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Petraeus sworn in as CIA chief

07 September, 2011

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WASHINGTON: Six days after hanging up his uniform, talismanic US general David Petraeus ended his brief retirement Tuesday as he was sworn in as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Vice President Joe Biden officiated at the ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, at which Petraeus appeared not in his familiar olive, bemedalled dress uniform but in a business suit with a burgundy tie.

Petraeus, 58, responding to questions about whether he will be too close to the military as CIA chief, has said he will not retain his uniform or ex-army aides and will adapt the more informal civilian bearing of the spy agency.

"We're doing this today in the Roosevelt Room because there's literally no time to waste. The president wants him on the job," Biden said.

"Duty, honor and country. The day I met you in Afghanistan, those words came to mind. You have had a truly distinguished career, general. You've excelled in every single thing you've done," Biden told Petraeus, with whom he has differed on some aspects of war strategy.

Petraeus, mastermind of the US troop surge strategy in Iraq, officially retired on Wednesday after a 37-year military career which ended with him serving as commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan.

"Thanks to President Obama for his confidence in an old soldier. I had a great retirement. That's been a terrific week," Petraeus quipped.

The ceremony was attended by Petraeus's wife Holly, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and John Brennan, President Barack Obama's top White House anti-terrorism advisor.

End.

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