Officials: Obama Eyes Petraeus as Next CIA Director

Is CIA a Consolation Prize for Petraeus?

The Obama Administration is looking toward a shuffling of its military and security leadership positions this summer, according to top officials familiar with the situation. Among the major surprises is that Gen. David Petraeus is the front-runner for the position of CIA director.

Officials reported last week that Petraeus was going to be replaced as commander of the Afghan War over the summer, but did not indicate what position he would take afterward. Lt. Gen. John Allen is said to be replacing him in Afghanistan.

The shuffle is coming because two top officials, Joint Chiefs of Staff head Admiral Michael Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are both planning to retire in the summer. While Petraeus is said to prefer taking over for Mullen, it seems that President Obama has other ideas on the matter.

Under the reported change, Gen. James Cartwright would replace Admiral Mullen, while current CIA Director Leon Panetta would replace Gates as Defense Secretary. This would free up the position of CIA director for Petraeus, who is said to be open to the idea, even if it isn’t his first choice. Though military leaders have run the CIA in the past it seems that for Petraeus it is really a consolation prize after being passed up for the Joint Chiefs spot.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.