updated 1/28/2009 4:22:01 PM ET 2009-01-28T21:22:01

The Senate Intelligence Committee has voted to approve retired Adm. Dennis Blair as the new national intelligence director.

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That's the word from committee spokesman Philip LaVelle. It was a closed hearing.

The full Senate is expected to confirm Blair later today by a wide margin.

He would be President Barack Obama's top intelligence adviser, overseeing a budget of nearly $50 billion across 16 intelligence agencies.

Blair would replace Michael McConnell who resigned the post Tuesday after nearly two years in the job.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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