Nick Schifrin reports:
In a small press conference in Kabul, Gen. David Petraeus addressed widespread speculation that he will soon leave his post as commander of 150,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan.
He said he was “committed to staying here through the fighting season,” a statement that he and his aides have made for months, and roughly translates until about October or November.
But as one military official has put it, just because he has committed to staying that long doesn’t mean the White House will keep him there that long.
With Secretary of Defense Robert Gates leaving in the next few months and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen leaving this fall, it’s clear the jobs Petraeus could take will be open long before the fighting season finishes.
He was asked directly whether he would want to become the nation’s top spy if, as has been widely suggested, current CIA chief Leon Panetta succeeds Gates.
Petraeus declined to comment.
He did, however, call speculation in the media about which jobs he could take “trial balloons” — suggesting he believes somebody is purposely leaking the possible jobs in order to gauge the reaction. Perhaps realizing he shouldn’t have suggested that, he quickly backed away from that statement and repeated his commitment to “serve with the pleasure of elected leaders.”
– Nick Schifrin