John D. Negroponte, whom President Bush installed less than two years ago as the first director of national intelligence, will soon leave his post to become the State Department’s second-ranking official, administration officials said Wednesday.The article goes on to say:
Mr. Negroponte will fill a critical job that has been vacant for months, and he is expected to play a leading role in shaping policy in Iraq. But his transfer is another blow to an intelligence community that has seen little continuity at the top since the departure of George J. Tenet in 2004 as director of central intelligence.
The administration has had great difficulty filling the State Department position. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has asked several people who have turned down the post, according to senior State Department officials.I can understand why Negroponte might want to make the switch. My guess, and the article suggests as well, that as a career diplomat Negroponte feels more comfortable in the State Department than in the intelligence community.
To me, the important things illustrated by this move are:
1) the Bush Administration is not good at appointing people to their best possible posts in the first place (I never thought Condi was appropriate as Sec. State, but that's another story I guess)
2) People willing to jump on board a sinking ship are hard to come by
3) the Bush Administration is actually less interested in intelligence reform than they would have us believe. And it could be equally true that Negroponte has realized that intelligence reform is impossible to achieve and just wants to go somewhere that he feels he can actually accomplish something, regardless of what the rank is "on paper."
One of the most interesting things to me about the article is the picture they chose to put with it. The way Bush is standing behind Negroponte in the photo it makes him look rather small and less significant. To me it is just an odd photo.