CIA Chief’s Sleepless Nights

By Evan Harris

Jun 27, 2010 11:09am

Leon Panetta has gone from wonk – as head the House Budget Committee and chief of the Office of Management and Budget – to powerbroker – as President Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff – to spook.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview on “This Week,” host Jake Tapper asked CIA Director Leon Panetta how he was doing in a job quite different from others he has held.

“Well, I didn't realize that I would be making decisions, many decisions about life and death as I do now.  And I don't take those decisions lightly.  Those are difficult decisions,” he said.

But Panetta added that he is inspired by his staff: “the quality of people that work at the CIA are very dedicated and very committed to trying to help save this country and protect this country.  They're not Republicans, they're not Democrats, they're just good Americans trying to do their job and that, I think, is the most rewarding part of being director of the CIA.”

Is there a flip side to that, Tapper asked.

“The flip side is you have to spend an awful lot of time worried about what the hell is going to go on out there and that keeps me up at night,” Panetta said.

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