The Decision Makers: Intelligence Agencies

A look at the leaders of the agencies that make up the federal intelligence community.

The director of national intelligence is the president's primary intelligence adviser, responsible for coordinating the activities of the 15 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and intelligence activities within other departments and military offices. The CIA correlates, evaluates, and disseminates intelligence that affects national security. John Negroponte
Director of National Intelligence

When Negroponte left his job as U.S. ambassador to Iraq to become the first director of national intelligence, he barely reduced his exposure to cross fire. But he has quickly, quietly begun reshaping the intelligence community. He has assumed the role of Bush's chief adviser on intelligence and delivers the President's Daily Brief. He has instructed CIA chiefs of station that they will be his eyes and ears in the field. And he's filling top positions in his office with respected veterans of the intelligence community. What will happen when Negroponte goes toe-to-toe with the Pentagon on budget and policy issues is unknown, although he seems to have successfully protested an effort by one of its top congressional allies to curb his authority over intelligence personnel.

Negroponte's challenge, according to 9/11 commission member John Lehman, is to avoid "being dragged into old wars and grudges and internecine turf disputes, rather than doing the dramatic and even revolutionary work that needs to be done in changing our intelligence establishment." He added, "The DNI's principal responsibility ... was to change this culture to [one] that attracts and holds bright, innovative, creative, and risk-taking people."

Negroponte, 65, grew up in New York City and went to Yale. He speaks five languages and served as ambassador to Mexico, the Philippines, and Honduras in the Reagan and Bush I administrations. Negroponte was sworn in to his current post in April. During his confirmation hearing, critics accused him of failing to report the gravity of the human-rights abuses by Honduran military groups when he was ambassador. He denied the charge.

Gen. Michael V. Hayden
Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence

Hayden walks into the newly created Office of the Director of National Intelligence with his insider credentials well burnished: Between a six-year stint as director of the National Security Agency and a posting as commander of the Air Intelligence Agency, Hayden, 60, has seen how the nation's 15 intelligence agencies function -- or veer into dysfunction. The Pittsburgh native joined the Air Force after college at Duquesne University. He delayed active duty while going for a master's degree at Duquesne. He jumped into the world of intelligence as an analyst and a briefer at Headquarters Strategic Air Command. In 1999, he took over the troubled NSA and cracked open the secretive agency just enough to give Congress and the public a glimpse of their tax dollars at work.

Hayden anticipates that he will focus most of his time at his new job on furthering the "smooth functioning" of the intelligence community.

Porter Goss
Director, CIA

After the tumult that greeted his decision to fire several top spooks, Goss is settling into his newly redefined role as CIA director, where his focus is on rebuilding the agency in a post-9/11 world. Goss, who took the helm in September 2004, is seeking to remake the agency into a "field-first organization" focused on ensuring that agents have sufficient language skills and cultural understanding, says spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise. A 10-year veteran of the CIA's clandestine service, Goss served for 16 years in Congress, where he chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He also founded a newspaper in Sanibel, Fla., and later served as mayor there. Goss, 66, grew up in Waterbury, Conn., and graduated from Yale. Once thought of as a shoo-in for the new post of director of national intelligence, he angered the White House by allowing his personnel decisions to make headlines.

John A. Kringen
Deputy Director for Intelligence, CIA

In February, Kringen took over the Directorate of Intelligence, the division where he got his start nearly 30 years ago as an analyst. He has spent most of his career at the CIA, most recently serving as director of the Crime and Narcotics Center. The intelligence directorate is responsible for providing analysis to senior policy makers, including the president. Given the high-profile intelligence failures of recent years, Kringen will have his hands full pushing for more-accurate and tough-minded analyses. He "agreed to become DDI at a critical point for intelligence analysis," says CIA Director Porter Goss, who appointed him. "He has the substantive experience, including time in the field, and leadership skills to foster the rigorous, competitive analysis our customers need." Kringen, 57, is from Garden Grove, Calif. He earned a bacheler's degree at the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota.

Donald M. Kerr
Deputy Director for Science and Technology, CIA

Since August 2001, Kerr has headed the CIA's science and technology division, which is responsible for collecting open-source intelligence, supervising satellite technology, and making gadgets for intelligence-gathering. Kerr is the only high-level holdover from George Tenet's reign. Kerr "brings a breadth of experience and knowledge to this post," says CIA Director Goss. Previously, Kerr was an assistant director of the FBI, overseeing its crime lab; an assistant secretary of Energy, working on nuclear weapons development and testing; and the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Kerr spent time in the private sector, where he held high-level positions at EG&G, SAIC, and Information Systems Laboratories. Now 65, Kerr is originally from Philadelphia. He received a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and a Ph.D. in plasma physics and microwave electronics from Cornell University.

Jennifer Millerwise
Director of Public Affairs, CIA

Millerwise has a strong work pedigree for the Bush administration and its loyalists: She has been deputy communications director for the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign; Vice President Cheney's press secretary; assistant press secretary in the Bush White House; and a regional press coordinator for the Republican National Committee's "Victory 2000" campaign. Millerwise has also worked for Ari Fleischer (at the House Ways and Means Committee); for Spencer Abraham (while he was a senator for Michigan); and for her current boss, CIA Director Goss, when he was a member of Congress. Millerwise, who was Rep. Goss's press secretary, became the CIA's director of public affairs in January. "She is loyal, patriotic, and dedicated to our mission," Goss says. "Her experience and relationships with the media bring a unique asset to the CIA." Millerwise, 29, is from Pinconning, Mich. She has a degree in business administration and political science from Western Michigan University.