Petraeus Being ‘Seriously Considered’ for CIA Director

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Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

A series of impending departures is setting off a string of title changes in the defense and intelligence sector. Current CIA director Leon Panetta is seen as the most likely candidate to replace Defense Secretary Robert Gates when he steps down later this year. Now NPR reports General David Petraeus is being "seriously considered" for Panetta's role as CIA director when Petraeus steps down as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan this fall. Government officials say Petraeus is likely to take the job if offered, perhaps because there are few high-profile military jobs left for him to consider. Petraeus supporters, who describe him as "the best general of his generation," were surprised he wasn't in the running for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Instead, that's expected to go to the Pentagon's current No. 2, Marine General James "Hoss" Cartwright, when Admiral Mike Mullen leaves in September. In Obama's Wars, Bob Woodward called Cartwright the president's "favorite general."

Petraeus's detractors aren't surprised he was passed up considering "King David" has a reputation among peers for being overly political and ambitious. In fact, it's not guaranteed that Petraeus, once considered a potential 2012 Republican nominee, will get any new job in the administration. But the decision to name a senior officer with no specialized intelligence background to head the CIA is hardly unusual. Before Panetta, retired Air Force General Michael Hayden held the role, with several admirals and generals leading the agency since it started 60 years ago.

For a military officer, Petraeus is already well-connected in D.C. But a CIA post could give him entrée into civilian politics in the capital — should he try to move from "king" to president in 2016.

Gen. Petraeus Being 'Seriously Considered' For CIA Director, NPR Reports [Two-Way/NPR]
General David Petraeus tipped to take over CIA [Telegraph UK]