completely unquestioned rise to national power and responsibility more like a nightmare.

Of course, there's more. Kincaid and Loudon cite Panetta's extremely troubling ties to the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the pro-Soviet, anti-American think thank in Washington, D.C., that never met a communist dictatorship it didn't like. Neither, it seems, did Panetta, who openly supported the IPS (serving on an anniversary fundraising committee) while opposing Ronald Reagan's efforts to bring down the Soviet-supported Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. Indeed, as Kincaid reports, Panetta was in 1984 pulling for normalization of relations with the Sandinistas. The New American's Christian Gomez points out that as a congressman, Panetta wanted to extend most-favored nation trade status to the USSR and Eastern "Bloc" countries. He also voted to cede control of the Panama Canal to the pro-Soviet Panamanian government, and against renewing our defensive treaty with anti-Communist Taiwan. In this late stage of the Cold War, Panetta, to boot, publicly extolled the work of a female constituent with a Soviet front group.

Questions your elected representatives neglected to ask: Does Panetta now consider himself to have been ... duped? Does he believe that he pursued policies placing himself on the wrong side of the Cold War? Should he serve out his tenure at the CIA and begin another one at the Pentagon without anyone bothering to inquire? More important, is he really the right man for this job?

No.

And what should we take away from the whole story?

Our legislative branch is falling asleep on the job over stories that should be giving them -- and us -- night sweats.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).