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Bush Praises New National Intelligence Director, Deputy

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2005 – President Bush today praised new National Intelligence Director John D. Negroponte and principal deputy intelligence director, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, during the officials' swearing-in ceremonies held here.

The position of national intelligence director "is one of the newest in the government" as well as "one of the most demanding," Bush remarked at the New Executive Office Building.

Congress created the director of national intelligence position last year in addressing recommendations made by the commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. The DNI is now the nation's top official responsible for intelligence operations.

Bush said Negroponte "has what it takes" to ensure "that our intelligence agencies work as a single unified enterprise." The president added that the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and most recently, to Iraq, also serves as his primary intelligence advisor.

Negroponte "is fortunate to count on an experienced and capable deputy in General Mike Hayden," Bush pointed out. Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency "understands the intelligence community from the ground up," Bush said.

And Negroponte and Hayden will rely "on the thousands of dedicated professions working in our intelligence community," Bush noted, who labor "to protect our fellow citizens from harm."

The new DNI already has "assembled a strong leadership team that reflect a wide range of skills and intelligence experience," Bush observed. Negroponte will "ensure the sharing of information among agencies and establish common standards for the intelligence community's personnel," the president pointed out.

Bush said Negroponte and Hayden will "continue the structural reforms of our intelligence community" that began after the Sept. 11 attacks. The "vast majority" of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations have been implemented, Bush said, "through executive orders and the intelligence reform bill I signed last December."

After thanking Bush for the opportunity to lead the intelligence community, Negroponte said the DNI position represents "a challenge."

Negroponte exhibited optimism, however, noting he was "reassured by the fact that I will be supported by tens of thousands of patriotic professionals in the intelligence community who have dedicated their lives, often at great personal risk, to the defense of our country and all that it stands for."

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