Washington President Barack Obama intends to nominate the Pentagon’s top intelligence official, James Clapper, as the next national intelligence director despite some objections from Capitol Hill, two senior administration officials said Friday.
Obama will announce his nomination of Clapper, a retired Air Force general, in a Rose Garden ceremony Saturday morning, said one of the officials. Both would speak only on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement.
Clapper would replace retired Adm. Dennis Blair, who resigned last month after frequent clashes with the White House.
But Clapper’s own combative sparring with lawmakers during past congressional hearings made him an unpopular choice with leading legislators on both sides of the aisle. His critics question whether he will be able to counter Obama’s influential intelligence inner circle, which includes senior counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and CIA Director Leon Panetta.
Clapper, a retired Air Force three-star general, served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which often works closely with the CIA. He’s known for blunt, sometimes salty speech, both in the Pentagon, and behind closed doors at congressional hearings.