Barely one week after President-elect Donald Trump’s election, one of the nation’s top spymasters has announced his resignation.
— Carol Costello (@CarolCNN) November 17, 2016
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a House Intelligence Committee hearing Thursday that he had submitted his resignation on Wednesday.
“I submitted my letter of resignation last night, which felt pretty good,” he said.
Clapper assumed his post in 2010. The Director of National Intelligence oversees 17 intelligence agencies.
Prior to the election, Clapper had been among those assuring Americans the transfer of power from President Barack Obama to his successor would be smooth.
“I’m here with a message: it will be OK,” Clapper told the Intelligence and National Security Summit in September.
Clapper at that time called the presidential election “sportier than we’re used to,” but also said that the 24-hour news cycle and social media were “catastrophyizing” the campaign.
Clapper’s agency oversaw the intelligence briefings given to presidential candidates before the election, and said those helped pave the way for a smooth transfer of power.
“That’s why we’re already briefing the candidates to reduce uncertainty for our next president, whoever it is,” he said. “So that he or she will step in the Oval Office with as good of an understanding of our complex and uncertain world as we can help provide.”
Trump will appoint Clapper’s replacement.
Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was cited by one report as a possible pick. Burgess is assisting the Trump transition team with hiring for the intelligence agency positions Trump must fill.
“We must always tell our leaders at all echelons what they need to know not what they want to hear,” Burgess has said. “As our nation’s intelligence professionals we have a non-negotiable obligation to the American people to call it the way we see it.”
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