Monday, January 05, 2009

Panetta's CIA Think Tank?

Has Leon Panetta been connected to intelligence activities for years? Are the media overlooking the visible hints?

Panetta is President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for the Director of the Center of Intelligence Agency. People are acting shocked.

But is Panetta closely linked to having perhaps set up a military-intelligence university think tank in California?

Panetta's visible biography is well-known.

His seemingly military-related experience seems thin (but don't be fooled). In 1964, Panetta joined the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant. There he received the Army Commendation Medal, and was discharged in 1966 as a Captain. He was a Congressman from 1976-1993. While a member of Congress, he was Vice Chairman of the Caucus of Vietnam-Era Veterans in Congress, but he does not seem to be credited as being a member of any intelligence oversight subcommittees. On July 17, 1994, Panetta was appointed White House Chief of Staff by Clinton, a position he held until January 20, 1997. In 2006, he was part of the Iraq Study Group, also known as the Baker Commission.

No one denies that Leon Panetta is a member of the secretive Trilateral Commission. What other things has he done, quietly?

How well is it known that Panetta was involved in the planning and converting of the former military base of Fort Ord in California into "Panetta's University" and more?

Few realize that Panetta was instrumental in starting the California State University – Monterey Bay (CSUMB). Or that CSU Chancellor Munoz favored a different name for the location, the University of Fort Ord, which would have had the intriguing acronym, UFO.

But is what remains, around the edges at Fort Ord, a military secret of some import, thanks to Leon Panetta? What does the Panetta Institute really do? It certainly seems like it is often used as a CIA think-tank.

Interesting reading, furthermore, can by found in an article entitled "The Countdown to 9-11":

Let us get a firm grip on [what] we do know, so that when fresh facts arise we may be ready to fit them into their places.
~ Sherlock Holmes
The Devil’s Foot

Fort Ord takes its name for General Edward Otho Cresap Ord, whose military career spanned 1839 to 1881. Gen. E. O. C. Ord acquired for $40 the marble topped table, present when Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee met with Gen. U. S. Grant at Appomattox Court House. The small wooden table, not to be confused with Gen. Ord’s table, went to Gen. Sheridan for $20, who gave it to “boy wonder” Gen. George Armstrong Custer. Today, that table rests in the National Museum of American History, Washington, DC. Whereas the marble topped table resides in the Chicago Historical Society’s Civil War Room. Controversy over which table sat Grant, and which sat Lee continues––but it is certain one of the signatures to the surrender terms was signed on Gen. Ord’s table. No word yet as to the disposition of the desk upon which Bill Clinton signed-off on his political career.

Leon Panetta, however, has offices and archives his congressional record on Fort Ord. He received $1,400 per day as an educational consultant, $350,000 from incoming CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, for startup costs and salaries for the “bipartisan” Leon Panetta Institute for Public Policy, plus $50,000 in “materials” from Vermont gubernatorial hopeful, Peter P. Smith. According to the Otter Realm, CSUMB’s fledgling newspaper (sea otter: school mascot), the Panetta Institute also sought a permanent endowment of $10 million-dollars. Panetta to Otter Realm, “It is important for people to feel the reward of service.”


Little did the graduating seniors realize the event Panetta referenced at the first class graduation was a precursor. The incident he talked about had happened on September 11, 1994 (see the story of Frank Eugene Corder, pages ix-x in The Copycat Effect)!

In May 1997, CSUMB held its first commencement....Leon Panetta...gave the Seniors who stayed the course short shrift––but recounted the White House incident, in which a small plane crash-landed on the East Lawn during the predawn hours. Leon Panetta asked his startled staff, presumably by telephone, “Has anybody done anything yet?” Panetta pounded the podium. Without alluding to the specific protocols for such an event, his message to the gowned captives under the rent-a-tent: “Get it done.”


Today, California State University, Monterey Bay, is a small public university in the California State University system on the site of the former Fort Ord, on the Central Coast of California. CSUMB was founded in 1994 with a student enrollment of 654 students. As of 2007 the university had 4,080 students and 141 full-time faculty members.

In June 2006, Ed Salven, one of Ft. Ord's veterans from the Vietnam era, published a book, The Soldier Factory, chronicling his personal history as a soldier, and reflecting upon a return visit to the Fort in the late 1990s. Along with poetic reflections, the book includes color reproductions of paintings of soldiers that Salven found hung from barracks' windows as he explored the grounds, rendered by students from California State University, Monterey Bay.

An annual "Secrets of Fort Ord" tour is given, beginning from the campus of CSUMB. Locations are reached by bus, and the tour takes approximately two hours. Though much of the fort appears abandoned, "tourists" learn otherwise upon seeing the buildings in full use with soldiers in training within the broken down buildings. Much of the tour takes place beyond public reach, behind closed off limits. Some places are only viewable from the outside, though, such as the former prison, recently used for paintballing and now housing a concrete works and other industry.

A small portion of Ft. Ord remains under Army control and is now called the Presidio of Monterey Annex. It includes the Ord Military Community, California National Guard posts, the DoD Center, and the gunnery ranges.

The military still has a presence at Fort Ord, in the form of several California Army National Guard units, facilities administrated by the Presidio of Monterey, and the continued operation of the base PX and Commissary to cater for retirees who chose to settle in the area and are entitled to shop at such facilities. Management of the military housing has been outsourced to private firms, but the homes are still occupied by personnel stationed at the Presidio of Monterey and Naval Postgraduate School and retired military members. Ft. Ord's housing, PX, chapel, and Commissary are now called Ord Military Community.

What is really going on at Fort Ord? And how important was Panetta's involvement in the development of "his" university in keeping all of this out of the limelight?

Why should we be surprised that Leon Panetta is going to be the Director of the CIA?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I still don't see his experience in Inelligence. He may have been responsible for the facility, it does not mean that he has experience in any intelligence being discussed in the building. Being in the military 45 years ago for a few years does not qualify someone for running the CIA. Panetta is not the man for the job.

Loren Coleman said...

I think you are missing the point of the posting, and the way CIA think tanks are run.

I am not here to debate his qualifications, especially because we don't know what he's been doing. That's the whole genius of being a spook.

JT said...

The entire Monterey area is composed of institutions that are geared towards training in intelligence and Panetta has been involved in all of them. The Monterey Institute, Naval Postgraduate School, the Army Defense Language Institute and now Cal State Monterey Bay. It makes absolute perfect sense to appoint Panetta to Director--a good portion of MIIS and DLI Graduates are working at the higher ranks of the intelligence community and there is a lot on knowledge transfer and exchange of information happening between these different schools-information that also plays a big influence on political decisions and intelligence operations in Washington. IE-The MIIS Center for Non-proliferation played a critical role in the Strategic Arms reduction treaties with the Soviet Union. IE-Special Ops get language training at DLI