Intel Chief to Step Down Following Terror Lapses

U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair was set to step down from his post today following multiple instances in which the nation's spy services failed to head off attempted extremist attacks, the Washington Post reported (see GSN, Feb. 3).

President Barack Obama informed Blair by telephone yesterday that new candidates were being sought to oversee the 16-agency U.S. intelligence community, prompting Blair to offer his resignation, said one official with knowledge of the communication.

It was "with deep regret that I informed the president today that I will step down," Blair said in a statement. Under President Obama, the nation's intelligence agencies had become "more integrated, agile, and representative of American values," he added.

Under Blair, the nation's intelligence apparatus had "performed admirably and effectively at a time of great challenges to our security," Obama said in a statement.

Blair's exit follows the U.S. failure to head off unsuccessful attempts to detonate explosives on a passenger aircraft landing in Detroit on Christmas Day last year and in New York City's Times Square this month. The resignation could call into question again the value of the national intelligence directorship, a job established in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to the Post. As its occupant Blair became bogged down in bureaucratic in-fighting with other officials, including CIA chief Leon Panetta

The White House is believed to be leading toward replacing Blair with Defense Undersecretary James Clapper (Greg Miller, Washington Post, May 21).

May 21, 2010
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U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair was set to step down from his post today following multiple instances in which the nation's spy services failed to head off attempted extremist attacks, the Washington Post reported (see GSN, Feb. 3).