US intelligence chief resigns
BARACK OBAMA'S director of national intelligence (DNI) was forced to resign yesterday after the president concluded that he had been culpable in the country's recent national-security failures.
Dennis Blair, a former navy admiral, had been expected to leave for some time. Mr Obama reportedly phoned to ask for his resignation on Thursday.
Mr Obama issued a statement yesterday, saying of Mr Blair: "During his time as DNI, our intelligence community has performed admirably and effectively at a time of great challenges to our security."
However, it has been an open secret that Mr Blair was poorly regarded by the White House.
His departure was seen as inevitable after the bungled response to the attempted Christmas Day airliner bombing over Detroit.
In testimony to Congress, he admitted that he had not been consulted over whether a special team of crack investigators created for such cases had been dispatched to interrogate the suspect. It had not.
The post of intelligence director was created by George Bush after the 9/11 attacks of 2001 in an attempt to improve co-ordination between America's 16 intelligence agencies.
By most reckonings, Mr Blair had failed to make that happen. However, some Republicans have accused the White House of scapegoating Mr Blair for shortfalls in intelligence.
Sources in Washington said President Obama's terrorism adviser, John Brennan, was among those being considered as a replacement, along with James Clapper, who runs intelligence affairs at the Pentagon. (© Independent News Service)