WASHINGTON, D.C. Senator Rockefeller made the following statement today after reports indicated that John Negroponte will be leaving his post as Director of National Intelligence and that retired Rear Admiral Mike McConnell may be named as his replacement. As the incoming Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Rockefeller will be responsible for scheduling confirmation hearings for the new DNI.
“I am deeply troubled by the timing of this announcement and the void of leadership at the top of our Intelligence Community.
“Director Negroponte has not had a confirmed deputy since May 2006 when General Michael Hayden left to head the CIA. It is not acceptable for the top two jobs to be vacant at the same time. The leadership of the Intelligence Community is too important.
“I will discuss with Senator Biden a plan to sequence the confirmation hearings to provide swift consideration of both nominations while ensuring that Director Negroponte does not depart prior to the confirmation of his replacement.
“Admiral McConnell is a career intelligence professional and I look forward to meeting with him as soon as possible. Whomever is confirmed will inherit a DNI organization still in its infancy but one that is staffed with many capable and talented individuals.
“Director Negroponte deserves credit for building the office from scratch and starting the process of creating a true Intelligence Community. His successor will need to accelerate that process in order to realize the vision of the intelligence reform legislation passed two years ago.”