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Senate inks Negroponte as new intel chief

April 21, 2005 at 6:28 PM

WASHINGTON, April 21 (UPI) -- The Senate Thursday voted overwhelmingly to confirm John Negroponte as the nation's first ever national director of intelligence.

Only two Senators opposed the confirmation, Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

Wyden said he could not support Negroponte because, at his conformation hearing the long-time diplomat "showed less candor than he had in the past" about his record while ambassador to Honduras, at that time the base of U.S.-backed efforts to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, and had dodged senators' questions about other matters.

"Throughout his confirmation hearing, on issue after issue, the Ambassador ducked and avoided giving anything resembling a straightforward answer," Wyden said.

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said he was convinced "that (Negroponte) has the character, that he has the expertise, and he has the leadership skills required."

Gen. Michael Hayden, head of the National Security Agency, was approved by voice vote as Negroponte's deputy.

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