Retired Admiral Will Be Next Spy Chief

Blair gets national intelligence post; CIA spot still open
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Dec 19, 2008 10:33 AM CST
President-elect Barack Obama speaks to the media on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama will stick with the front-runner and name retired Admiral Dennis Blair to be his go-to guy on spying as director of national intelligence, reports the Washington Post. Blair, the former commander of naval forces in the Pacific, is generally well-regarded. Some in the civilian intelligence community grumbled about a second consecutive Navy boss, but Blair has shown knowledge and innovative ideas about intelligence issues.

Controversies dot Blair’s record, however, including a conflict-of-interest fracas and his support of a violent Indonesian military action. Obama took a longer time to make this choice, possibly reflecting his own unfamiliarity with intelligence issues. Likewise, nobody is quite sure where Obama is headed on choosing a CIA chief. His expected choice ruled himself out under charges he was too closely linked with Bush policies such has harsh interrogations.