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Bush Names Retired Admiral as Director of National Intelligence

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2007 – President Bush today named retired Navy Vice Adm. J. Michael McConnell as the director of national intelligence to succeed John Negroponte.

Bush also nominated Negroponte, who has held the post for almost two years, to become deputy secretary of the State Department.

McConnell will bring solid “experience, intellect and character” to the DNI position, Bush said. He cited McConnell’s service as director of the National Security Agency from 1992 to 1996 and as the chief intelligence advisor to Gen. Colin Powell, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during Operation Desert Storm.

“Admiral McConnell has decades of experience ensuring that our military forces had the intelligence they need to fight and win wars,” the president said. He also noted McConnell’s proven ability to work with Congress and the White House.

Bush said this experience will be critical for the important position he has called on McConnell to fill. As DNI, he will be responsible for determining the national intelligence budget, overseeing the collection and analysis of intelligence information, ensuring that intelligence agencies share information with each other and creating common standards for intelligence community personnel.

 

Negroponte, a career federal service officer returning to the State Department, praised the state of U.S. intelligence and said he’s confident McConnell will continue building on improvements already under way. The U.S. intelligence community “has embraced the challenge of functioning as a single, unified enterprise, and reaffirmed the fact that it is the best intelligence community in the world -- second to none,” Negroponte said.

McConnell said he’s honored for the opportunity to lead the intelligence community and recognizes the importance of providing “the right information to the right decision maker in the right time and format.”

“Unlike just a decade ago, the threats of today and the future are moving at increasing speeds and across organizational and geographic boundaries,” he said. “This will require increased coordinated responsiveness by our community of intelligence professionals.”

McConnell said he hopes to continue improving processes “to provide the needed information for tactical, operational and strategic decision making.”

The president praised Negroponte for his service as the nation’s first DNI and the first U.S. ambassador to a free Iraq and called him “a superb choice” for the No. 2 State Department post.

“I'm confident the United States Senate will also see the value of these two serving in crucial positions, and I would hope that they would be confirmed as quickly as possible,” Bush said.

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