US President George W Bush has chosen Congressman Porter Goss to be the new director of the CIA.
Goss was among those widely tipped for the CIA job
Mr Goss, a Republican who heads the House of Representatives intelligence committee, must gain Senate approval.
Several Democrats condemned the choice of a Republican, though presidential candidate John Kerry was more cautious.
The move comes after a bi-partisan panel highlighted intelligence failures ahead of the 11 September 2001 attacks, and recommended wide-ranging reforms.
Mr Goss, 65, is a former officer with US army intelligence and the CIA.
He represents a Florida district and has served in Congress since 1989.
Announcing the appointment on Tuesday, Mr Bush said Mr Goss was the "right man" to head the agency.
PAST CIA DIRECTORS
George Tenet, 1997-2004
John Deutch, 1995-1996
James Woolsey, 1993-1995
Robert Gates, 1991-1993
William Webster, 1987-1991
William Casey, 1981-1987
Stansfield Turner, 1977-1978
George Bush Sr, 1976-1977
"Porter Goss is a leader with strong experience in
intelligence and in fighting against terrorism," he said.
Mr Goss said he was looking forward "to the challenges of the future".
He is due to replace former director George Tenet, who stood down, citing personal reasons, before the commission investigating the 11 September attacks issued its report.
The panel blamed intelligence bodies, including the CIA, for failing to predict or avert the hijackings.
Winning confirmation in the Senate for Mr Goss may not be straightforward, correspondents say.
Some senior Democrats have voiced reservations at Mr Bush's choice. Senator Jay Rockefeller, vice-chairman of the Senate 9/11 commission, said picking a partisan candidate was "a mistake".
"Having independent, objective intelligence going to the president and the Congress is fundamental to America's national security," he said.
Former CIA chief Stansfield Turner, who is backing John Kerry in November's presidential election, called it "a terrible appointment".
Established by the National Security Act of 1947
Based in Langley district of McLean, Virginia
Overseen by Congress
Budget and employees numbers classified in interest of national security
Last released budget for all US government intelligence activities in 1998 was $26.7bn
Mr Kerry himself was more cautious, calling only for confirmation hearings to get under way quickly.
He urged the president to adopt all the findings of the 9/11 commission, especially the appointment of a national security director.
"We need to move urgently on this and other recommendations by
the 9/11 commission to make America safer," he said.
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he broadly supported the idea of a new director, but warned against rushing to shake up the intelligence services without proper consideration of the consequences.
The BBC's Dan Griffiths in Washington says it is not clear yet whether a significant number of Democrats in the Senate support Senator Rockefeller's views and are likely to oppose Mr Goss' appointment.
But if they do, it will leave President Bush in a difficult position, he says, facing a tough congressional battle only months before America goes to the polls.