Key senators miffed by intelligence pick
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and ranking member Kit Bond, R-Mo., are raising new concerns about President Obama's pick for director of national intelligence after learning of a memorandum he wrote opposing some provisions of the fiscal 2010 intelligence authorization bill.
Feinstein said retired Lt. Gen. James Clapper, who serves as undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, wrote a memo to the Senate Armed Services Committee in which he opposed some provisions in the fiscal 2010 intelligence authorization bill that would strengthen the DNI's position. Obama nominated Clapper on Monday.
"Here's a man who wants to be DNI who is for weakening the position. That's the concern," Feinstein said. A copy of the memo was not immediately available.
Bond said Clapper opposed provisions that would strengthen the DNI's position compared to the secretary of Defense and Pentagon.
Bond said he does not believe Clapper is the right choice for the job. Bond previously had concerns about Clapper and said the memo has amplified them. Bond would not say definitely that he would vote against Clapper.
Bond said Obama and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel called him to talk up Clapper's qualifications. "They said he has the full support of the [Senate Armed Services Committee] and secretary of Defense. I said that's precisely the problem," Bond said.