Could Petraeus be too shiny for the CIA?

April 28, 2011

An agency all about cloak-and-dagger tends to be wary of the limelight.

So President Barack Obama’s choice of General David Petraeus for CIA director has raised some questions in intelligence and military circles.

How will a four-star general who has repeatedly been the subject of speculation as a possible future presidential candidate, and who doesn’t shy from the media spotlight, run an agency that prefers to stick to the shadows?

Will his boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, a retired three-star general, be uncomfortable with a subordinate who has a much higher public profile that threatens to outshine him?

Will Petraeus secretly harbor resentment at not getting the “ultimate job” for a military officer – Joint Chiefs chairman? Admiral Mike Mullen is expected to retire later this year and there had been some speculation about Petraeus being a contender to replace him.

“Is this a consolation prize?” one former U.S. official said.

Petraeus is not likely to make too many friends at CIA if he comes in with a restructure and fix-it mentality. “They’ve got a little fix-it fatigue,” a former U.S. intelligence official said.

Petraeus is also unlikely to find a warm reception if  he goes in with a “military mindset” expecting the CIA to respond accordingly, the former intelligence official said. “You can’t bark an order and everyone salutes.”

Photo credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth (Petraeus arrives in Downing Street in London March 22)




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Posted by General Petraeus Moves to the CIA « A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog: Occasional Musings | Report as abusive

Petraeus is a brilliant and thoughtful man with strong leadership ability. He will undoubtedly flourish at the CIA. My only concern is that this appointment is meant to shelve Petraeus as a candidate for 2012. All of the characteristics that make Petraeus a good commander and will make him a good CIA director would also make him a great president.

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