News / USA

Obama Picks Pentagon Spy Chief to Lead US Intelligence

Multimedia

Audio
Kent Klein

U.S. President Barack Obama has chosen the Defense Department's head of intelligence to oversee the nation's 16 intelligence agencies.  Retired Air Force General James Clapper is the president's choice to be the new Director of National Intelligence.

President Obama says General Clapper is one of the nation's most experienced and most respected intelligence professionals.

"He has improved information-sharing, increased intelligence support to our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, upheld civil liberties, and he played a key role in our effort to update and reorient our intelligence community to meet the threats of our time," said President Obama.

If approved by the Senate, Clapper would be the fourth Director of National Intelligence.  Retired Admiral Dennis Blair resigned last month after a series of conflicts with the White House.

Mr. Obama introduced his nominee Saturday in a brief speech in the White House Rose Garden.

Clapper spoke for only 40 seconds, saying nominees for Director of National Intelligence (DNI) are "better seen than heard."

"We have the largest, most capable intelligence enterprise on the planet, and it is the solemn, sacred trust in the DNI to make that enterprise work," he said.

Clapper has spent several decades in military intelligence.  He led the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which analyzes images taken from above.  He also headed the Defense Intelligence Agency, which often works closely with the CIA.

Clapper is known for being blunt and direct.  His manner has won praise in the military, but some of the lawmakers who will decide whether he is confirmed say he is not cooperative enough.

President Obama says Clapper's no-nonsense style will be an asset in his new job.

"He possesses a quality that I value in all my advisors: a willingness to tell leaders what we need to know, even if it is not what we want to hear," added President Obama.

Mr. Obama admits that coordinating the activities of 16 U.S. spy agencies is a major challenge, but he believes Clapper will be able to do so.

"In short, our intelligence community needs to work as one integrated team that produces quality, timely and accurate intelligence.  And let us be honest, this is a tough task.  But this will be Jim's core mission, he is eminently qualified, and he has my complete confidence and support," Obama explained.

The president says the U.S. intelligence community has vastly improved since the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon in 2001.  But he says December's incident in which a Nigerian man boarded a jet headed for Detroit with explosives hidden in his underwear shows that more work lies ahead.

Mr. Obama is calling on the Senate to quickly approve General Clapper's nomination.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More