US & Canada

US Gen David Petraeus confirmed as CIA director

Gen David Petraeus
Image caption Gen Petraeus was credited in the US with turning around the war in Iraq during the 2007 troop surge

General David Petraeus has been confirmed by the US Senate as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), where he will replace Leon Panetta, the new secretary of defence.

Gen Petraeus, commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, was nominated for the CIA by President Barack Obama in April.

Gen Petraeus, 58, is widely admired across party lines in the US.

His appointment in April came amid a reshuffling of Mr Obama's national security team.

Gen Petraeus, a 37-year veteran of the US Army, is credited with turning around the war in Iraq after President George W Bush tasked him with managing a surge of troops in 2007.

'Aggressive' withdrawal

In the US Senate, the vote to confirm him was 94-0.

Robert Gates, appointed defence secretary by then US President George W Bush in 2006, is to retire and be replaced by Mr Panetta, whom the Senate confirmed 100-0 last week.

Mr Panetta, a former budget aide to President Bill Clinton, was appointed CIA director at the beginning of Mr Obama's term.

Gen Petraeus took over as commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan about a year ago.

He leaves the post just after Mr Obama announced he would begin drawing down the number of US troops in Afghanistan, with 10,000 troops leaving this year and 23,000 in 2012.

Last week, Gen Petraeus said he would carry out Mr Obama's order but said the withdrawal was "more aggressive" than military leaders had recommended.

Gen Petraeus is expected to leave Afghanistan in July and begin at the CIA in September. Until then, the CIA's deputy director Michael Morell will serve as acting director of the intelligence agency.

In Kabul, Gen Petraeus will be replaced by Lt Gen John R Allen, currently deputy head of US Central Command - the command unit covering central Asia and the Middle East. His post is still to be confirmed by the Senate.

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