McConnell Nominated as National Intelligence Director

Associated Press
Friday, January 5, 2007; 9:53 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush nominated an intelligence veteran, former National Security Agency Director Mike McConnell, to be the country's second national intelligence director. In a reshuffling of his national security team, Bush also chose his former top spymaster, John Negroponte, to be deputy secretary of state.

"Each of them will do good work in their new positions and it is vital that they take up their new responsibilities promptly," Bush said on Friday.

Bush said he was confident that McConnell would "give me the best information and analysis that America's inteligence community can provide."

Negroponte called his new job, "an opportunity of a lifetime."

McConnell said he looked forward to returning to the intelligence community.

Speaking to the new Congress in Democratic control, Bush said, "I would hope that Negroponte and McConnell will be confirmed as quickly as possible."

The moves come as part of the White House effort to chart a new direction on Iraq and reshape Bush's national security strategy with two years left in his presidency.

Part of the new course appears to be a renovation of Bush's intelligence and national security team. In addition to Negroponte's shift, Defense Secretary Robert Gates took over the Pentagon last month and is expected to bring in retired Lt. Gen. James Clapper as his undersecretary for intelligence.

If confirmed, McConnell said he looks forward to building on the accomplishments of Negroponte and his team, who have been in place just 20 months.

"Unlike just a decade ago, the threats of today and the future are moving at increasing speeds and across organizational and geographic boundaries," McConnell said, standing alongside Bush, Negroponte and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

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