James R. Clapper leading candidate for top intelligence post
WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House’s leading candidate to replace Dennis Blair as national intelligence director is James R. Clapper, the Pentagon’s top intelligence official, current and former U.S. officials said Friday.
Two current officials said another candidate is Mike Vickers, the Pentagon’s assistant secretary for special operations. But a Defense Department official said Vickers has not been contacted for an interview. All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because a replacement for Blair has not been announced.
Clapper currently is defense undersecretary for intelligence.
President Barack Obama was already talking to candidates for national intelligence director’s job before Blair resigned Thursday under pressure from the White House.
Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said the president had spoken with a number of well-qualified candidates so he could have people ready in case he decided to make a change with the intelligence post.