focus on the past, especially in Congress, threatens to distract the CIA from its crucial core missions: intelligence collection, analysis and covert action.Threatens to? From various reports, CIA morale is at rock bottom. It's far more than distracted. Panetta again,
the Obama administration made policy changes in intelligence that ended some controversial practices. The CIA no longer operates black sites and no longer employs "enhanced" interrogation techniques. It is worth remembering that the CIA implements presidential decisions; we do not make them. Yet my agency continues to pay a price for enduring disputes over policies that no longer exist.
Basically he's saying, the CIA is already crippled, how about leaving us alone? I mean here you have an secret intelligence organization that can't maintain secret facilities, and has had its interrogation practices scrutinized, exposed to the public, and put in a straightjacket of ridiculous limitations based on blind legalism. Enough is enough. Even Panetta recognizes it.
He also takes issue with Congress jumping on the CIA regarding the unimplemented assassination program that he shut down. As he says, his reward for being straightforward with Congress was "a fresh round of recriminations about the past." Unfortunately Panetta is probably wasting his time. Those he's talking to don't care about the CIA's intelligence capabilities, as they have amply demonstrated. They prefer it neutered.