General David Petraeus, who replaced disgraced Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top commander in Afghanistan last June, could be getting a new office soon. And it wouldn't be on a different battlefield or even at the Pentagon. Rather, the popular general is rumored to be a top candidate for director of the CIA.
NPR reports Petraeus could take the country's top spy position by late fall:
Several sources, including government officials, say Petraeus is being seriously considered for CIA director, and would take the job if offered.
The current spy chief, Leon Panetta, is currently seen as the top replacement for Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who says he will step down this year.
White House and Pentagon officials say they will not comment on any personnel changes.
For some time, there was an expectation that Petraeus would take the top NATO military job in Brussels. NATO's current supreme commander, U.S. Adm. James Stavridis, is wrapping up his tour and is expected to become the Navy's next top officer, chief of naval operations.
Sources say Petraeus has cooled on the Brussels job. And there are few high profile military jobs left for him.
The Army chief of staff job has already gone to Gen. Martin Dempsey. And there is little indication that Petraeus is being considered for the top military job in the Pentagon, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Sources say that the current No. 2 Pentagon officer, Marine Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright, will be nominated for the top job when Adm. Mike Mullen leaves the post in September.
While the musical chairs could just be a case of plugging people into the right position, others are speculating the Petraeus/CIA move could be political. From the London Telegraph:
The possible move shows that the Obama administration is having a hard time finding a slot for the general, once considered a potential 2012 nominee for Republicans. Some might view a Petraeus appointment to the CIA as an attempt by President Barack Obama to neutralise a possible rival.
I would have thought he would be a natural choice for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when Admiral Mike Mullen retires at the end of the year but apparently he’s not viewed as a contender for that. There would be some pushback from the Left over nominating him for CIA but Petraeus is such a bipartisan rock star on Capitol Hill that it’s hard not to see him being confirmed almost unanimously.
One big thing the CIA job would do is give Petraeus an entry point into the civilian politics of Washington. Certainly, Petraeus is extremely well connected in DC for a military man but there’s no doubt that a stint at CIA would be a broadening experience for him.
Which means, of course, he would be an even more attractive presidential candidate in due course.
Petraeus in 2016 anyone?
Business Insider adds another possible reason: "It would also enable President Obama to rearrange the Pentagon without having a 'Bush General' in the mix."