Senate confirms Petraeus as CIA chief

Washington, July 01: The United States Senate has confirmed General David H. Petraeus as the new CIA director, a post left vacant after the agency’s former chief was appointed as secretary of defense.

The unanimous vote for the new chief of the Central Intelligence Agency on Thursday was confirmed in a 94-0 vote by the Senators, AP reported.

Petraeus replaces Leon Panetta, whose appointment as the new Defense Secretary was confirmed by the Senate last week in a 100-0 vote. Panetta succeeds Robert Gates, who is set to retire.

Petraeus has been the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan since June 2010. Prior to his deployment to Afghanistan last summer, he had served as the commander of the Central Command.

The 37-year veteran of the US Army 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.”

The army general will head the CIA at a time when the White House is relying heavily on the agency’s covert operations “to target terrorists.”

The White House unveiled a new national counter-terrorism strategy this week that signaled “a departure from invasions like those of Iraq and Afghanistan.”