So what is it about? Simple: fear of accountability for torture.h/t Newshoggers
Thanks to Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin and honest Pentagon brass, we know a lot about torture by the regular military. But we know very little about torture by the CIA because of the coverup by Jay Rockefeller and the corrupt CIA brass.
The CIA brass desperately want to keep everything secret because they tortured people to death, which is a war crime under U.S. and international law, and is punishable by death. JRock and DiFi want to protect the CIA brass, either out of blind professional loyalty or because they approved the torture and share in the guilt.
Leon Panetta would come in "clean" and therefore cannot be blackmailed by those who committed or approved torture. He could fire people, even refer them for prosecution. This terrifies the insiders.
That's what this is all about.
Update: Sully's take:
The more I think about this, the more it seems to me that the snub of these two was a deliberate signal. Their oversight of Bush's war crimes was pathetic. Ditto Harman. Obama is telling us he is serious about both improving intelligence and drawing a clear line - for the entire world to see - between the United States and the war criminals who will soon be leaving office, and those who enabled them. Meanwhile, more support from the smart right.