Petraeus Faces Senate Confirmation Hearing Gen. David Petraeus is on Capitol Hill Thursday. He's the president's nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, and he faced questions Thursday from the Senate panel that must approve the nomination. NPR's Tamara Keith has been following the hearing, and she speaks to Michele Norris.
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Petraeus Faces Senate Confirmation Hearing

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Petraeus Faces Senate Confirmation Hearing

Petraeus Faces Senate Confirmation Hearing

Petraeus Faces Senate Confirmation Hearing

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Gen. David Petraeus is on Capitol Hill Thursday. He's the president's nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, and he faced questions Thursday from the Senate panel that must approve the nomination. NPR's Tamara Keith has been following the hearing, and she speaks to Michele Norris.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

And I'm Michele Norris.

CIA: Tamara, let's start with Afghanistan what did General Petraeus say about the president's troop decision?

TAMARA KEITH: Let's listen to what General Petraeus said.

DAVID PETRAEUS: The ultimate decision was a more aggressive formulation, if you will, in terms of the timeline, than what we had recommended. Again, that is understandable in the sense that there are broader considerations beyond just those of a military commander.

KEITH: And as you heard, he basically deferred to the president. He said that once the president has made a decision, it is the job of the commanders on the ground to salute smartly and carry out the mission.

NORRIS: So he said that the president didn't follow the course he recommended. Did he say anything about what his recommendation to the president was?

KEITH: He did have some interesting things to say about how the decision was made. There were three meetings. After the first meeting, General Petraeus was given some homework. And he also said that there were vigorous discussions in all of these meetings.

NORRIS: Let's look to his next post. Now this was, as we said, a confirmation hearing for the general. What did senators want to know about whether he's the right person for this next post, the CIA job?

KEITH: General Petraeus said he will be retiring from the military if confirmed for this job, and he'll wear a suit not a uniform.

KEITH: And, Tamara, I wanted to pick up on something you just said about intelligence being militarized. One of the big areas the CIA will have to weigh in on is Afghanistan. But as the new boss at CIA, he will be a former commander. And it has to go to the question that he was just asked, or that you just referred to, will that be a problem, a challenge for him?

KEITH: Well, and he saw that question coming. He actually tried to head it off in his opening statement. Basically yes, CIA analysts have been skeptical of the progress in this war and General Petraeus is the architect of this counterinsurgency strategy, now being used in Afghanistan. He saw it coming and he said he will be able to take that criticism.

PETRAEUS: Clearly, I have views efforts in which I've been engaged. I've shared them in the past with the agency's analysts and I'll do so in the future. However, if confirmed, when I am in the Situation Room with the president, I will strive to present the agency position.

NORRIS: And just quickly, I've got to let you go. But prospects for his confirmation look likely?

KEITH: Very good prospects. A number of senators said they look forward to voting for him.

NORRIS: That's NPR's Tamara Keith. Tamura, thank you so much.

KEITH: Thank you.

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