U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus was confirmed Thursday by the Senate as the next director of the CIA. The vote was unanimous, 94-0.
The four-star general was nominated by President Barack Obama in April to replace Leon Panetta, who served since February 2009. Panetta was confirmed last week as the next defense secretary.
Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, praised Obama’s decision in April by stating, "General Petraeus is simply among the very best military leaders of his generation. He knows first-hand the life and death importance that good intelligence plays in protecting the security of the United States."
Sen. Diane Feinstein, chairwoman of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, lauded Petraeus, in a statement, “I think that there is no doubt but that Gen. Petraeus is among the finest military officers and strategic thinkers of his generation.”
During his confirmation hearing, the committee wondered if his 37 years of experience in the U.S. military would interfere with giving the president objective advice but he confirmed that he would be “keenly aware that I am the leader of an intelligence agency, and not a policy maker.”
He also told the committee that the CIA would be “relentless” when it came to pursuing intelligence needed by the government under his leadership.
He also added that it "would be a tremendous honor and a tremendous privilege” to work with CIA personnel.
He will assume his new position in September after retiring as top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, which he has held since June 2010.
The 58-year-old will be replaced by Lt. Gen. John Allen in Afghanistan, who is currently deputy head of U.S. Central Command – the command unit covering central Asia and the Middle East.