Leon Panetta's first career as a public servant began as an army intelligence officer and included a 35-year run in Congress, culminating in his role as Clinton's budget czar and White House chief of staff. He then "retired" to establish the Panetta Institute, to serve on the Iraq Study Group, and to protect his beloved California coastline.
But in 2009, he returned to public office as the director of the CIA, and after leading the intelligence war that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, Panetta became the U.S. secretary of defense and inherited two troubled wars in a time of austerity and painful choices.
Like his career, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace is a reflection of Panetta's values. It is imbued with the frank, grounded, and quite funny spirit of a man who never lost touch with where he came from: his family's walnut farm in Carmel Valley. It is also a testament to the kind of political leadership that favors progress and duty to country over partisanship.
Mike Allen is the chief White House correspondent for Politico. Previously, he held the same position at TIME magazine. Prior to that, Allen spent six years at The Washington Post, where he covered President George W. Bush’s first term, Capitol Hill, campaign finance, and the presidential campaigns of 2000. Before turning to national politics, Allen covered schools and local governments in rural counties outside Fredericksburg, Va., for The Free Lance-Star, then wrote about Doug Wilder, Oliver North, Chuck Robb, and the Bobbitts for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, where he nurtured police sources on overnight ride-alongs through housing projects. Allen also covered Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the Connecticut statehouse, and other topics for The New York Times. Prior to that, Allen did stints in the Richmond and Alexandria bureaus of The Washington Post.
Leon Edward Panetta became the 19th Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on 13 February 2009. As Director, he leads the Agency and manages human intelligence and open source collection programs on behalf of the Intelligence Community.
Mr. Panetta has dedicated much of his life to public service. Before joining CIA, he spent 10 years co-directing with his wife, Sylvia, the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy, based at California State University, Monterey Bay. The Institute is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit center that seeks to instill in young men and women the virtues and values of public service. In March 2006, he was chosen as a member of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan committee established at the urging of Congress to conduct an independent assessment of the war in Iraq.
From July 1994 to January 1997, Mr. Panetta served as Chief of Staff to President Clinton. Prior to that, he was Director of the Office of Management and Budget, a position that built on his years of work on the House Budget Committee. Mr. Panetta represented California’s 16th (now 17th) Congressional District from 1977 to 1993, rising to Budget Committee chairman during his final four years in Congress.
Mr. Panetta holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a law degree, both from Santa Clara University. He was born on 28 June 1938 in Monterey, where his Italian immigrant parents operated a restaurant. Later, they purchased a farm in Carmel Valley, a place Director and Mrs. Panetta continue to call home. The Panettas have three grown sons and five grandchildren.