Obama Picks 72-year-old Democrat To Lead National Defense
April 28, 2011 by Special To Personal Liberty
President Barack Obama has selected his nominees to fill the nation’s most prominent security positions, according to media reports.
In a major reshuffling of personnel, Obama will nominate CIA Director Leon Panetta to replace Robert Gates as the Secretary of Defense, and Army General David Petraeus, the head of the United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan, to replace Panetta. In addition, the President will nominate diplomat Ryan Crocker for the role of U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.
Panetta, a Democrat, is a former U.S. Representative from California. He also served as the budget director and the chief of staff under former President Bill Clinton. If his candidacy is approved by the Senate, Panetta, 72, will replace Gates, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2006.
Last year, Gates stated that he would retire from his post at some point during 2011.
According to Turkish newspaper Sabah, Panetta spent five days meeting with Turkish officials last month to discuss a possible regime change in Syria, which is the latest Middle Eastern nation to erupt in protests. The news provider claimed that the meeting between the CIA director and Turkish leaders was highly confidential.
The top-secret discussion involved a plan that would ensure the safety of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his family, the media outlet reported.