The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Former Congressman Leon Panetta, who served as budget director and chief of staff to President Clinton before being appointed to lead the CIA by Barack Obama, was confirmed in a 100-0 vote by the U.S. Senate today to take over for outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Panetta oversaw the U.S. military operation that captured and killed Osama bin Laden early in May, which no doubt burnished his reputation and helped guarantee his confirmation by a body that refused to even vote on whether a Nobel Prize-wining economist could serve at the Federal Reserve.

He will be the first Democrat to lead the Pentagon since 1997. Panetta will oversee the military when all indications point to the president outlining a substantial drawdown from Afghanistan during a speech Wednesday, reducing forces to their lowest level since the “surge” of late 2009. Nonetheless, roughly double the number of American soldiers will be in that country as when Obama took office, leaving room to his left for a less hawkish candidate–like former Utah Gov. and China Ambassador Jon Huntsman, who has galled the Republican establishment with his calls for relatively rapid withdrawal–to claim the anti-war vote, a bloc that backed the president in 2007 and 2008 because he opposed the Iraq War from the start.

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg during an interview at his office in Lake Mary, Florida

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

ORLANDO, Fla. – Joel Greenberg, Seminole County’s disgraced former tax collector, has agreed to plead guilty to six federal crimes — including sex trafficking of a child — in a deal that calls for him to cooperate with federal investigators, according to a source with knowledge of the agreement. The deal, which will be made official during a Monday morning court hearing Greenberg is required to attend, marks a turning point in the sprawling federal investigation that has roiled Florida politics and reportedly taken aim at Greenberg’s friend and ally U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz. In addition to traffic...

Close