The United States’ intelligence chief has resigned ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration. James Clapper’s turbulent tenure as director of national intelligence was defined by combating whistleblower Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency revelations and defending his own integrity after those disclosures contradicted his statements to Congress.
- Clapper, who had clashed with President-elect Donald Trump’s aide Michael Flynnhad submitted his resignation.
- Clapper is only the fourth director of national intelligence, a position nominally atop the 16 intelligence agencies but without significant budgetary or operational authority over them.
- The recently created position, established in a 2004 law, waxes and wanes in power with the personality of its occupant.
- Clapper, appointed by Barack Obama in 2010 largely on the strength of his relationship with former defense secretary Robert Gates, has been perhaps its most forceful – and unquestionably its most controversial.
- While the job is formally non-political, Clapper in 2014 played a leading role in firing Flynn from the directorship of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
- Flynn, a retired US army lieutenant general, became one of the only national security officials of any note to back Trump, and is expected to take a leading role in Trump’s administration, reportedly national security adviser.
- Clapper held numerous senior positions in the intelligence community throughout his decades-long career, including the leadership of the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, before serving as Gates’s undersecretary of defense for intelligence.
- But it is his time as director of national intelligence during the Snowden disclosures that is likely to define his career in Washington.