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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 February, 2005, 16:05 GMT
Bush names new intelligence chief
John Negroponte speaks at the US embassy in Baghdad
Mr Negroponte has been ambassador to the UN and to Iraq
President George W Bush has nominated John Negroponte as the first US director of national intelligence.

Mr Negroponte, a career diplomat, is currently the US ambassador to Iraq.

The commission which investigated the failure to foresee the 2001 attacks recommended one person be put in charge of all US intelligence operations.

The intelligence director will oversee all 15 US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and FBI, but some have warned the job lacks real powers.

Announcing the nomination, Mr Bush said the job was a vital part of US counter-terror operations.

John understands America's global intelligence needs because he has spent the better part of his life in the nation's foreign service
George W Bush

"If we are going to stop the terrorists before they strike, we have to ensure that the intelligence agencies work as a single unified enterprise," Mr Bush said.

He praised Mr Negroponte's credentials for the job.

"John understands America's global intelligence needs because he has spent the better part of his life in the nation's foreign service."

Accepting the nomination, Mr Negroponte said it would be "undoubtedly the most challenging assignment I have undertaken in more than 40 years of government service".

Mr Negroponte will take primary responsibility for delivering the president's daily intelligence briefing, Mr Bush said - and will set budgets for the intelligence agencies.

Mr Bush admitted that Mr Negroponte might have difficulty wresting control of military intelligence from the Pentagon - which controls 80% of the US intelligence budget.

Overhaul

President Bush signed a law creating the post in December, in the most comprehensive overhaul of US spying operations in 50 years.

Your successes will remain secret, while your mistakes will all be public
Former Senator David Boren
Critics had begun to complain that the post had remained vacant for too long.

There have been reports that a number of candidates had turned the job down - and former CIA head Robert Gates has said publicly that he did so.

A former senator told the New York Times the job was an unenviable one.

"Your successes will remain secret, while your mistakes will all be public," former Senator David Boren told the newspaper.

Mr Negroponte became US ambassador to Iraq in July, after having been his country's envoy to the United Nations.

There has reportedly been little discussion of who will replace him in Baghdad.

Mr Negroponte's nomination must be confirmed by the Senate before he takes office.

Mr Bush nominated National Security Agency Director Lt Gen Michael Hayden to be Mr Negroponte's deputy.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Challenges ahead in the job few people wanted



SEE ALSO:
Bush passes US intelligence bill
17 Dec 04 |  Americas
Spy chiefs face uncertain times
08 Dec 04 |  Americas
Profile: John Negroponte
17 Feb 05 |  Americas



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