With the resignation last week of retired Adm. Dennis Blair from his post as director of national intelligence, speculation is mounting on his likely successor. An ABC news report said Pentagon intel chief retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper is a “leading candidate.” A report from the Congressional newspaper The Hill mentioned Clapper and Mike Vickers, Pentagon assistant secretary for special operations. The Associated Press reported Friday evening that Clapper is the leading contender, per “current and former US officials.” According to The Hill, Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), ranking member of the Senate intelligence committee, has said Leon Panetta, CIA boss, would be ideal but likely wouldn’t be interested. In a statement on Blair’s resignation, Bond targeted the Attorney General, saying, “It must have been challenging to be forced on the sidelines by the Attorney General but still catch all the blame for failings.” (For more on the politics surrounding the DNI, read The Atlantic report; Blair’s resignation statement)
Top lawmakers on Capitol Hill announced Dec. 2 that they have reached a deal to extend the continuing resolution funding the government into February. Now, the House and Senate will have to scramble to pass the legislation by 11:59 p.m. Dec. 3 to avoid a temporary shutdown.