Life After Death
The Peninsula’s other Panetta sees a bright spot post-Bin Laden.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
As Americans gathered on the White House lawn and near Ground Zero in New York City late May 1 to celebrate the long-awaited death of Osama Bin Laden, Sylvia Panetta watched the news with hope for the future.
“These students could’ve stayed in their rooms, but they came out,” she says. “These are young people, who so often profess to be disinterested and so turned off by politics.”
Panetta, who directs CSU-Monterey Bay’s Panetta Institute for Public Policy, which focuses on drawing youth into public service, says there’s to be no pause at the institute for celebrating this blow to Al Qaeda. But she does take a moment to gloat about her husband, CIA Director Leon Panetta, whom she’s usually reluctant to discuss publicly.
Panetta assembled top aides, assessed the credibility of existing intelligence and gave the green light for U.S. Special Forces to undertake the mission to kill Bin Laden.
President Obama gave him credit in a May 1 address to the nation: “Shortly after taking office I directed Leon Panetta… to make the killing or capture of Bin Laden the top priority of our war against Al Qaeda.”
“I’m very proud,” Sylvia says of Leon. “He’s very steadfast, knowledgeable and patient but persistent.”
Last week, Obama announced the former congressman and Carmel Valley resident will become Defense Secretary this summer.