June 5th, 2010
11:13 AM ET
8 years ago

Obama nominates Clapper

(CNN) - Calling him one of America's "most experienced and most respected intelligence professionals," President Barack Obama has nominated Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper to be the new director of national intelligence.

"He possesses a quality that I value in all my advisers, a willingness to tell leaders what we need to know, even if it's not what we want to hear," said Obama. He made the announcement in the Rose Garden with Clapper on Saturday.

Clapper, who retired from the Air Force in 1995 after a 32-year career, served as head of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency from September 2001 to June 2006.

Clapper, now a top Pentagon intelligence official, would replace Dennis Blair, who resigned at the end of last month. Obama said he'll be looking for Clapper "to ensure that we have the most capable and efficient intelligence community possible."

If confirmed, Clapper will become the nation's fourth DNI in the last five years. The position was created after the September 2001 terrorist attacks to oversee the 16 agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.

Obama said he's indicated to other Senate leaders that the confirmation should be carried out "swiftly."

"The Senate has voted to confirm Jim for senior positions on four separate occasions, and each time it has done so overwhelmingly," he said.

"This nomination can't fall victim to the usual Washington politics."

Some political observers have indicated that Clapper's prospects for confirmation on Capitol Hill, however, are questionable.

Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, recently said the "best thing for the U.S. intelligence community is to have someone with a civilian background in charge."

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Kit Bond, R-Missouri, said he has reservations about Clapper. "I believe he is too focused on the Defense Department issues and he has tried to block out efforts to give more authority to the DNI," Bond argued.

Bond's counterpart on the House side, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Michigan, also said he believes Clapper is the wrong person, because he is "not forthcoming, open or transparent" with Congress.

But Obama said: "Jim also understands the importance of working with our partners in Congress. As he has said, not merely to appear when summoned, to keep Congress informed and seek members' consent."

Blair, a retired admiral, was pressured to resign as DNI because of differences with the White House over the scope of his role and turf wars with CIA Director Leon Panetta and other members of the intelligence community. One source familiar with Blair's situation said that from the very beginning, "the White House did not have the same view (as Blair) of what the DNI should be."

Filed under: James Clapper
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    National Security – the Party of NO keeps showing our enemies that they will do nothing to help this nation. The Party of NO has joined the Taliban in Jihad against our entire nation.

    Vote the Party of NO OUT.

    June 5, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. seebofubar

    Obama and intelligence don't belong in the same sentence.

    June 5, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. Mike

    I would not want a job in this crooked administration. Time to throw all the bums out of the White House, get it fumigated and put someone in there who does not believe everything is President Bush's fault. The oil spill and owl gores separation are all his fault, what is next?

    June 5, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This ought to keep Steele and the GOP busy for a while. Thanks Mr. President for finding something else for them to sqawk about, they are just too idol and we all know idol minds are the devils workshop.

    June 5, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. ib

    GI Joe; your comments are way over the top. The party of no as you call it are the last ones that would join any group that is against our nation and I would say this about the democrats but the far left where in my opinion you are coming from makes me wonder about people that makes these kind of comments.

    June 5, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. GI Joe

    A nation divided . . . . . . . . . . . . falls.

    June 5, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. thor

    Obama presidency is looking more and more like the Carter one as each day passes.

    June 5, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. ThinkAgain

    I'm betting that the Republicans will stall and delay confirmation of retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, and then run ads saying that President Obama doesn't know how to keep our country safe.

    President Bush ignored the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing entitled, "Al Qaeda Determined to Attack the US Using Airplanes."

    And yet we're supposed to believe that Republicans can better defend our country?

    Wake up and smell the coffee, folks!

    June 5, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Randall in Torrance, CA -

    Maybe that will help. So far, the U.S. has made about ZERO progress on getting the hell out of no man's land in I-Wreck and Trashcanistan. Why can't the U.S. figure out where the bad guys are hiding? Maybe we should resort back to using Facolnry and have birds of prey deliver itty bitty hand written intel notes saying, "they're behind the rocks."

    June 5, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Len (Colorado)

    Dear ThinkAgain,

    You are totally correct. The Republicans will delay this confirmation. Folks...Obama still does not have a complete administration because of over 30 appointees being blocked by the Republicans.

    The Republicans......Democracy at its best!

    June 5, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    ib: The majority of Americans voted for President Obama; how do you justify the Republicans opposing everything he has tried to do?

    After 8 years of tried-and-failed Republican policies under Bush and Cheney:

    – a budget surplus was turned into a huge deficit
    – de-regulation nearly brought down the global financial markets
    – we had two unfunded wars (never in our nation's history were takes cuts made during wartime – NEVER!
    – the Middle Class dramatically shrank
    – the upper 2% of Americans received tax cuts, which they then invested overseas

    The list goes on and on and on – with FACTUAL evidence of the near-ruin Republicans left for President Obama to clean up!

    And yet Republicans want our nation to GO BACK to those tried-and-failed policies?!?

    How dumb do they (and apparently you) think we are?

    You and your ilk are the ones living in La-La Land and post comments that are way over the top!

    June 5, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Randall in Torrance, CA (USN - Retired) - Republicans and Intelligence - now that's a winning formula! Wink, wink, you betcha by golly gee.

    President Obama is light years ahead of anything the Republicans ever offered Intelligence related. I mean, just look what Jarge Bush conjured up in the Bucket 'o-Blood Saloon: Completely fabreictaed Intel and lies about WMD in I-Wreck. Maybe you StOoPid Republicans would prefer he nominate Republican Senatorial candidate Kirk from Illinois, who was a former Navy Intel officer and also worked on a classified EA6B Prowler mission and lied about the award he received for his efforts, but now apologizes for mischaracterizing his Intel record. Boo hoo. Does it hurt to be a liar like Retard of the Century, Jarge Bahoooosh? Yeah, Kirk is exactly what this country needs . . . . another lying Intelligence official, who happens to be Republican. America has been there and done that and believed and swallowed that lie WHOLE! Now look where we are. Certainly not at "Mission Accomplished" as Jarge Bush boasted and resulted in 4000+ U.S. troops (and counting) paying the ultimate price for Bush's lies. Obama could pick Opie from Mayberry, and even he would make a better choice than anyone the Republicans prefer in the top Intel seat.

    June 5, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. Terry

    President Obama could'nt "get tough" on a terrorist never mind on a major oil company

    June 5, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. Brenda

    I read an article from Newsweek-from about 1 week ago......The article stated that even the Dem Chuck Schumer was shocked, to learn that the Obama Admin did not have the Pakistan Taliban put on the terrorist watch list. How can this be-how incompetent can they be.

    I agree with others--I would NOT want to be part of this Administration. You will not be able to do your job correctly--and when something goes wrong-you will be the first person to be thrown under the bus.

    I still want to hear the information about why Blair 'really' resigned-I hope that he speaks out publicly very soon.

    June 5, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. Willa-PA

    "GI Joe June 5th, 2010 11:18 am ET

    National Security – the Party of NO keeps showing our enemies that they will do nothing to help this nation. The Party of NO has joined the Taliban in Jihad against our entire nation.

    Vote the Party of NO OUT."

    Correct, especially after the comment W made regarding doing waterboarding again and the he is not sorry, What does that say to the world, our soldiers are on the line because of him.

    As for "ib June 5th, 2010 11:44 am ET

    GI Joe; your comments are way over the top. The party of no as you call it are the last ones that would join any group that is against our nation and I would say this about the democrats but the far left where in my opinion you are coming from makes me wonder about people that makes these kind of comments."

    They are against our nation with all loony Palins, Becks, Limbaughs etc. Admit it. Rep Young stating that the oil dissaster is not a dissaster. Party of NO honor, NO compassion, not for mainstream Americans NO help, NO integrity and party of HYPOCRITES.

    June 5, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Jason

    You're all idiots.

    June 5, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. BillE

    The GOP had 8 years to do their job. How's that workin out for ya? Now get out of the way and let somebody else try!

    June 5, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. Shane-LAS VEGAS

    get me out of here before our nation crumbles

    June 5, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. james

    Obama is coming out the winner, each day passes by.
    Those who wish otherwise are becoming loosers everyday!!

    June 5, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. truth squad

    Gi Joe your party actively sabotaged the IRaq war effort for 4 years, rooting for failure, if not out-right advocating surrender. And what did they get for it? Almost 2 years of a filibuster proof majority they could not do much with.

    I also remember two Democrats going to Iraq siding with Saddam Hussein.

    As we saw during the Bush years Democrats fear Christians and "right-wingers" more than they do actual terrorists.

    Hillarious that Obama is in office 8 months longer than Bush when 9/11 hit yet Think again (who obviously does not) "thinks" it's Bush's fault we were attacked despite the fact that the attacks were planned for years and there was no real security measures in place to prevent the attack (Of course we did have a PC rule against "profiling" muslims). Then goes on about how it's still Bush's fault for every problem Obama has.

    You can't have it both ways, either Bush was at fault for 9/11 and Obama ownes the economic mess, the oil mess and the debacle in Afghanistan (he did use the useless "surge" tactic"). Or as common sense would dictate Bush was NOT responsible at all for 9/11, and Obama is largely not responsible for the economic mess.

    The truth is economic issues, budgets and all are congress, not President's responsibility. So it's interesting that the stock market nose-dived the moment Dems took control of Congress.

    BTW, I love that Clapper thing: Clap on, Clap off. Genius.

    June 5, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  21. Death Panel Sarah

    I guess 'ib' stands for 'ignorant butt'.....

    The 'thugs want Pres. Obama to fail to the point they actually DO want us to be attacked again, so they can get back in power.
    Their 'smokescreen' of protecting America is a political posture to get elected.....They really only care about the rich and big business! Everybody who supports them is being FOOLED!!!

    June 5, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. Death Panel Sarah

    To Mike......
    It will be hard to find someone who KNOWS(deep down inside) that it is NOT Bush's fault.
    Only the ones lying to themselves say this.(or just don't know any better. Kind of like a 'special needs' mother.)

    June 5, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  23. GuyinVA

    I know little of General Clapper, but the DNI position is pointless. The responsibility of coordinating and implementing intelligence policy should have been left to the Director of Central Intelligence. However, the DCI should have been given more authority to act on an interagency level. Unfortunately, no agency will allow their intelligence personnel to answer to the director of a different agency. That's where a president (regardless of party) has to step in and order it done... and fire leaders who then refuse to do it (and they WILL refuse to do it).

    The Office of the DNI is like the Department of Homeland Security. Both were created to do a job that someone else should have been allowed to do earlier. Only in government do we address the need to streamline operations to improve efficiency by adding layers of bureaucracy.

    June 5, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. GuyinVA

    ThinkAgain @ 11:51,

    The PDB was entitled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in U.S". It did state that Al Qaeda may hijack planes in order to gain the freedom of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (sp?). Not "attack using planes."

    I can't really blame you however. With the leftist media's determination to politically harm President Bush, I'm surprised more Americans don't believe the title was "Bin Ladin Planning to Hijack Four American Planes and Crash Them Into The World Trade Center Towers and The Pentagon on September 11, 2001."

    I hate to use a McCarthy like term, but the majority of the print and broadcast media in this country are like George Soros (owner and CEO of the Democrat Party)... they are subversive.

    June 5, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. Clint, Wa.

    seebofubar, isn't what you meant to say that GWB (garbage without brain) and intelligence don't belong in the same sentence.

    June 5, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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