Who is Dennis Blair?
A new profile provides perspective.
8:27 AM, Jan 22, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
The man who asked Chas Freeman to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council, Dennis Blair is the subject of an important piece by James Kirchick in the new issue of The New Republic. In addition to the Freeman failure, Blair’s other problems include: An unworkable relationship with the C.I.A., a history of ignoring orders from above, and (the biggest problem) the responsibility of the massive failure that allowed the 'panty bomber,' Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, onto a U.S.-bound airplane on Christmas Day.
Blair is currently the director of national intelligence (DNI), a bureaucracy meant to wade through the intelligence bureaucracies below it, so that intelligence gathered can be utilized correctly to protect Americans. With stakes high, as the panty bomber proved a couple weeks back, a man like Blair should not have such responsibility. He has proven time again to possess poor judgment. Some highlights from Kirchick's piece:
-"Under Blair, however, these rifts [within the intelligence community] have grown worse. [Blair’s] sworn bureaucratic foe is CIA chief Leon Panetta, who, at least on paper, reports to him. But, when Congress sculpted Blair’s job, it left plenty of ambiguity about the extent of the DNI’s authority over the CIA, which seemed bound to create the very squabbling that the reforms were intended to stifle. Blair has compounded this problem with his knack for stirring intramural controversy. He seems to relish the occasions when he can snatch power from Panetta."