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In conjunction with my previous post on Michele Flournoy — here’s a bigger picture. Despite Kerry being out of the game for now as he’s likely getting the job at State… // Sophia

CNN Security Clearance

By Mike Mount, CNN

One of the worst-kept secrets in Washington is that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will soon leave his post for a calmer life at his beloved Northern California ranch.

Panetta and those close to him have given no public indication he will leave upon the start of the next Obama administration, but people close to the defense secretary say Panetta is more than ready to retire from his long public service life.

Four choices to replace Panetta seem to be getting the most buzz as the announcement day gets closer.

Security Clearance talked to people inside the Department of Defense, on Capitol Hill and in the defense community about what each potential nominee could bring to the table, and what issues might work against them being chosen by the president for the top job.

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