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James Clapper Nominated United States Director of National Intelligence — Head of Spy Agencies


President Barack Obama wants the Senate to act quickly to approve his nominee to head the nation’s spy agencies. He says his choice of Pentagon intelligence official James Clapper must not fall victim to Washington politics.

On June 5, 2010 President Barack Obama nominated James Clapper to replace Dennis C. Blair as United States Director of National Intelligence. On June 4, 2010, multiple news agencies reported that United States President Barack Obama was planning to nominate Clapper as the next Director of National Intelligence. Despite the report that Clapper was suggested to President Obama by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, both Chairwoman Diane Feinstein and Vice-Chairman Kit Bond of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have offered reservations regarding his appointment. Clapper was officially nominated by President Obama on June 5, 2010.

James R. Clapper, Jr. is a retired Lieutenant General in the United States Air Force and serves as Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence – USD(I). He is also dual-hatted as the first Director of Defense Intelligence within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Clapper has held several key positions within the United States Intelligence Community. He served as the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) from September 2001 until June 2006. Previously, he served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) from 1992 until 1995.


After a brief enlistment in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, General Clapper transferred to the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He was commissioned in 1963 as a distinguished military graduate from the University of Maryland. He commanded a signals intelligence detachment in Thailand (where he flew 73 combat support missions in EC-47s), a signals intelligence SIGINT wing at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, and the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. Clapper served as director of intelligence for three of the unified commands: U.S. Forces Korea, U.S. Pacific Command and Strategic Air Command. Also, he served as senior intelligence officer for the Air Force. Clapper’s final military post was as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. After this he briefly served as an executive in several private companies such as Booz Allen Hamilton and SRA International.

After his departure from NGA in June 2006, Clapper briefly served as the chief operating officer for Detica DFI, now a US-based subsidiary of BAE Systems. For the 2006-2007 academic year, Clapper held the position of Georgetown University’s Intelligence and National Security Alliance Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Intelligence. While teaching at Georgetown, Clapper was officially nominated by President George W. Bush to be Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence on 29 January, 2007. Clapper was confirmed by the United States Senate on 11 April 2007. He was only the second person to hold this position, which oversees and provides policy, program, and budgetary guidance to the defense intelligence agencies – DIA, NGA, the National Security Agency (NSA), and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) – and also works closely with the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).