U.S. envoy selected as top intelligence officer

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Friday, February 18, 2005

John Negroponte has been nominated for the first National Intelligence Director
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John Negroponte, United States Ambassador to Iraq, has been nominated as the country's first National Intelligence Director by President George W. Bush. The two-month-old directorate, created by Congress as part of an intelligence community overhaul, will be one of the most powerful positions in the federal government.

Negroponte will oversee 15 intelligence agencies, coordinating operations and setting budgets. He will, as head of the new office, report directly to the President.

"John brings a unique set of skills to these challenges," said President Bush at a press conference this Thursday.

Negroponte has served in the American foreign service since the early 60's, from Vietnam to the United Nations and now currently Iraq.

Lieutenant General Michael Hayden, director of the National Security Agency was also announced as deputy to Negroponte.

Senate confirmation is still required before either can assume the offices.

Negroponte has been a controversial figure in the past for his time as ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, when the United States under the Reagan administration was involved in violent conflict in Central America. Fearing that Central American governments were turning towards Communism, the Reagan administration assisted numerous rebel groups in attempts to overthrow left-wing governments, especially in the case of the Sandanistas in Nicaragua. Central American activists have accused Negroponte of ignoring human rights abuses by the Contras and their Honduran hosts, which the Reagan administration funded by secretly selling arms to Iran. (See Iran-Contra Affair)

References

Eileen Sullivan. "Bush nominates Negroponte for top intel post" — Federal Times Online, February, 17, 2005  . "Transcript: Bush Announces New Intel Chief" — Washington Post, February 17, 2005 Lisa J. Adams. "Negroponte Draws Criticism South of the Border" — AP/YahooNews, February 17, 2005 David Corn. "Negroponte's Dark Past" — The Nation, February 18, 2005

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