Committe Chairman John Kerry , D-MA, speaks during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nomination of Robert Beecroft to be ambassador to Iraq September 19, 2012 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) could become the nation's next defense secretary as the Obama administration moves forward with a massive personnel shake-up regarding the president's national security team. That includes David Petraeus' permanent replacement as CIA director.
The Washington Post reports that while Kerry is believed to "covet the job of secretary of state," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice is thought to be a shoe-in for the slot, according to senior Obama administration officials.
Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Michele Flournoy, former undersecretary for policy at the Pentagon, have also been mentioned as possible replacements for Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta. When Panetta was asked by reporters if he would remain in office throughout Obama's second term he replied, "Who the hell knows."
As for Petraeus' successor, Obama's counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan is reportedly the top choice should he want the CIA job. However, if Brennan turns down the offer, Michael J. Morell, who is currently serving as the agency's interim director, will likely stay at the helm.
"Officials cautioned that the White House discussions are still in the early phases and that no decisions have been made," Washington Post reports.
More from The Washington Post:
Petraeus’s resignation last week after revelations of an extramarital affair have complicated what was already an intricate puzzle to reassemble the administration’s national security and diplomatic pieces for Obama’s second term.
The process has become further complicated by congressional ire over not being told that Petraeus was under FBI investigation, on top of what are likely to be contentious closed-door hearings this week over administration actions surrounding the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Rice, one of an inner circle of aides who have been with Obama since his first presidential campaign in 2007, is under particular fire over the Benghazi incident, in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed.
Some Republican lawmakers have suggested that she was part of what they suspect was an initial, election-related attempt to portray the attack as a peaceful demonstration that turned violent, rather than what the administration now acknowledges was an organized terrorist assault.
To read The Washington Post's entire report, click here.
Let us know what you think of Kerry as a pick for defense secretary in the comment section below. Would you feel safe with the former Democratic presidential candidate at the helm? What about Susan Rice taking over Hillary Clinton's gig as secretary of state?
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