WASHINGTON, June 6 (UPI) -- The staff director of the Senate Intelligence Committee plans to leave after some six years, and will for the moment be replaced by his deputy.
Despite a relatively low profile, Bill Duhnke is widely considered by insiders as one of the top dozen or so most powerful intelligence officials in the United States. He has led the committee's special bipartisan staff twice -- originally in 2000, until the defection of Vermont Republican Jim Jeffords, and then again after the GOP regained control of the Senate in 2002.
Duhnke expects to become staff director of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, once the current post-holder there, Kathleen Casey, is confirmed as a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Casey was nominated last month by President Bush to replace SEC member Cynthia Glassman. Glassman steps down effective Monday, and Casey's confirmation hearing will be held Thursday, according to the banking committee Web site.
Duhnke is currently on leave from the intelligence committee staff, and his duties are being filled by his deputy Jim Hensler, congressional officials tell United Press International.