Opinion Brief

Gen. David Petraeus: An 'awful' choice for CIA director?

President Obama reportedly plans to nominate Petraeus to replace CIA chief Leon Panetta, who will become the next secretary of defense

President Obama is expected to reshuffle his national security team this week, naming CIA Director Leon Panetta his new defense secretary, and bringing Gen. David Petraeus back from Afghanistan to take over at the intelligence agency. The 72-year-old Panetta has a long résumé in government and "is expected to win easy confirmation," says Laura Rozen at Yahoo! News. Petraeus is also expected to be confirmed, but recent rumors of his possible move to Washington have left some observers "scratching their heads." Is the four-star general who successfully led the Iraq surge really the right choice to lead the CIA?

No, he's an 'awful' pick: The general doesn't have the humility, analytical skills, or team-based approach needed to succeed at the CIA, says a former top intelligence official, quoted anonymously by ABC News. There's been friction between the military and the CIA regarding the Afghan war effort, so it's odd that one of the general's top priorities will be to evaluate his own efforts in the region. "I don’t know of anybody in my former world who thinks this is a good idea.""The case against David Petraeus at CIA"

Yes, he's a smart choice: These days, the CIA looks less like an intel agency and more "like a military outfit run by civilians," says Shane Harris at Washingtonian. Given that shift, Petraeus is the right choice. He has "an unparalleled understanding of counterterrorism operations" and "will face practically no learning curve" on battlefield efforts when he takes over the director's office at Langley.
"Petraeus and Panetta: What their new roles mean for the CIA and Defense Department"

This could actually vault Petraeus to the White House: The general, who's 58, is already seen as a hero, and broadening his experience by serving as CIA director could make him a "formidable candidate" in 2016, says Ewen MacAskill at The Guardian. Petraeus has played down his political ambitions, but he isn't shy about speaking to the press, and "he behaves as if he is preparing the ground" for a political career. If that's the case, it may be good for him to leave Afghanistan, where the war effort "is proving more difficult than Iraq.""Petraeus in profile: The man who could be president"

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