President Obama might not have to extend a recess appointment to his director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper. Against the wishes of some Republicans on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Chairman Dianne Feinstein has tentatively scheduled a committee vote for Thursday, with the full Senate finding time to sneak in a confirmation vote before the August recess begins. Ranking Republican Christoper "Kit" Bond had asked for a second closed-door hearing and sent Clapper 50 additional written questions to answer, frustrating the White House, which has already helped Clapper provide answers to 200 written questions.
It is not clear precisely what Bond's objections are. Clapper's public hearing seemed to go well enough. And it looks like the new Director of National Intelligence will have a Congress-free month to go about organizing his staff, finding a deputy, making the rounds of intelligence agencies and beginning to develop his formal, professional relationship with the President.