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Obama selects Panetta for defense secretary

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Panetta is Obama's choice to take over from Gates
  • Panetta took over at the CIA two years ago

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama will name CIA Director Leon Panetta as his nominee to succeed Robert Gates as defense secretary, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

An administration official said this month that Obama is considering Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, as the next possible CIA director.

Panetta took over at the CIA in February 2009.

Panetta, 72, served as chief of staff to President Clinton between 1994 and 1997. Previously he was director of the Office of Management and Budget. The California Democrat served in the House of Representatives from 1977 to 1993.

Before coming to the CIA, he spent 10 years co-directing a public policy institute with his wife, Sylvia.

The Obama administration is facing a complex shuffle throughout the rest of the year as key members of the president's national security team are set to depart -- including Gates, who has long wanted to retire.