London's The Times newspaper ran a front-page story on its Web site saying Gen. Petraeus would be leaving Afghanistan by the end of the year and a search was underway for his replacement, Stars and Stripes reported.
The article quoted the Pentagon's press secretary, Geoff Morrell.
Within minutes of its appearance, folks in Washington were Twittering about the news and the Huffington Post carried a headline saying Petraeus was out.
That prompted Morrell to quickly release a clarifying statement.
"Despite some sensational speculation by one of the London papers, I can assure you General Petraeus is not quitting as ISAF commander," Morrell said, "but nor does he plan to stay in Afghanistan forever."
Morrell said at some point Gen. Petraeus will rotate out but that point "has not yet been determined."