Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenGOP senator blocks Schumer resolution aimed at Biden probe as tensions run high Republican Senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal Hillicon Valley: TikTok, Oracle seek Trump's approval as clock winds down | Hackers arrested for allegedly defacing U.S. websites after death of Iranian general | 400K people register to vote on Snapchat MORE (D-Ore.) promised a tough "grilling" of CIA Director nominee Leon Panetta, but said people will realize the former Clinton chief of staff is qualified for the position.

Wyden, a member of the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence, confirmed to liberal blogger Ezra Klein that he had spoken to President-elect Barack Obama's transition team about the Panetta pick, while defending the nomination.

"One part that is public is the confirmation hearing, and you can be sure, given the events of the past 24 hours, that there will be a serious grilling of the nominee," Wyden said. "I think, on the basis of knowing Leon Panetta for many years, when the Committee doors close, people will be saying that Leon Panetta is qualified for this job."

The nomination had been castigated in part by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee who said that she had not been consulted on Panetta's designation to head the intelligence agency.

"George H.W Bush was nominated to head the CIA and had absolutely no background in the area," Wyden said. "Certainly less than Leon Panetta, who had experience as chief of staff and head of OMB. But if you head to the CIA today, the building is named after Bush."

Wyden also commended Feinstein for introducing legislation Tuesday seeking to end torture and close the terrorist detainee facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.