Why did Obama pass over Rep. Jane Harman, who had been ranking member on the House intelligence Committee and a respected figure on intelligence matters, in favor of Leon Panetta, a former member of the House of Representatives, who had no specific experience on intelligence matters? I am told that it is because Panetta also had executive branch experience as White House Chief of Staff. Representative Porter Goss is remembered by Democrats as having been a disaster as Bush's CIA director, so Obama decided from the outset to exclude "politicians" as candidates . Hence, Panetta yes, Harman no.