Senate panel approves Blair as intel chief

Jan. 28, 2009 at 6:51 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously sent retired Adm. Dennis Blair's nomination to be the nation's chief intelligence officer to the full Senate.

"As our next director of national intelligence, he will ensure this country continues to play offense against the terrorists that threaten our way of life," Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri, the committee's ranking Republican, said after the panel's vote Wednesday.

The full Senate is expected to take up Blair's confirmation before the end of the week, CNN reported.

The retired four-star admiral served 34 years in the Navy. Blair is credited with overseeing successful counterterrorism operations in the Philippines while he ran the Pacific Command.

Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, the No. 3 official in the national intelligence office, is acting director until a new one is confirmed. Former Director Michael McConnell resigned Tuesday after the defense consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton announced he would return to the company as a vice president, CNN said.

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