Adm. Dennis Blair is officially stepping down as Director of National Intelligence. Here’s the statement he just sent out to the intelligence community:
It is with deep regret that I informed the President today that I will step down as Director of National Intelligence effective Friday, May 28th.
I have had no greater honor or pleasure than to lead the remarkably talented and patriotic men and women of the Intelligence Community.
Every day, you have worked tirelessly to provide intelligence support for two wars and to prevent an attack on our homeland.
You are true heroes, just like the members of the Armed Forces, firefighters, and police whose job it is to keep our nation safe.
Your work over the past 16 months has made the Intelligence Community more integrated, agile, and representative of American values. Keep it up – I will be cheering for you.
Dennis C. Blair
Roundup of other reaction after the break:
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.:
The ODNI is at a critical juncture. It now needs strong presidential leadership to help it realize its potential as envisioned by Congress and the 9-11 Commission, or it will sink into irrelevance. The ODNI will only be effective if the President clarifies its authorities and defines its roles and responsibilities. Congress will be closely observing the President’s next steps — the nomination of Blair’s successor and the actions taken to bolster the position.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas:
The job description of Director of National Intelligence continues to evolve, even five years after its creation. Not one to back down in the face of a challenge, Director Blair worked hard to make the work-in-progress of intelligence reform and integration a reality.
One of the lasting legacies of Director Blair’s tenure will be his efforts to establish credibility with Congress. He was willing to give it straight to Congress, which I always appreciated. His efforts to establish the Intelligence Community’s internal guidelines for congressional notification, coupled with his offers to personally brief the Committee, contributed immensely to bridging the frequent gaps between the two branches.
But the Senate Intelligence Committee’s May 18 report on the failures leading up to the Christmas Day bombing attempt — which may have helped lead to Blair’s resignation — can be found here. It concludes:
The committee found there were systemic failures across the intelligence community, which contributed to the failure to identify the thread posed by Abdulmutallab.