updated 2/12/2009 8:36:10 PM ET 2009-02-13T01:36:10

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Leon Panetta, former chief of staff in President Bill Clinton's White House, to run the Central Intelligence Agency.

Panetta's nomination sailed through the chamber by a voice vote Thursday night.

The former Democratic congressman from California has no direct intelligence gathering or analysis experience. Obama said he was selected because of his managerial skills and ability to repair the agency's relationship with Congress after two tumultuous Bush terms.

During his confirmation hearings, Panetta said it was time for the agency to move ahead and not to dwell on the harsh treatment of foreign detainees in the previous administration. He won't seek prosecutions of people who participated in such interrogations.

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