U.S. Democratic Party officials say President-elect Barack Obama has chosen a former congressman and Clinton White House chief of staff to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

Officials say Leon Panetta will be nominated as director of the CIA in the new Obama administration. Mr. Obama takes office in two weeks, but the nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Panetta served as White House chief of staff for former President Bill Clinton. The former congressman from California was also a member of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan commission charged with assessing the situation in Iraq and advising how the United States should proceed there.

Democratic Party officials say Mr. Obama is also expected to name retired U.S. Admiral Dennis Blair as his choice for director of national intelligence.

Admiral Blair is the former commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.