Negroponte to shift from top intel post to State Department

John Negroponte, the country's first director of national intelligence, will leave his post to become deputy secretary of State, NBC News reported Wednesday night.

The Associated Press, quoting a "government official," reported that "the timing of Negroponte's departure was uncertain but that it was expected soon."

President Bush nominated Negroponte as national intelligence chief in February 2005. The position was created in 2004 to manage the vast and often unwieldy federal intelligence apparatus, which included 15 different agencies.

A shift to the No. 2 role at the State Department would mark a return to Negroponte's diplomatic roots. Prior to his appointment as intelligence chief, he was a 37-year member of the Foreign Service, serving in eight different posts in Asia, Europe and Latin America from 1960 to 1997, when he left government for a brief stint in the private sector.

In 2001, Bush nominated Negroponte to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a position he held until May 2004, when he became the ambassador to Iraq.

As a career officer, Negroponte held three different ambassadorships, a record of service almost unheard of in the diplomatic corps.

In July 2006, Negroponte said the top priorities for his office have been institution building and information sharing. He cited accomplishments in helping to establish a new national security branch within the FBI, creating the National Counterterrorism Center, and working to strengthen the Homeland Security Department's Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

"At the procedural level, providing better intelligence support for homeland security also means facilitating the multi-directional flow of information, particularly terrorism related information," he said.

NBC News reported that Negroponte's likely successor is retired Adm. Mike McConnell, director of the National Security Agency from 1992 to 1996.

Shane Harris and Chris Strohm contributed to this report.

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