Obama's intelligence chief nominee faces Senate questioning

09:06, July 21, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee for director of national intelligence (DNI) James Clapper Tuesday faced the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, vowing to uphold the intelligence community's team work.

The committee began Clapper's confirmation hearing Tuesday. The undersecretary of defense for intelligence was tapped in June to fill the vacancy left by Dennis Blair, who resigned after a 16-months tenure marred by a series of intelligence blunders and in-fighting.

Clapper told Senators that intelligence is a team effort and the DNI is in a unique position to ensure that, "as the DNI can and must foster the collaboration and cooperation of the intelligence community."

He also said he believes the DNI has the authority to overrule the CIA director. During Blair's tenure, he and CIA director Leon Panetta fought a turf war.

In the hearing, Senators repeatedly referenced a Washington Post series of articles this week critical of lack of oversight for the intelligence community, and asked Clapper his opinion. He replied that he disagrees with the implication that the community is out of control, and said its reliance on congressional appropriations ensures that.

"I believe it is under control," he said. "The common denominator is appropriations, which are fairly exact. In the end, the intelligence community can do many things, but printing more money is not one of them. So, that does serve as means of control."

He said intelligence budgets should be more open, as "the American people are entitled to know the totality of the investment we make each year in intelligence."

During the hearing, Clapper also said the U.S. intelligence community must focus on emerging threats, such as those coming out of Africa.

If confirmed, Clapper will be the fourth director of national intelligence since the position was created in 2005.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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