January - April

Materials presented chronologically.

Ignatius, David. "A Surprise for Langley." Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2009, A15. []

Complementing Leon Panetta's nomination to head the CIA "is the choice of Dennis Blair to succeed [Mike] McConnell as DNI.... Obama's advisers say [Blair] will bring a 'light touch' to his new job of coordinating the intelligence community. They insist he won't try to duplicate CIA management functions, as McConnell was sometimes accused of doing. Blair's mission, according to Obama's advisers, will be to streamline the 2004 intelligence reorganization that created the DNI structure to oversee the nation's 16 intelligence agencies.... Blair is likely to move quickly to reduce the number of personnel and contractors in the DNI bureaucracy, and to make other changes that signal he wants a leaner and more disciplined organization."

Benson, Pam. "Nation's Chief Intelligence Officer Resigns." CNN, 27 Jan 2009. []

According to DNI Spokesman Ross Feinstein on 27 January 2009, DNI Michael McConnell "has resigned effective immediately." Feinstein said that "Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, the number three official in the DNI's office, will serve as acting director until a new one is confirmed.... No reason was given for [McConnell's] sudden departure." The retired admiral has "agreed to serve on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board." Booz Allen Hamilton has announced that McConnell will "be returning to the defense firm as a vice president. McConnell had left the firm in February 2006 to become the nation's second DNI."

CNN. "Blair Confirmed as Director of National Intelligence." 28 Jan. 2009. []

On 28 January 2009, the Senate "confirmed by unanimous consent" Adm. Dennis Blair for the position of Director of National Intelligence.

Hess, Pamela, and Anne Flaherty. "Controversial Ex-CIA Director Named to Spy Panel." Associated Press, 5 Feb. 2009. []

According to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), DNI Dennis Blair "has asked former CIA Director John Deutch, who was stripped of his security clearance nearly a decade ago for mishandling classified information, to sit on an advisory panel on spy satellites.... [C]oncerns about the appointment [were raised] at the confirmation hearing [on 5 February 2009] of Leon Panetta to become CIA director."

Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Public Affairs Office. "DNI Names New Chairman of the National Intelligence Council." ODNI News Release No. 06-09. Washington, DC: 26 Feb. 2009. []

DNI Dennis C. Blair has selected Ambassador Charles W. Freeman, Jr. to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC).

Office of the Director of National Intelligence, "Statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence," 10 Mar. 2009: DNI Dennis C. Blair announced on 10 March 2009 that "Ambassador Charles W. Freeman Jr. has requested that his selection" to be NIC Chairman "not proceed. Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman's decision with regret."

Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Public Affairs Office. "New Director of the Intelligence Staff Joins ODNI." ODNI News Release No. 08-09. Washington, DC: 11 Mar. 2009. []

Lt. Gen. John F. "Jeff" Kimmons has joined the ODNI "as director of the intelligence staff,... the third ranking official within the ODNI.... Kimmons succeeds Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess, Jr. recently appointed the 17th Director" of the DIA."

Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Public Affairs Office. "DNI Appoints First Director of Communications." ODNI News Release No. 10-09. Washington, DC: 11 Mar. 2009. []

"Arthur H. House ... will serve as the first Director of Communications" for the ODNI, reporting to DNI Dennis C. Blair. "Director Blair created the position to combine public affairs and legislative affairs functions to ensure consistent, effective communication to all audiences."

Benson, Pam. "Intel Chief Replaces Inspector General." CNN, 3 Apr. 2009. []

DNI Dennis Blair announced on 3 April 2009 that his office's inspector general, Edward Maguire, is being replaced by Justice Department official Roslyn Mazer.

CNN, 4 Apr. 2009, adds that Maguire has been the ODNI's first and only inspector general. Maguire told the HPSCI this week that the inspector general's office is "'not independent vis-a-vis the DNI because he can put us out of business. That is a substantial weakness in our ability to do work.'... The six-month delay between completing the report [in November 2008] and its delivery to Capitol Hill was a symptom of the office's lack of independence, Maguire said. It was held up by the DNI's 'front office,' he said."

See Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Public Affairs Office, "DNI Appoints New Inspector General," ODNI News Release No. 11-09 (Washington, DC: 3 Apr. 2009).

Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Public Affairs Office. "DNI Blair Announces Plan for the Next Generation of Electro-Optical Satellites." ODNI News Release No. 12-09. Washington, DC: 7 Apr. 2009. []

DNI Dennis C. Blair announced on 7 April 2009 that "the Office of the DNI along with the Department of Defense (DoD) have put together a plan to modernize the nation's aging satellite-imagery architecture by prudently evolving government-owned satellite designs and enhancing use of U.S. commercial providers."

Key features of the plan include: "Government-owned satellites would be developed, built and operated by the National Reconnaissance Office"; DoD and the Intelligence Community "would increase the use of imagery available through U.S. commercial providers"; and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency "would continue to provide the infrastructure that integrates capabilities as well as imagery products."

"Once Congress approves funding for the plan, implementation will begin in the next several months. The commercial imagery elements of the architecture would likely be operational in the next several years. The overall architecture would be fully deployed before the end of the next decade."

Washington Times. "[Editorial:] Not Very Intelligent." 13 Apr. 2009. []

The inspector general's report on the ODNI says that the office "has not served the intelligence needs of the nation." According to the report, the DNI "was unable to do his job because of an unwieldy number of overlapping layers of authority at the 16 different intelligence agencies he oversees. It also stated that the two previous [DNIs] spent too much time briefing the White House and Congress at the expense of actually managing the nation's intelligence apparatus....

"Adding more bureaucracy is not a way to effect change. The nation's intelligence failures before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were largely due to the existence of too many competing intelligence agencies that did not share information or work together. It is no surprise that yet another layer of bureaucracy hasn't made the intelligence community work."

Office of the Director of National Intelligence. "Statement by the Director of National Intelligence, Mr. Dennis C. Blair." Washington, DC: 21 Apr. 2009. []

Clark comment: This is DNI's statement with regard to the memos made public by the Justice Department on 16 April 2009, detailing the methods approved by the Bush administration for extracting information from Al Qaeda senior operatives.

"I recommended to the president that the administration release these memos, and I made clear that the CIA should not be punished for carrying out legal orders. I also strongly supported the president when he declared that we would no longer use enhanced interrogation techniques. We do not need these techniques to keep America safe.

"The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."

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