|February 13, 2009|
|Preceded by||Michael Hayden|
|July 17, 1994 – January 20, 1997|
|Preceeded By||Mack McLarty|
|Succeeded By||Erskine Bowles|
|January 21, 1993 – October 1994|
|Preceeded By||Cal Dooley|
|Succeeded By||Sam Farr|
|January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1993|
|Preceeded By||Burt L. Talcott|
|Succeeded By||Don Edwards|
|Born||June 28, 1938
Leon Edward Panetta (born June 28, 1938) is the current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. An American Democratic politician, lawyer, and professor, Panetta served as President Bill Clinton's White House Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1997 and was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1977 to 1993. He is the founder and director of the Panetta Institute, served as Distinguished Scholar to Chancellor Charles B. Reed of the California State University System and professor of public policy at Santa Clara University. In January 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Panetta for the post of CIA Director; he was confirmed by the full Senate on February 12, 2009, and assumed the office the next day.
Panetta started in politics in 1966 as a legislative assistant to Republican Senator Thomas Kuchel, the United States Senate Minority Whip from California, whom Panetta has called "a tremendous role model".
In 1969 he became the assistant to Robert H. Finch, Secretary of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare under the Nixon administration. Soon thereafter he was appointed Director of the Office for Civil Rights.
Panetta chose to enforce civil rights and equal education laws, even under alleged political pressure not to from then-president Nixon. Robert Mardian said of Panetta: "Doesn't he understand Nixon promised the Southern delegates he would stop enforcing the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts?". Secretary Robert Finch and Assistant Secretary John Veneman refused to fire Panetta, threatening to resign if forced to do so. A few weeks later in 1970, Panetta resigned and left Washington to work as Executive Assistant for John Lindsay, the Republican Mayor of New York City. He wrote about this experience in his 1971 book Bring Us Together: The Nixon Team and the Civil Rights Retreat.
He moved back to Monterey to practice law at Panetta, Thompson & Panetta from 1971 through to 1976.