January 28th, 2009
04:24 PM ET
4 years ago

Senate Committee endorses Blair as new intel chief

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Intelligence Committee voted Wednesday to send the nomination of retired Adm. Dennis Blair as the nation's chief intelligence officer to the full Senate for consideration.

By a unanimous vote, the committee gave its approval to President Barack Obama's choice to be the next director of national intelligence. The Senate is expected to confirm Blair before the end of the week.

"As our next director of national intelligence, he will ensure this country continues to play offense against the terrorists that threaten our way of life," said Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri, the committee's ranking Republican.

Blair is a retired four-star admiral who served 34 years in the Navy and ran the military's Pacific Command. He is credited with overseeing successful counterterrorism operations in the Philippines during that time.

He faced little opposition during his Senate confirmation hearing last week. Much of the questioning focused on Obama's decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center and revise the CIA's rules for detaining and interrogating suspected terrorists.

Blair, 61, was a 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and attended Oxford University in Britain as a Rhodes Scholar at the same time as president-to-be Bill Clinton. He retired from the Navy in 2002.

He was the CIA's first associate director of military support and served on the National Security Council.

Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, the No. 3 official in the DNI's office, is serving as acting director until a new one is confirmed. Former Director Michael McConnell resigned Tuesday after the defense consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton announced that he would return to the company as a vice president.

McConnell left the firm in February 2007 to become the nation's second director of national intelligence.

The DNI office was created in late 2004 as part of the effort to improve intelligence gathering after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States and the faulty intelligence on Iraq weapons of mass destruction.

- CNN National Security Producer Pam Benson contributed to this report


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soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Scott

    As for the Secretary of Homeland Security , she's bringing along her girlfriend to DC and setting her up with a cushy job in the dept.

    January 28, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Soccer Nana

    Congratulations Admiral Blair!

    January 28, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. CAMEROON/WEST AFRICA

    HE HAS SHOWN THE RIGHT JUDGEMENT AGAIN.

    January 28, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  4. uncle jimbo - Chicago

    What a supurb cabinet Pres. Obama has put together. Experienced people from both sides of the isle, not just a bunch of inexperienced partisan cronies like the previous.
    God has Blessed America with a new beginning.

    January 28, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Dawn

    Way to go, we as American should feel safe that the Government won't spy on us...

    January 28, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  6. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I salute you Admiral Blair along with our CIC President Obama.

    January 28, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. linda from South Dakota

    i agree jimbo,, president obama,, thought long and hard about this,, and ,, in time,, it will be fixed,,,,,,,, support him and be patient

    January 28, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  8. Ernie in LA

    uncle jimbo – chicago , Being from Chicago you should certainly know an inexperienced cronie when you see one.

    January 28, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  9. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    We shall see. American president has his plate full with Pacific Island Forum leaders dealing with an unprecedented situation push for changes in Fiji, the middle-east crisis and the rest of the Asian countries problems on top of US economic crisis. Will the best and the brightest deliver again? I doubt it.

    January 28, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  10. bsmith171

    the NAVY is not really part of the military it is more of the old plantation system.

    just ask the more slave holding MCCAIN family.

    January 28, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  11. Simmy

    Let's get it on. It's time to be about the business of healing this great country. Love it.

    January 28, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |