| GEO World|
| Obama to name ex-general Clapper as new spy chief|
| Updated at: 0858 PST, Saturday, June 05, 2010|
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama will name retired lieutenant general and veteran intelligence expert James Clapper on Saturday as his new spy chief, officials said, in a bid to improve troubled US intelligence gathering.
Clapper, a retired lieutenant general decades of intelligence experience, would replace Dennis Blair, who stepped down last month amid heavy criticism after a string of security shortcomings, among them failure to thwart planned attacks including one by an Al-Qaeda linked group to bring down a US airliner on December 25.
Several intelligence and administration officials confirmed that Clapper will be nominated Saturday as the director of national intelligence (DNI), including one defense official who said he enjoys strong backing from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The post was introduced after September 11, 2001 amid deep congressional concern over the systemic lapses which led to the terrorist attacks on the United States, and then the botched intelligence over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction which helped prod the US invasion of Iraq but which were never found.