Intelligence director Dennis Blair takes fall for Christmas bomber
Dennis Blair, director of national intelligence, will resign effective May 28. The Senate Intelligence Committee this week heavily criticized his agency's handling of recent terror incidents, including the Christmas bomber.
Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair is resigning under fire.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Mr. Blair, a retired US Navy admiral, had been involved in turf battles with the Central Intelligence Agency, and he had come under recent criticism – including a scathing Senate Intelligence Committee report this week – for his agency’s handling of recent terrorist incidents, including the Christmas Day bombing attempt.
Blair filled a post created five years ago in response to the intelligence failings leading up to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The aim was to coordinate often fractious agencies, including the CIA and the White House office of counterterrorism.
Blair was rarely the bearer of good news. In recent testimony, he had warned of the dangers of cyberterrorism (attacks on computer systems) and of home-grown terrorists. Shortly after that, the failed Times Square bombing, and the arrest of a naturalized US citizen from Pakistan in connection with it, sharply focused public and political attention on that potential threat.
In a statement released Thursday night, President Obama said: "Dennis Blair has a remarkable record of service to the United States, and I am grateful for his leadership as Director of National Intelligence.... During his time as DNI, our intelligence community has performed admirably and effectively at a time of great challenges to our security, and I have valued his sense of purpose and patriotism."
Blair has told his staff that his last day will be May 28.
The decision follows a Senate Intelligence Committee this week that reported 14 intelligence failures leading up to the attempted Christmas Day attack aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit by the so-called “underwear bomber.” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from Nigeria has been charged in the case.