James Clapper submits his resignation to Obama, to end tenure on Inauguration Day

WASHINGTON, U.S. - The Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper has submitted his resignation to Barack Obama and announced the news to House Select Committee on Intelligence ...


• DNI Clapper says Presidential transition would be okay

• Clapper announced his resignation in front of a congressional panel of lawmakers Thursday

• Donald Trump prepares to appoint his own officials at the National Security

WASHINGTON, U.S. - The Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper has submitted his resignation to Barack Obama and announced the news to House Select Committee on Intelligence on Thursday. 

He took on the role of the intelligence director in the year 2010.

Clapper, announcing his resignation in front of a congressional panel of lawmakers, said, "I submitted my letter of resignation last night, which felt pretty good." 

"I know a lot of people have been feeling uncertain about what will happen with this Presidential transition. There has been a lot of catastrophising, if I can use that term, in the 24-hour news cycle and social media. So, I'm here with a message: It will be okay."

As the America’s President-elect Donald Trump planned to appoint his own officials, the news of the resignation did not surprise many. 

Democrat, Adam Schiff of California, said that he heard rumors that the 74-year-old spy chief might stay on into the Trump administration, but Clapper crossed the statement by saying that it will not happen and said, "I got 64 days left and I think I'd have a hard time with my wife anything past that."

Schiff said, “I’ll be sorry to see him go. I think he’s done a phenomenal job in taking a very difficult position at a fairly new agency and molding it into something that’s been very constructive and added a lot of value to the intelligence community."

Although it is a fact that all members of an outgoing administration must submit a resignation at some point, analysts said that this announcement might be a hint to Trump’s administration that they must accelerate the transition process.

Confirming Clapper’s resignation, Office of DNI announced on Twitter, “As required of all appointed Administration officials, DNI Clapper has signed a letter of resignation effective at noon on Jan 20, 2017.”

A spokesperson from the Office of DNI said, "He signed his letter as required by all appointed administration officials but is finishing out his term."

Over 17 different agencies including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) comes under Clapper’s authority. 

More than 107,000 employees report to him with a combined budget of over $52 billion. 

His main responsibility was to defend National Security Service and to protect it. After Edward Snowden revealed how they collect information on American citizens the most controversial aspect came into spotlight.

During a 2013 congressional hearing, Clapper was asked questions by Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?

"No, Sir. Not wittingly," Clapper told to the congress panel in response and added, "There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly."

Daniel Benjamin, who served as the State Department’s counter-terrorism coordinator from 2009 to 2012 said, “I think history will be kind to Jim Clapper. He wisely accepted that on lots of different issues the CIA director has a lot more heft than he did and in some areas NSA was almost sovereign in the field.” 

“He worked constructively to move that process forward instead of fighting small battle or big battles on small issues,” Benjamin added.

Mike Morell, who was acting CIA director in 2012 and 2013, called Clapper "the best DNI the country has had.”

“He cares deeply about the women and men of the intelligence community and that is felt by all. He put in place new capabilities that will serve the nation well for years, and he has not micromanaged the agencies,” Morell added.

Clapper’s announcement has appeared like as signal that Donald Trump's transition team has been trying to thrash out some officials, who served in national security agencies. Although Trump has denied that his transition team has such motives, so far the team has appointed only two new officials.  

The Virginia Democrat and incoming Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Mark Warner said that Clapper's announcement "underscores the need for the new administration to move expeditiously in making key national security appointments."

"As that process continues, I hope President-Elect Trump will seek out personnel that embody the same experience, gravity of purpose and service to country that have been a hallmark of James Clapper's career," said Warner.

Senate Intelligence Committee members, Angus King (I-Maine) and James Lankford have discussed about the organisation with Trump and urged to nominate experienced DNI who can build an intelligence community leadership team that will place high value on collaboration.

In the days ahead, Trump will have a lot of new faces to work with in top positions. The resignations of top officials have marked a new beginning for America under Trump and many in key positions are now in the wait-and-watch mode to see how the transition process shapes up.

 

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