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Negroponte Nominated To Become Director of National Intelligence

Nomination will have to be confirmed by the Senate

17 February 2005

By Merle D. Kellerhals, Jr.
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- President Bush has nominated U.S. Ambassador John D. Negroponte to become the nation's first director of national intelligence, overseeing the nation's 15 separate intelligence agencies.

Negroponte, a career foreign service officer, has been serving as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq since June 2004.  From 2001 until his current appointment in Iraq, Negroponte was the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations.

"John's nomination comes at an historic moment for our intelligence services.  In the war against terrorists who target innocent civilians and continue to seek weapons of mass murder, intelligence is our first line of defense," Bush said at a February 17 White House ceremony announcing the nomination.

Negroponte said he looks forward to providing new direction and management to the intelligence community in "what will no doubt be the most challenging assignment I have undertaken in more than 40 years of government service."

"Providing timely and objective national intelligence to you [the president], the Congress, the departments and agencies, and to our uniformed military services is a critical national task; critical to our international posture, critical to the prevention of international terrorism, and critical to our homeland security," he said following the president's remarks.

Negroponte's nomination now goes to the U.S. Senate for confirmation.  The Senate Select Intelligence Committee will conduct a confirmation hearing before sending the nomination to the full Senate.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts praised the choice of Negroponte for the new position and promised a quick confirmation hearing as soon as the ambassador is able to leave his duties in Iraq.

Bush also announced that Air Force Lieutenant General Michael Hayden, director of the National Security Agency, would become Negroponte's deputy director.

The director of national intelligence (DNI) will hold broad, strategic authority over the 15 U.S. intelligence agencies, their budgets, personnel and missions.

In announcing Negroponte's nomination, Bush said it would nevertheless take time for this new management culture to become established, and especially to establish a different way of approaching the budgetary process.

Previously, the CIA director also served as the director of central intelligence and head of the U.S. intelligence community.  But with the creation of the DNI, the CIA director lost that authority.

"The relationship between John [Negroponte] and the CIA director [currently Porter J. Goss] is going to be a vital relationship.  The relationship between the CIA and the White House is a vital relationship," Bush said.

Negroponte was confirmed May 6, 2004, by the Senate to serve as ambassador to Iraq, and he presented his credentials to the Iraqi Interim Government on June 29 of that year.

From 1997 to 2001, Negroponte was employed in the private sector.  And from 1960 to 1997, he was a member of the career Foreign Service.  He served at eight different U.S. embassies in Asia, Europe and Latin America, and he also held positions at the State Department’s headquarters and the White House.

The DNI position was established December 17, 2004, when Bush signed into law the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.  The legislation was designed to implement recommendations from the 9/11 Commission that investigated the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

The DNI will develop and determine an annual budget for the national intelligence program, based on budget proposals from the respective agencies.  U.S. law allows the DNI -- based on intelligence priorities set by the president -- to provide budget guidance to the heads of all intelligence agencies.

However, the law leaves most of the Defense Department intelligence programs' spending -- which amounts to approximately 80 percent of the annual intelligence budget -- under the control of the Pentagon.

Under the law designed to restructure the nation's intelligence community, the DNI will act as principal advisor to the president, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for foreign and domestic intelligence matters relating to national security.

The director, whose office will be separate from any current intelligence agency or the Executive Office of the President, will ensure that appropriate agencies and departments have access to and receive intelligence support needed to carry out their own missions as well as to perform independent competitive analysis.

Under the law, the DNI will monitor the implementation and execution of intelligence operations but would not be directly in charge of the CIA's clandestine operations. 

The Intelligence Reform law also established a National Counterterrorism Center and gave it authority to plan intelligence missions and counterterrorism operations.  The center is designed to serve as the primary organization for analyzing and integrating all U.S. intelligence pertaining to terrorism and counterterrorism, and to conduct strategic operational planning for the global War on Terrorism.

The current intelligence community structure -- a federation of executive branch agencies and organizations working separately and together -- remains intact as created by the 1947 National Security Act to conduct intelligence activities, though all of them will report to the new DNI.

The 15 member agencies of the intelligence community include the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps intelligence organizations; the Central Intelligence Agency; Coast Guard Intelligence; Defense Intelligence Agency; intelligence units in the departments of Energy, Homeland Security, State, and Treasury; Federal Bureau of Investigation; National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; National Reconnaissance Office; and National Security Agency.