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Petraeus OK'd to head CIA

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to confirm Gen. David Petraeus to be the nation's CIA director.
Associated Press Modified: July 1, 2011 at 12:57 am •  Published: July 1, 2011
WASHINGTON — The Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to confirm Gen. David Petraeus to be the nation's CIA director. The vote was 94-0. Arguably America's most famous military commander in a generation, Petraeus has been in charge of U.S.-led international forces in Afghanistan since June 2010. The West Point graduate and 37-year Army veteran is also credited with turning around the war in Iraq, from which U.S. troops have been withdrawing in large numbers.
Petraeus will retire from the army as a four-star general. He said he will leave behind his “military brain trust” of staff he has taken with him for the Iraq and Afghan campaigns. Petraeus said he hoped by doing so that he would ease CIA fears that he would try to turn the agency's unique culture into a military operation. Petraeus replaces Leon Panetta, who will become the next Pentagon chief on Friday. Panetta bade farewell to CIA employees on Thursday. Titled “Arrivederci,” his message saluted the agency's ongoing battle against al-Qaida. “We had one hell of a ride together,” he wrote. Petraeus will head the CIA at a time when the White House is relying heavily on the agency's covert operations, together with elite special operation forces' clandestine military activity, to target terrorists. The White House unveiled a new national counterterrorism strategy this week that signaled a departure from invasions like those of Iraq and Afghanistan. White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan promised more “surgical” action like the Navy SEAL raid that killed al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May. The Obama White House has championed such covert activity, including more than 200 armed drone strikes against militants in Pakistan's tribal areas, up from fewer than 50 in the previous administration.

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