Petraeus tells senators he wanted the CIA job
June 23rd, 2011
04:45 PM ET
11 years ago

Petraeus tells senators he wanted the CIA job

Washington (CNN) - Gen. David Petraeus told his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday that "I wanted this job" as he explained his willingness to retire from the military after 37 years to become CIA director.

The 58-year-old commanding general of U.S. forces in Afghanistan told the Senate Intelligence Committee he would lead the nation's largest intelligence agency fully independent of his ties to the military.

Petraeus acknowledged that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is the "leader of the intelligence community," and that the CIA plays a major role in U.S. intelligence gathering, but is part of a larger team.

He assured the committee that under his leadership, the CIA would be "relentless" in pursuing intelligence needed by the government, and said that serving as director of dedicated CIA personnel "would be a tremendous honor and a tremendous privilege."

Petraeus assumed command of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan on July 4, 2010, after serving for more than 20 months as commander of United States Central Command. He previously commanded multinational forces in Iraq, leading the so-called "surge."

During his time commanding the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, he oversaw the development of the Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual, and his experience in working with the CIA on counterinsurgency efforts in the field was cited as a reason for his nomination by President Barack Obama to succeed Leon Panetta, who will take over as defense secretary when Robert Gates steps down at the end of June.

Committee members praised Petraeus for his military successes and indicated no opposition existed to his nomination. If confirmed, Petraeus would continue overseeing the Afghanistan mission during the first phase of troop withdrawals beginning in July before retiring his commission to be a civilian head of the nation's top spy agency.

Filed under: CIA • David Petraeus • Senate
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. ConservaFASCISTS

    You wanted, well now you have it general. Bring Zawihiri and the rest of Al-Queda to justice. Take out Qaddafi, Bashir and Mahmoud. The ball is in your court now sir!

    June 23, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. bb

    No wonder he didn't get it.

    June 23, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. Are you insane?

    Wait. You're going to let a General be in charge of the CIA? Isn't that dangerous? The man clearly has connections to the military. You're practically letting the Army run the CIA now. What next? Let a former Air Force General run the FBI too at the same time? And you nuts think Egypt has it bad with the military installing puppets from their ranks into political offices. America is doing it with a smile on their face, and you sheep are just happy with it. America is ran by it's military... you're just too blind to see it.

    June 23, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Gen. David Petraeus is smart person if he become CIA director he will destroy rest of the Al- Qaeda with small man power
    Obama did very good move

    June 23, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. Republican Robber Baron

    Conflict of interests. CIA needs to have civilian command and control. We are already so far to the right and spend more than the rest of world combined on defense – on the verge of fascism. Civilian control is one of the few things we have that keeps up from becoming a military-police state.

    June 23, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Bill from GA

    He could probably get the job of CEO of GE, if he wanted. He may be the most respected man in our government.

    June 23, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. A Kickin' Donkey

    Sound's like a question that might have been asked by a partisan Republican with an agenda.

    I can hear the wheels turning in the GOPTP'er's head right now – "Did that darkey secretly force you out? You know you're one of our favorites, General."

    Wouldn't they be shocked to find out that Petraeus voted for President Obama - or worse yet - he's a Democrat?

    June 23, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. New SunriseComing

    Couldn't have picked better.

    June 23, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  9. Don't Panic

    No need to freak out about a military man running the CIA. From the CIA's inception in the 40s, about a third (7 out of 22) of agency's overseers have been active or retired military. It's fair to discuss the historical merits and drawbacks of this practice, but this isn't some recent, sinister intrusion by the military into civilian agencies.

    June 24, 2011 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  10. Doyle Wiley, MI

    Good move.

    June 24, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |