We're going to feel a little less safe after Jan. 20 if Leon Panetta becomes director of the Central Intelligence Agency. President-elect Barack Obama has clearly caved in to the hard left if he follows through on this nomination.

... For all of his previous experience in government as both an elected and appointed public official, Panetta has only had a glancing involvement in the complex, high-stakes world of intelligence gathering — and that was as President Clinton's chief of staff when Clinton let Osama bin Laden off the hook.

It is apparent that Panetta is Obama's choice to head the agency because all the candidates with the requisite spying experience were tainted ... with Bush administration policies that are anathema to Obama's hard left dot.com supporters.

... The problem is — as a host of experienced CIA hands point out — Bush's hard-nosed strategies may sometimes be distasteful, but in a very harsh world they are what have kept America safe since 9-11. ...

Panetta will have a lot to answer to during his confirmation hearings — and if he is confirmed, we can only hope that we'll feel better about his CIA stewardship than we do now.