CIA boss to be new U.S. defense secretary

April 28, 2011 - 0:0

CIA director Leon Panetta will become U.S. defense secretary and be replaced at the spy agency's helm by General David Petraeus, current head of military operations in Afghanistan, ABC News reported on Wednesday.

Panetta, a 72-year-old Democratic politician, lawyer and professor will take over from Robert Gates following his planned retirement this year.
President Barack Obama will nominate Panetta as defense secretary and Army General Petraeus as head of the American spy agency, says Reuters.
An official said Panetta's nomination would be announced later this week.
The positions would require Senate confirmation, suggesting the changes would not occur for some weeks or even months.
A shuffling of top national security jobs has been an object of speculation for weeks.
Robert Gates, the current Pentagon chief and a former CIA director, had made clear that he planned to step down as defense secretary this year.
Panetta is a long-standing Democratic Party figure who could prove closer to fellow Democrat Obama than Gates, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush and proved to be a maverick under both administrations.
Petraeus, 58, is a popular figure credited with pulling Iraq from the brink of civil war after the 2003 U.S. invasion before he assumed command of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Before word of the reshuffle broke, some Washington insiders suggested a Petraeus-for-Panetta swap could come as Obama gears up his 2012 re-election campaign.
They suggested the White House wanted a high-profile position for Petraeus to ensure he would not be tapped by Republicans to challenge Obama.
(Source: Agencies)
Photo: A combination photo shows U.S. Army General David Petraeus (L) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Leon Panetta.