After an intense and turbulent 16 months, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair is stepping down from his post with some in Washington saying that the resignation comes with heavy pressure from the White House. The director of National Intelligence is a somewhat new position in the U.S. government being that it was created some time after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. The role of the job is to make sure attacks like that of 9/11 never again happened on American soil. Additionally, the job appointee is supposed to bridge communication between different departments of intelligence like the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. along with government personnel in the White House.
Blair is stepping down after a rocky 16 months in which many attacks on American soil slipped through the cracks of national intelligence. Even though many of these potentially tragic attacks were stopped before massive damage could take place and lives were lost, it gave a lack of confidence to the director. An example of one of these attempts would be the Christmas Day bomb attempt that happened on an airborne flight bound for Detroit. Even though Blair changed many of the issues with the U.S. intelligence since 9/11, it wasn’t enough for many in Congress or for the White House to believe the job was being done properly, and with either direct or indirect pressure, Blair decided to step down as director. Blair announced his resignation on Thursday saying that he has deep regret for having to step down from his post of director of national intelligence and that his last day would be May 28th.
Some high-ranking government officials have said that the interview process for the next national intelligence director has already begun and that a leading candidate for the position is General James Clapper. Clapper is currently the Undersecretary of Defense and many officials feel that he is the best qualified for the new open position. No matter who is chosen, President Obama will find the best-qualified candidate for a position that helps keep American citizens safe and protected.
Filling a vacant Supreme Court seat is always a challenge for a President. There’s literally dozens of names that the Commander In Chief has to pick from, all of which are highly qualified. Each name is thought over, argued, and debated by everyone and anyone in the political circle, and rightfully so. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and whatever selection is made will directly affect the citizens of the United States.
His pick will have to be approved by Congress and this will require more debate on the subject. President Obama isn’t a stranger to this process (President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor in May of 2009 to replace the open court justice seat left by justice David Souter). President Obama is about to have this process happen to him all over again when he nominates his pick for new Supreme Court Justice to replace John Paul Stevens. Despite the long list of qualified individuals, many are saying that the President has already chosen his pick for the seat and will announce who that is come Monday.
The word in Washington is that President Obama is expected to nominated Solicitor General and former law dean of Harvard, Elena Kegan. This isn’t a surprise for many in Washington considering that Kegan has been the frontrunner since the news of Stevens stepping down was announced a few weeks ago. Reports have it that the pick is so expected in Washington that if Kegan isn’t named to the Supreme Court by next week many will be nothing less than shocked.
Whomever the President picks for the seat, it’s bound to be an interesting move that will say much about where he hopes the Supreme Court will be going in the upcoming years and how they will judge the laws they will be upholding.