NBC News has confirmed that President-elect Barack Obama has chosen former Clinton White House chief of staff Leon Panetta to run the CIA.
Panetta was a surprise pick for the post, with no experience in the intelligence world. An Obama transition official and another Democrat disclosed his nomination on a condition of anonymity since it was not yet public.
Panetta was director of the Office of Management and Budget and a longtime congressman from California.
He served on the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel that released a report at the end of 2006 with dozens of recommendations for the reversing course in the Iraq war.
Panetta currently directs with his wife Sylvia the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy, based at California State University, Monterey Bay a university he helped establish on the site of the former U.S. Army base, Fort Ord.
NBC's Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie contributed to this story.
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