His name leaked to the press before Obama informed Feinstein, a California Democrat and incoming Senate Intelligence Committee
chairman, who will oversee Panetta's nomination hearing.
``I have been contacted by both President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden, and they have explained to me the reasons
why they believe Leon Panetta is the best candidate for CIA Director,'' she said Tuesday.
Feinstein complained Monday she had not been told about Panetta and expressed doubts he has the necessary experience.
There was no immediate comment from the Obama team, which has
made no formal announcement of the CIA pick.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)