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Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson January 14, 2011

No progress on changing the DNI's term

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to "insulate the Director of National Intelligence from political pressure by giving the DNI a fixed term, like the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Obama and Biden will seek consistency and integrity at the top of our intelligence community -- not just a political ally."

More than a year ago, we rated this promise Stalled after seeing no evidence of efforts to change the definition of the DNI's term. We still see no progress, and the White House provided no indication that an effort is under way. So we rate this a Promise Broken.

Our Sources

Internet searches that produced no results

Robert Farley
By Robert Farley December 3, 2009

No fixed term yet

On Jan. 9, 2009, then-President-elect Barack Obama formally announced his appointment of retired Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair to serve as director of National Intelligence.

That appointment was unanimously approved by the Senate about a week after Obama's inauguration. That made Blair the country's third director of National Intelligence, or DNI, a position created by Congress based on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.

As DNI, Blair is the leader of the 16 intelligence agencies that make up the intelligence community. He is also the principal adviser to the president, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to national security. And lastly, he oversees the intelligence budget.

During his confirmation hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., highlighted some of his qualifications for the job: onetime commander in chief of the United States Pacific Command; two stints in the White House, first as a fellow, then on the National Security Council staff; two years at the CIA as the associate director for military support; and an appointment as the director of the Joint Staff in 1996.

But no mention was ever made about giving Blair -- or any future DNI -- a fixed term. Nor has there been since. We rate this promise Stalled.

Our Sources

Web site of President-elect Obama, Press release: "Obama announces Panetta and Blair for intel posts," Jan. 9, 2009

CQ Transcripts, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Hearing; the Nomination of Admiral Dennis Blair, Jan. 22, 2009

Washington Post, "Intelligence Pick Fields Panel's Questions," by Walter Pincus, Jan. 28, 2009

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