The White House has been silent on the appointment, but some administration and intelligence officials said a leading candidate is John Lehman, a Republican member of the Sept. 11 commission and former Navy secretary.
However, more than a dozen intelligence professionals interviewed by the Boston Globe said the commission recommended changes do not address the system's biggest problems: a lack of accurate intelligence coming in from the field and a shortage of skilled analysts.
"It does little to address analytic and collection capabilities," Vincent Cannistraro, former head of the CIA's counterterrorism center, told the Globe. "I am not optimistic the so-called reforms are going to lead to quality intelligence. It does nothing to remedy the poor source information we have had."
The new national intelligence director will eclipse the head of the CIA as the president's primary intelligence adviser and control the budgets of the nation's 15 spy agencies.