Adm. Dennis Blair (Ret.) intends to offer his resignation as the nation's intelligence chief, four sources said today. A U.S. official said that a search is underway for his replacement. Two days ago, a Senate committee released a scathing report on the efficacy of Blair's Office of the Director of National Intelligence, particularly the National Counterterrorism Center, which apparently did not view the integration of tactical threat intelligence as its top priority.
Blair has worn out his welcome at the White House. The National Security Staff lost confidence in his ability to prioritize and to solve the intelligence community's mammoth bureaucratic hassles. The U.S. official said that the White House has interviewed "several strong candidates." Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, the chairman of the president's intelligence advisory board, and Gen. James Clapper (Ret.), the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, are seen by other intelligence officials as top candidates. Clapper will face a tough confirmation, and his career profile is similar to Blair's. Hagel would be feared by the military intelligence establishment, but he gets along with CIA director Leon Panetta, who will not be leaving his job.