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Team of Rivals: Blair vs. Panetta Edition

4:20 PM, May 27, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Pam Hess reports:

The nation's two intelligence chiefs are locked in a turf battle over overseas posts, forcing National Security Adviser James L. Jones to mediate, according to current and former government officials.

The jockeying between CIA Director Leon Panetta and National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair centers on Blair's effort to choose his own representatives at U.S. embassies instead of relying only on CIA station chiefs. Current and former U.S. officials described the dispute on the condition of anonymity, because of the sensitivity of intelligence issues.

Prediction: An easy win for Panetta. Blair has proved himself to be completely tone deaf on political issues and sustained a "personal blow" with the withdrawal of Chas Freeman from consideration as NIC Chair. Panetta, on the other hand, just had his way with Nancy Pelosi, who would seem to be a far tougher opponent than Blair. I'm guessing a TKO for Panetta early in the second round.