(CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates praised national intelligence director nominee James Clapper on Sunday, telling reporters that President Barack Obama "could not have found a better person" for the job.
Speaking to reporters on a trip through Asia, Gates said Clapper - currently a Pentagon intelligence official - has good ties with leaders of other U.S. spy agencies and with the congressional committees that oversee them.
"He is the consummate intelligence professional who has the respect of virtually everybody in the community," Gates said.
"I think the president could not have found a better person, more experienced person, or with a better temperament to do this job and actually make it work, than Jim Clapper," he added.
(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.
Washington (CNN) - President Obama plans to nominate retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper to be the new director of national intelligence, a senior U.S. defense official confirmed to CNN Friday.
Clapper, now a top Pentagon intelligence official, would replace Dennis Blair, who resigned at the end of last month.
The announcement will be made Saturday at the White House, the official said.
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.
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. He has served as the under secretary of defense for intelligence since April 2007.
Some political observers have indicated that Clapper's prospects for confirmation on Capitol Hill, however, are questionable.