Wednesday's intriguing people
Leon Panetta was a congressman and President Bill Clinton's chief of staff before becoming CIA director.
April 27th, 2011
03:24 PM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Leon Panetta

The CIA director will be President Barack Obama's nominee to succeed Robert Gates as defense secretary, a senior defense official and another U.S. official said Wednesday.

Panetta will be named as a nominee for U.S. defense secretary, CNN has confirmed. Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, will be tapped as Panetta's replacement at the CIA, a senior defense official said.

Panetta is a prolific public servant. For 14 years, he was a U.S. congressman from California, ultimately becoming chairman of the House Budget committee. He later was director of the Office of Management and Budget and then President Bill Clinton's chief of staff. Early in his career, the Santa Clara University alum was an aide to a U.S. senator and an assistant in the government’s civil rights unit in the 1960s. Panetta won a an Army Commendation Medal while serving as an Army intelligence officer from 1964-1966.

Ali Tarhouni

The University of Washington economics professor has lived in exile for 38 years after being stripped of his Libyan citizenship for his pro-democracy stance. Two months ago, National Public Radio reports, Tarhouni shocked students and colleagues by announcing that he would return to Libya to be finance minister for the opposition movement to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

His wife apparently was not surprised. Mary Li is a lawyer with the Washington attorney general’s office in Seattle. She has known of her husband’s hope for Libya since they married 31 years ago, NPR reported. "If you had that kind of dream for that long, would your wife say, 'I don't want you to go?' ” Li told NPR. "That's inconceivable to me."

Tarhouni now works 20-hour days from his Benghazi office, according to NPR. "The decisions that I used to make only three months ago (were) would I drive on Aurora Avenue or (Interstate 5) to avoid the traffic?" he told NPR. Today, his decisions focus on preventing casualties, obtaining armaments and securing a new Libyan economy, NPR reported. He’s even gone into the battlefield to deliver wages to the rebels, it said.

Rachel Gilbert

The NASCAR fan celebrated her upcoming 100th birthday on the fast track, reports CNN affiliate WMUR-TV in Manchester, New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Motor Speedway helped the Laconia, New Hampshire, resident commemorate her birthday by allowing her to drive several laps on the track in a pace car. Gilbert reached a top speed of about 50 mph, and had friends and family take turns with her, the TV station reported.

Lindsay Lohan

The actress has become the latest troubled celebrity to appear on Jay Leno's show.  Hugh Grant talked to Leno after his arrest on lewd conduct charges. Pamela Anderson did it after accusations that her then-husband abused her. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger launched his California gubernatorial campaign on "The Tonight Show." Since the Conan O’Brien/NBC debacle, however, Leno and his show had been quiet - until Lohan appeared in an interview broadcast Tuesday. Lohan, whose career has been derailed by drunken driving convictions, probation violations and a shoplifting charge, acknowledged her "poor decisions in the past" but said she believes an Oscar is in her future.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Libya • Lindsay Lohan • Military • Most Intriguing People • Politics • U.S.
soundoff (15 Responses)

    @Lindsay Lohan

    you still owe me 200$ for that smoke..

    April 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy

    I saw Rachel Gilbert on TV this morning on the track....she was so tiny, she could barely see over the wheel! She was exhilarated!

    Many more birthdays to you, Miss Rachel!

    April 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy

    Imo, the only Oscar that Lilo is ever going to get has the last name of Mayer.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy

    Hey, Mediamonger, waiting for your illuminating comments, since according to you, you read this daily.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ernest H. Dervishian

    I will make sure to Curse him and his misguided CIA unless he brings those CIA agents who moonlighted for Turkey's and Azerbajian's terrorist organization called "Ergenekon," [the masterminds behind the Mujahadeen aka Taliban aka Al Queada], against American citizens of Armenian heritage, to justice.

    I prefer a little "Extra Ordinary Rendition" and some "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques." No need for stinking trials. That would be as wholesome as Apple Pie and Chevrolet. "Due Process" is for twinkled toed communist co*k suckers.

    I want to let him know that I AM WATCHING HIM.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      I agree with you Ernest,in the fact that the Turks needs to be held accountable for what they did to the Armenians back in 1915. But I guess that they won't since the politicians on Capitol Hill lack any sense of morality at all.

      April 27, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Petra

    Ernest, I don't think he cares.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |

    What difference does any of this make,anyway? The obscene carnage overseas will go on,if not increase. And we wil still cozy up to Turkey despite what they did to the Armenians in 1915!!!

    April 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |

      @fakenutt nobody cares about the past... unless it's in a made for tv movie...

      April 28, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. Andreas Moser

    Too bad that the CIA job was filled so quickly. I had already begun to put together my CV.

    April 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don Panetta

      You talkin' ta me? Idda stuffa you in da trunk! You, you talkin' ta me?

      April 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy

    Bringing up something that happened in 1915? Really? Nobody wants to be held accountable for the things being done NOW!

    April 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz


      April 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ScarFace

    Boys, boys (tapping on the glass with the silverware) welcome Don Panetta he's going to be the head of security.

    April 27, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. alex

    Its sad to hear mrs obama say "u.s.a takes humans right seriously "but mean while syrias people are being killed ,if you look at list of opec it starts to make sence,the biggest question in the whole world is where are the weapon of mass destruction?while our troops are being killed theres still isnt an answer .we sit here and attack countries and think its not inpacting the world .Its crazy cause hitler started the same way, and then 3 nations came togther and over took him , i justt hope the peoples voice gets heard ,one world ,one life and we must learn share it.

    April 28, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |