Panetta to become Sec. Defense; Petraeus CIA chief

Several sources are reporting this morning that current CIA director Leon Panetta will move over to the Pentagon to become Secretary of Defense while General David Petraeus has been tapped for the CIA job.

The Hill:

CIA Director Leon Panetta will be nominated to head the Defense Department and Gen. David Petraeus is the pick to replace him at the intelligence agency, according to reports Wednesday.

The Associated Press and ABC News reported the news, citing anonymous sources. Panetta would succeed Robert Gates, who has said he wants to step down this year.

Petraeus currently serves as the commander of allied forces in Afghanistan. ABC News quoted sources as saying Marine Gen. John Allen would be nominated to replace Petraeus.

"I think obviously Gen. Petraeus is obviously a well-respected leader for us. So that's a real confidence-builder," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said on CNBC in reaction to the picks.

Cantor said he thought Panetta would do "an equally good job" at the Department of Defense.

Panetta has proved to be a good soldier at CIA and that's about it.  For General Petreaus, it is a step down. It is now safe to dismiss him as a candidate for president - if he ever took the idea seriously in the first place. Both men are competent, articulate, and loyal which means a lot to any president.

Beyond that, they are likely to sail through the nomination process in the senate. The last thing Obama needs now is a fight with senate Republicans. Bottom line - that may be the most compelling reason they were chosen.