James R. Clapper Jr., a former Air Force lieutenant general, is shown looking askance in this 2009 photo.
The job that James R. Clapper Jr. may take over from his could-be predecessor, Dennis C. Blair, is not an easy one—in fact, it has been described by insiders as “the second-toughest in Washington,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Yes, Clapper is closing in on the daunting position of our nation’s national intelligence director, which may involve tense interactions with the president along with those pesky national security emergencies, but certain operatives think he may be the man for the job. —KA
Los Angeles Times:
The director does not have operational control over any of the 16 agencies he nominally oversees. The post frequently overlaps with existing intelligence fiefdoms and has little power to overcome those more politically connected agencies. Blair reportedly often lost out to CIA chief Leon E. Panetta and White House security advisor John Brennan in disputes over administrative priorities.
But Defense Department officials said that Clapper has skills to succeed in the post where others have failed and would be able to cajole the various intelligence agencies to work together.
“Clapper’s power is knowing how to work the system, knowing how the intelligence bureaucracy works and effectively managing it,” said a senior Defense Department official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. “That is exactly what this position needs. It doesn’t need a strong personality out there vying with Panetta.”