Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s nominations of CIA Director Leon Panetta to replace Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Gen. David Petraeus, now the top U.S. General in Afghanistan, to replace Panetta as CIA director:
“I am pleased that my friend Leon Panetta will bring his long record of service, first in Congress and then in both the Clinton and Obama Administrations, to the job of Secretary of Defense. His work at the CIA has helped strengthen and rebuild trust in the agency and we all have benefited from his leadership. Director Panetta is taking the helm at a crucial time for the Pentagon, in the midst of two wars and as we close in on our July deadline to begin the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan. We need the kind of experienced leadership he can provide.
“When I met with General Petraeus recently, I expressed my appreciation for his willingness to serve in Afghanistan when the President and our country needed him. I am grateful for his three and a half decades of admirable service to this country. His command of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan during key transitional periods and his extensive experience working with the intelligence community will be invaluable at the CIA.
“I am glad that both of these distinguished leaders will continue to serve the Administration and provide continuity on our national security agenda. General Petraeus and Director Panetta will ensure smooth transitions during a critical point for American foreign policy – in the midst of two wars, with continued unrest in the Middle East and as we face ongoing threats from international terrorism.”