Blair Appoints Magician To Lead Intelligence Review

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair has asked a former senior CIA official to head a bow-to-stern review of the Christmas Day intelligence failures, Blair's press team announced today.  John E. McLaughlin, who served as the acting head of the agency in the George Tenet-Porter Goss interregnum, will "head a small group of national security experts who will look into recent challenges facing the Intelligence Community," a statement reads.

The group will review the Dec. 25 bombing attempt by alleged terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab aboard Northwest Flight 253, and the Nov. 5 shootings at Fort Hood, allegedly carried out by Army Maj. Nidal Hasan. The DNI has requested a careful examination of the sequence of events leading up to both incidents, as well as proposals to remedy potential weaknesses in intelligence systems and procedures that these incidents exposed.
  

"John McLaughlin is especially well-qualified to lead an independent assessment in this area and provide candid, constructive guidance to improve our future performance," Blair said. "I am pleased that his more than three decades of experience and wide range of leadership responsibilities in intelligence will once again be put to use in service to our country. I thank him for accepting this assignment, and look forward to receiving the results of his work." 

McLaughlin  is a man of many talents. He is, by reputation, a gifted magician. And he's got a solid reputation inside and outside the agency. CNN hired him as a consultant after his government service ended in 2005. McLaughlin was the CIA's DDI (deputy director for intelligence) on 9/11.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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