The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, has been confirmed as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Thursday’s Senate vote clears the way for one of the nation’s most-renowned military officers to assume leadership of a key civilian intelligence organization.
As they have done ever since President Barack Obama nominated Petraeus to the post, Senators lined up to laud the general before casting their confirmation votes. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said Petraeus heads to the CIA at a perilous time, with wars winding down in Iraq and Afghanistan, an operation in Libya, and continuing nuclear stand-offs involving both Iran and North Korea.
“I think the military service will come in handy," said Senator Feinstein. "I think his analytical skills and ability will come in very handy. And I really believe he is the right man for the job.”
During his confirmation hearing last week, Petraeus sought to dispel any concerns senators may have had about dispatching a military man to head a civilian branch of America’s national security apparatus. He admitted that his views of the world have been shaped by military service, but that he would always present the CIA’s position and assessments to the president.
The ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Senator Saxby Chambliss, voiced no reservations about Petraeus before casting his vote.
“As a war-fighter, he brings a unique perspective, having seen firsthand the tactical value of accurate and timely intelligence," said Senator Chambliss. "This experience in an era of unparalleled cooperation between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense will not only benefit the military and intelligence community, but also the American people.”
Prior to his service in Afghanistan, Petraeus commanded U.S. forces in Iraq. He takes the CIA’s reins from Leon Panetta, who was confirmed last week as defense secretary, replacing Robert Gates at that post.