We learned this morning that on Wednesday the White House is expected to announce that President Obama is expected to pick Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in charge in Afghanistan, to take Leon Panetta’s place at the helm of the CIA. Mr. Panetta is the president’s next pick for secretary of defense.
I spent 90 minutes with General Petraeus at his office in Kabul last week. He is truly a asset to our country. Petraeus is a brilliant general and tactician. He’s an inspirational leader. And finally, he’s also got that indescribable something “extra.” His earnest demeanor and intensity make everyone around believe in him and want him to succeed.
I asked Gen Petraeus about rumors that he was leaving Afghanistan in the fall, and what might be next. He said he still wanted to serve the country and there were only two jobs where he felt he could make a difference: either by serving as CIA Director or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Our discussion was off the record, and to respect that I will not quote the general. But my sense of his thinking is that being Director of CIA would give him the chance to make a crucial difference in defending the country.