Obama is poised to nominate Leon Panetta to head the CIA, according to news reports today. Panetta is a long-time advocate for ocean protection, though he’s not likely to get much sway in this area as CIA chief.
Panetta has been the chair and commissioner of the Pew Oceans Commission since 2003. In 2005, Pew joined with the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy to create the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative, which Panetta now co-chairs. He is also a board member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. While in Congress, Panetta was active on efforts to protect the California coast, and sponsored legislation to create the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. He continues to be active with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
Panetta represented California’s 16th district in the House from 1977 to 1993, and was Bill Clinton’s chief of staff from 1994 to 1997. Since then, he and his wife have founded the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy at California State University at Monterey Bay. He is also the Distinguished Scholar to the Chancellor of the California State University system, and teaches political science at Santa Clara University.