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Petraeus resignation raises question of who successor will be

Deputy Director of the CIA, Michael Morell, and former Republican governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman, have been rumored to be on the short list for the post.

With the force of an earthquake, the announcement that Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus had resigned after admitting an extramarital affair came late Friday afternoon.

With the onetime commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and then Afghanistan informing President Obama of the news on Thursday, Petraeus??? resignation and its accompanying admission of the affair was kept under wraps for most of the following day — including at White House Press Secretary Jay Carney???s briefing for reporters, which followed the president???s own remarks on the nation’s fiscal situation.

Almost immediately, speculation began on who would succeed Petraeus at the Central Intelligence Agency, with the two most often-mentioned names being those of Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell and former Utah Gov. — and once Republican presidential hopeful — Jon Huntsman. Coming little more than a week after the CIA released a timeline on the events on Sept. 11 in Benghazi, which led to the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three Americans, Petraeus??? resignation also raises questions as to what he will say now about the incident as a private citizen when congressional investigations begin soon.

Much as Deputy Directors Richard Helms in 1965 and George Tenet in 1996 followed Agency heads who resigned amid controversy, Deputy Director Morell is considered the favorite to succeed Petraeus at the helm of the spy agency. Like Helms and Tenet, Morell is a career CIA man who has worked in the Middle East. He also headed the desks at the Agency dealing with the Pacific and Latin American regions, and was executive assistant to Tenet.

Huntsman’s name had surfaced earlier in the day as a possible successor to Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. Earlier this year, the former Utah governor made a bid for the Republican nomination for president but exited somewhat early because of his close identification with Democrat Obama, who had named him ambassador to China with considerable praise.

As politicians in both parties praised Petraeus for a lifetime of service and patriotism, virtually no one mentioned what the general himself called his ???unacceptable??? and ???extremely poor judgment??? that he says led him to this moment.

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John Gizzi has come to be known as ???the man who knows everyone in Washington??? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on what???s going on in the nation???s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as ???Gizzi on Politics??? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of ???Gizzi???s America,??? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. John???s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com