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Leon Panetta To Pentagon, David Petraeus to Langley

In a series of national security moves, the White House will nominate Leon Panetta to become the first Democratic Secretary of Defense since William Perry in 1996. Panetta will replace Robert Gates at the Pentagon. Current Afghan war commander David Petraeus will replace Panetta at the CIA. And Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who was ambassador to Iraq under President Bush, would move to Afghanistan to become the Ambassador there, replacing Karl Eikenberry. Crocker has also served as Ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is one of the most experienced diplomats in the foreign service. Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen would replace Petraeus as the commander of the war effort in Afghanistan.

All of those jobs would require Senate confirmation, so that’s four additional hostage-taking events (actually, even Senate Republicans wouldn’t play games with St. Petraeus and our precious wars, so probably not, except maybe for Panetta). There’s one additional national security position expected to be announced soon, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, replacing Admiral Mike Mullen, but that will not get named today.

Panetta was Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton and before that a US Representative from the Central Coast of California. He’s been CIA Director in the Obama Administration, which as I understand it now is basically the Secretary of Defense job, given all the covert operations. And then you have a military commander moving to the CIA. So the merging of the military and the intelligence community is complete. Within a few years it’ll just be one big black op. The good news is they can cut the military budget then, and put everything into the secret, off-the-books intelligence budget so as not to raise suspicion.

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David Dayen

David Dayen