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Reports: Bush's Iraq Ambassador To Be Next Ambassador To Afghanistan

Tom Bowman on All Things Considered

The Associated Press, Washington Postand a few other news outlets are following up this morning on reporting done earlier this month by NPR's Tom Bowman about a shake-up in the Obama administration's national security team.

As Tom reported for us on April 4, President Obama is expected to announce that CIA Director Leon Panetta is his choice to replace the soon-to-retire Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon. And the president is expected to tap Army Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, to run the CIA. Also as Tom has previously reported, Petraeus' replacement in Afghanistan is expected to be Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen.

The new wrinkle this morning, according to the reports, is that Ryan Crocker will be named to be the next U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan, replacing Karl Eikenberry.

Crocker was ambassador to Iraq during the last years of the George W. Bush adminstration. He and Petraeus have gotten much of the credit for the success of the "surge" in Iraq.

As the conservative Hot Air blog notes this morning, if all this happens, the Obama team will include or have included "Bush's top Iraq commander [Petraeus] ... Bush's secretary of defense [Gates] ... and Bush's old Iraq ambassador [Crocker]."

Both the Post and AP say the announcements will be made this week, possibly on Thursday.

Update at 6:41 p.m. ET. NPR's Pentagon Correspondent Tom Bowman spoke with Michele Norris this afternoon. We'll post the whole conversation, but one of the interesting pieces of analysis from Tom is that Panetta is not only being chosen to lead the Department of Defense because of his political skills, but because he has budget experience. Obama has proposed a $400 billion cut in defense spending and Tom says Panetta is probably the guy to do it.

Update at 1 p.m. ET, April 28:Sorry, due to a technical glitch, we had the wrong audio attached to this post earlier. The problem should be fixed now.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.