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Clapper Becomes Director of National Intelligence in Wave of Confirmations

The nomination of James Clapper to be the director of national intelligence was unanimously approved by the Senate on Thursday night, just two days after a GOP hold threatened the Obama administration’s pick.

Clapper was confirmed along with 50 pending nominees during wrap-up on the Senate floor. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had placed a hold on Clapper’s nomination earlier this week to press the administration to share a classified intelligence report assessing the threat of detainees at the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) shared the same concerns but did not place a hold on the nomination. McCain lifted his hold Tuesday.

President Barack Obama nominated Clapper, a retired Air Force lieutenant general currently serving as undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, in June to fill the post previously held by retired Adm. Dennis Blair. Blair stepped down in May after a rocky 16-month stint, during which he had strained relations with White House officials and faced increased scrutiny following the attempted bombing at Times Square in New York, the shootings at Fort Hood in Texas and the attempted bombing of a commercial jet over Detroit.

The director of national intelligence, a position created after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, oversees 16 spy agencies.

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