Vacant Intel jobs evoke concerns over US ability to diffuse new terror plots

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Capitol Hill (Washington) June 26 (ANI): The vacancies in the United States' intelligence leadership, including the director of national intelligence and his chief deputies, are raising alarms over a potential "train wreck" of vulnerability, intelligence sources and others in Capitol Hill have said.

According to a Fox News report, a senior Republican on the House intelligence committee has said that the goal of the national director is to maximize assets across the intelligence community, which is not happening because the position, the nation's top intelligence official, is now subordinate to the White House counter terrorism adviser John Brennan.

"The other DNIs have always been very, very professional. They've never been political. Under this administration, John Brennan has politicized intelligence. That's the danger here," the report quoted Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, as saying.

The vacancy was created last month when the previous Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair was forced out after a series of apparent intelligence failures raised questions about the country's preparedness for detecting and stopping new terror plots.

The president's choice to replace Blair is James Clapper, a retired Air Force general and currently the top intelligence official within the defense department, but he still needs to be confirmed by the Senate, the report said.

The issue according to some aides on the hill is whether work on the intelligence authorization bill will stall the Clapper confirmation, the report added.

According to Sen. Feinstein, there has not been an intelligence authorization bill for five years, and without one, she believes the powerful intelligence committee is at risk "of becoming paper tigers.

According to the report, currently, the bill, which deals with a number of issues, including congressional notification, has the green light from Feinstein, Sen. Kit Bond, the ranking Republican on her committee, and Rep. Sylvester Reyes, chairman of the House committee, as well as White House officials.

However, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was the ranking Democratic member of the House intelligence committee during the 9/11 attacks, believed that some issues still need to be resolved.

Although Feinstein believes the Clapper nomination and the intelligence authorization bill can move forward in tandem, others question whether significant progress can be made on both before the August recess. (ANI)

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