President Barack Obama has settled on James Clapper, the Pentagon's top intelligence official, as his pick to oversee the nation's 16 spy agencies. Obama planned to announce the nomination of Clapper, a retired Air Force three-star general, as national intelligence director in a White House Rose Garden ceremony today. He would replace retired Adm. Dennis Blair, who resigned last month after frequent clashes with the White House.
The move comes despite objections by some lawmakers in both parties, who complain Clapper had been combative and sometimes obstructive under questioning on Capitol Hill. His critics also question whether the former general will have any sway in Obama's influential intelligence inner circle, which includes senior counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and CIA Director Leon Panetta. The position was created in 2004 to coordinate the 16 intelligence agencies to address the intelligence failures that led to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.