By Barbara Starr
James Clapper has told colleagues he will be staying as director of national intelligence (DNI), according to a senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of Clapper's plans. The official said Clapper will stay at the head of the Office of Director of National Intelligence "for the foreseeable future."
President Barack Obama requested that Clapper stay on, amid an expected second-term overhaul of the other key national security posts. The official, who could not be identified because no official announcement has been made about Clapper, said word of the director staying at the request of the White House began to filter through the intelligence community on Monday.
Because the DNI's job does not have a fixed term of office, Clapper will not face a new confirmation hearing by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The official said the director had told colleagues and the White House he did not want to go through another hearing.
Clapper has proven to be a key bulwark for the Obama administration in the face of Republican criticism over response to the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, in particular after he acknowledged it was the intelligence community that was responsible for the substantive changes made to the talking points distributed for government officials who spoke publicly about the attack.
An independent review of the handling of security, intelligence and other issues related to the attack was just completed and given to the State Department on Monday.
The DNI's office has reviewed the portion of draft pertaining to the intelligence surrounding the incident, the official said.
"There were no grumblings on that draft," from the DNI, he said. The review looked at the intelligence that was in hand prior to the attack, what intelligence was or might have been available during the incident, and the intelligence available in the aftermath.
For its part, the intelligence community is holding to the view it had no intelligence that was timely and specific enough that would have indicated an attack was imminent, the official said.