Nation’s spy director moving to State Department


WASHINGTON (AP) – National Intelligence Director John Negroponte will resign to become deputy secretary of state, a government official said Wednesday night.

Negroponte took over in 2005 as the nation’s first intelligence chief, responsible for overseeing all 16 U.S. spy agencies. He will return to his roots as a career diplomat to become the No. 2 to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the official said.

The official said that the timing of Negroponte’s departure was uncertain but that it was expected soon. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because there has been no announcement of the move.

Negroponte, 67, is stepping down as President Bush develops a new strategy on Iraq.

He has been at the center of the Iraq debate since before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 – first as U.S. ambassador to the U.N., then as ambassador to Baghdad and intelligence chief.

His move to the State Department must be confirmed by the Senate.

A spokesman for the Office of the National Intelligence Director declined to comment.

In an interview with C-SPAN last month, Negroponte indicated that he wanted to stay on through the Bush administration. Since last summer, it has been said he was interested in the vacancy at the State Department.

“In my own mind at least, I visualize staying with it through the end of this administration and, then I think, probably that’ll be about the right time to pack it in,” he told C-SPAN.