The Case Against David Petraeus at CIA

By Kristina

Apr 27, 2011 2:10pm

ABC’s Jonathan Karl reports:

UPDATE at 2:10pm ET: The White House is pushing back on the notion that Gen. David Petraeus does not have strong support from the intelligence community and that the President decided to nominate him as CIA director without input from the Director National Intelligence.

"It is absolutely wrong to suggest that there was no input from the DNI," an administration official tells ABC News. "The idea that the intelligence community does not support Petraeus is simply not accurate."

The official argued that it is incorrect to say Petraeus does not have sufficient intelligence experience. As the former commander in Iraq, the former commander of U.S. Central Command and the current U.S. commander in Afghanistan, this person said Gen. Petraeus has had extensive experience working with the intelligence community.

ORIGINAL POST at 10:58am ET: A former top intelligence official – a high profile and respected figure in the intelligence world – just unloaded to me about why he thinks – and says others like him think – David Petraeus is an “awful” choice for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

This former official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, served under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and offers several reasons why he believes this is a bad choice.  These are not my opinions, but they are a reflection of what at least one influential voice in the intelligence world is saying.

He makes several points:

- The decision was made, he says, by the White House with no serious input from the Director of National Intelligence, who oversees the CIA.   “This decision was developed and made in the White House.”

- Leaving the DNI – which has responsibility over the CIA and other intelligence agencies – out of the process is “corrosive of the whole DNI concept.”

- This source insists Petraeus would not have been the choice of the DNI.  “I don’t know of anybody in my former world [the intelligence community] who thinks this is a good idea.”

- Petraeus is not known as a team player – which a good CIA director needs to be.

- The appointment looks like a consolation prize – given to Petraeus because he wasn’t going to be nominated to be Joint Chiefs chairman. 

- One of the most important questions the CIA will be looking at in the coming year is, “How is it going in Pakistan?”  Petraeus will essentially be giving himself a grade.

- “The best directors arrive with a certain sense of humility….”  Again, not a Petraeus trait.

- Petraeus is a brilliant policy guy, but not an analyst. 

Again, these are not my opinions, but the views of a former top intelligence official.

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