Intelligence isn't always a hot topic, but a full-blown, multi-part series by The Washington Post tends to shift the conversation. Amid the Dana Priest/William Arkin series on the U.S. intelligence community, which occupies the front page of the Post and almost the entire pre-"fold" section of its homepage, the administration's nominee for Director of National Intelligence will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee for his first confirmation hearing this afternoon. Gen. James Clapper (ret.), if confirmed, would be charged with streamlining the flow of intelligence and cooperation, overseeing the intelligence community, and advising the president--which would likely mean confronting the issues raised by Priest and Arkin (most notably the proliferation of contractors in the intelligence community).
Clapper has already submitted dozens of written answers to committee questions, which will be posted online. Whether the Post series will lead to any new questions, or whether it will be raised by committee members, we'll find out this afternoon. The Senate Intelligence Committee typically meets behind closed doors, receiving briefings from the administration, but today's hearing will provide a rarity: it will be televised on C-SPAN 3 (webcast available here) at 2:45 p.m.