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Leon Panetta, the current CIA chief and Obama’s chosen replacement for outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, avoided getting too specific on the the size of next month’s planned withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan today when he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee for his confirmation hearing. Both Panetta and the president have indicated the pullout of troops would be “substantial,” a stark contrast in tone with Gates, who has repeatedly warned about a “rush to the exits.”

There’s almost no chance that Panetta’s nomination will get rejected–he did, after all, oversee the CIA operation that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden. [NYT]

 

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