Lines Blur in War, Spying

Which explains the Panetta-Petraeus shake-up
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2011 7:26 AM CDT
Leon Panetta and David Petraeus are seen in this Newser combo image.   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Today, President Obama is expected to announce that CIA director Leon Panetta will become secretary of defense, and that David Petraeus will slide into his old job. That’s a pretty startling illustration of just how far the lines between spies and soldiers have blurred over the past year, the New York Times observes. Panetta’s CIA was essentially a paramilitary organization, waging wars with drone aircraft from secret bases in Afghanistan.

Petraeus, meanwhile, has seemed as much spymaster as general—as head of CentCom, he sent special ops forces to gather intelligence in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iran. “It’s really irrelevant whether you call it a covert operation or a military operation,” says Dennis Blair, a former national intelligence director. “I don’t really think there is any distinction.”

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