Bush’s former Iraq and U.N. ambassador, John Negroponte, currently the director of national intelligence, is expected to accept a tacit demotion in order to become Condoleezza Rice’s deputy at the State Department. As if shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, the president continues to shift a cast of familiar characters he’s come to rely on to implement his failed policies.
New York Times:
Mr. Negroponte will fill a critical job that has been vacant for months, and he is expected to play a leading role in shaping policy in Iraq. But his transfer is another blow to an intelligence community that has seen little continuity at the top since the departure of George J. Tenet in 2004 as director of central intelligence.
Mr. Negroponte had been brought to the intelligence job to help restore credibility and effectiveness to agencies whose reputations were badly damaged by failures related to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and mistaken prewar assessments of Iraq’s illicit weapons. He has maintained a low public profile but provides Mr. Bush with a briefing most mornings.
President Bush has hailed the establishment of the intelligence post as an essential step in helping prevent another terrorist attack. On paper, the director of national intelligence outranks the deputy secretary of state, raising questions about why the White House would seek—and why Mr. Negroponte would agree to—the shift.
The move, expected to be announced this week, comes as the president prepares to announce a new strategy for Iraq as sectarian violence worsens there and approval ratings sag at home.
The administration has had great difficulty filling the State Department position. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has asked several people who have turned down the post, according to senior State Department officials.
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