President Barack Obama is shuffling his team, moving CIA Director Leon Panetta to Defense Secretary, replacing Bush holdover Robert Gates and appointing Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in the Afghan war, to take Panetta’s old job at the intelligence agency.
Obama, according to the Associated Press, will promote Lt. Gen. John Allen to take over the Afghan war operation and appoint diplomat Ryan Crocker as the new U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan.
The moves, rumored in recent days, are seen as just the beginning of moves within the Obama inner circle.
Reports the AP:
The changes would probably take effect this summer. Gates has already said he will leave this year, and the White House wants to schedule Senate confirmation hearings in the coming months.
The changes are expected to be announced Thursday at the White House. A former U.S. official said all four candidates would stand together with Obama for the announcement.
Allen, now the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command in Florida, is due in Washington on Wednesday, and sources in Afghanistan said Petraeus was also headed to Washington.