Senate panel approves intel chief nominee

Nomination goes to the full Senate next week.

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday unanimously approved James Clapper, President Obama's choice for director of national intelligence.

Clapper's nomination goes to the full Senate, where his confirmation may face delays from some Republican senators unhappy with House Democrats' handling of the intelligence authorization bill, the Associated Press reported.

Obama nominated Clapper, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who has been the Defense Department's chief intelligence official, in June to succeed retired Adm. Dennis Blair. The third U.S. intelligence chief, Blair stepped down under pressure after clashing with other intelligence officials.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she "initially had reservations" about Clapper, but that her doubts were "overcome by his experience and leadership ability."