Senate confirms Clapper as intell chief

James Clapper, Jr. will become the fourth director of national intelligence

The Senate has confirmed retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper as Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Clapper will oversee the country’s 16 intelligence agencies and their many information technology-related programs.

President Barack Obama nominated Clapper in June after Dennis Blair, Obama’s previous director of national intelligence, stepped down in May. The Senate confirmed Clapper Aug. 5.

Clapper will be the fourth DNI, a position that was created by a 2004 law that reorganized the intelligence community to better connect disparate pieces of information across different intelligence agencies. 


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Part of Clapper’s job will involve overseeing continuing IT-driven programs to improve information sharing between intelligence agencies. After a failed attempt last December’s to bomb an airplane, the Obama administration told the DNI to accelerate IT enhancements, such as database integration, knowledge discovery and cross-database searches.

Clapper will also face cybersecurity threats that Blair and his predecessor Mike McConnell often emphasized at public appearances during their tenures. Earlier this year Blair told a Senate panel that malicious cyber activity is growing at an unprecedented rate, severely threatening the nation's public and private information infrastructure.

Clapper has served as under secretary of defense for intelligence and previously as the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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