James R. Clapper, Jr.

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Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, Jr. was nominated by President Barrack Obama on June 5, 2010 to serve as the United States Director of National Intelligence (DNI). [1] From 2007-2010 he served as Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and as Director of Defense Intelligence in the Directorate of National Intelligence. From 2001-2006 Clapper served as Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Clapper worked as a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton and SRA International, Inc following 32 years in the U.S. Airforce culminating in a rocky three-year period heading the Defense Intelligence Agency in the early 1990s. [2]

During the 2006-2007 academic year Clapper was the first Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) and Georgetown University Center for Peace and Security Studies (CPASS) INSA Professor in the Practice of Intelligence.[3]

According to his INSA/CPASS profile,[3] "Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, Jr., has devoted over four decades of service to the nation in the profession of intelligence – in the military, in industry, and in civil service. He has served as director of two national intelligence agencies for a total of over eight and a half years -- the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) 1991-1995, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) 2001-2006. He retired as a Lieutenant General in 1995, after a thirty-two year career in the United States Air Force. During his six years in industry, he was an executive in three successive professional services companies, where his focus was on the intelligence community as a client. He both led business units and served as a subject matter expert, expanding business and increasing revenue in all three cases.

"Lt. Gen. Clapper has served as a consultant and advisor to Congress and the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security, and as a member of many government panels, boards, commissions, and advisory groups. He was a member of the Downing Assessment Task Force which investigated the Khobar Towers bombings in 1996,and was Vice Chairman of a Congressionally-mandated commission chaired by former Governor Jim Gilmore of Virginia on the subject of homeland security. He has testified in Congress numerous times, and in federal court as an expert witness on intelligence tradecraft. He holds a bachelor’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and an honorary doctorate in strategic intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College, where he taught as an adjunct professor.

"His military awards include two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, and a host of other United States military and foreign government awards and decorations. His civilian awards and recognition include designation as one of the Top 100 Information Technology Executives by Federal Computer Week Magazine in 2001 and receipt of the NAACP National Distinguished Service Award. He has received two National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medals, the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, and the Presidentially-Conferred National Security Medal. He was the 2006 winner of the prestigious William Oliver Baker award in recognition of lifetime achievement in the national intelligence community."

Policy Views

Clapper has long been an advocate for a strong Directorate of National Intelligence, and according to one anonymous former senior U.S. official these views led to his firing by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. [4]

Clapper has also played a key role in integrating the DNI with the Military intelligence establishment. Prior to his nomination as Director of National Intelligence, Clapper was "dual-hatted" as Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence within the Defense Department and as Director of Defense intelligence within the DNI. Clapper designed this dual role to create an "organic linkage" between the Defense Department and the Directorate. His work in this area has been highly praised by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. [5]

While serving as Defense Undersecretary of intelligence, Gates made some effort to discontinue some of the most controversial elements of the Bush-era surveillance system. Soon after his appointment he began the dismantling of the [Talon] Data Gathering Program. [6] He also called for greater transparency and required stricter oversight for the interrogation of terrorism detainees.

Clapper is considered an advocate for the use of Human Intelligence (HUMINT), earning him the nickname "the Godfather of HUMINT" [7]

Criticism of Clapper's Nomination as Director of National Intelligence

Clapper's June 2010 nomination as Director of National Intelligence has received criticism. According to the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo) "he lacks the necessary clout with the president, has proven to be less than forthcoming with Congress and has recently blocked our efforts to empower the DNI, which is why at this time I'm not inclined to support him." The Chairman of the committee Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has also criticized the appointment, contending that the post should be filled by a civilian. [8].

Most criticism of Clapper's nomination stems from his long history within military intelligence and his close ties to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the existing intelligence regime.

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Barrack Obama, "Remarks by the President in Announcement of James R. Clapper Jr. as Director of National Intelligence," "Office of the Press Secretary", June 5, 2010.
  2. Jeff Stein, "Former DIA Analysts Rip Clapper's Leadership," "Spy Talk (washingtonpost.com)", May 21, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Professor in Practice of Intelligence Established," Georgetown University, October 31, 2006.
  4. Kimberly Dozier and Julie Pace, "AP Source: Pentagon Official Tapped as Intel Chief," "Associated Press", June 4, 2010.
  5. Robert Gates, "Secretary Gates' Comments on the Nomination of James Clapper as Director of National Intelligence, en route to Baku, Azerbaijan," "Defense.gov News Transcript", June 6, 2010.
  6. Walter Pincus "Pentagon to End Talon Data-Gathering Program" "Washington Post", April 25, 2007.
  7. John J. Kruzel, "Top Intel Official Explains Pentagon’s New Vision," "American Forces Press Service", May 25, 2007.
  8. Kimberly Dozier and Julie Pace"AP Source: Pentagon Official Tapped as Intel Chief," "Associated Press", June 4, 2010.

External articles