The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


44 The Obama Presidency

Blair 'Definitely' the Next DNI, Say Congressional Officials

By Joby Warrick
President-elect Barack Obama has settled on retired Adm. Dennis Blair to fill the nation's top intelligence job, congressional officials knowledgeable about the decision said today.

Blair, the former commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, would become the nation's third director of national intelligence, succeeding Mike McConnell as the leader of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. He had been the rumored front-runner for the job for several weeks.

"It's definitely Blair," said one congressional official who had been briefed on the selection. Both sources spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Obama transition team declined comment.

Blair, if confirmed in the post, would be the second retired naval flag officer to hold the post, after McConnell. Some members of Congress, in internal discussions with the Obama team, had objected to the appointment of another career military officer to head the country's civilian-run intelligence establishment.

Ultimately, however, resistance to the selection faded as Blair impressed Republican and Democratic lawmakers with his knowledge of the intelligence agencies and ideas for streamlining and improving the often unwieldy U.S. intelligence apparatus, the sources said. Blair had served during the Clinton administration as a military liaison at the CIA in charge of coordinating intelligence between the spy agency and Pentagon.

Posted at 4:44 PM ET on Dec 18, 2008  | Category:  44 The Obama Presidency
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