Stephen J. Carrera  /  AP
Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., speaks Wednesday at a news conference in Chicago after being introduced as the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., at left.
updated 8/25/2004 6:03:44 PM ET 2004-08-25T22:03:44

Republican Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan was picked Wednesday to head the House Intelligence Committee amid a heated debate in Congress over how to carry out a major overhaul of the nation’s intelligence system.

Hoekstra would succeed Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla., who has been nominated by President Bush to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

“He has the maturity and experience on the reforming side,” House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said of Hoekstra as he announced his choice at a news conference in Chicago.

Hoekstra, 50, who was born in the Netherlands and came to the United States as a youngster, currently serves on the intelligence committee and represents a district in western Michigan.

The House and Senate intelligence committees are expected to take crucial roles as Congress debates whether to create a new post of national intelligence director to oversee the 15 agencies that now make up the intelligence community.

The Sept. 11 commission recommended such a post, and the Senate committee’s chairman, Pat Roberts, R-Kan., this week proposed a radical overhaul that would create the intelligence director post, break up the CIA and move three top intelligence agencies out of the Pentagon.

President Bush supports the idea of a national intelligence director but has not said how much authority that job should have or whether he supports Roberts’ proposal.

The CIA and the Pentagon have expressed concerns about Roberts’ plan.

Hoekstra has been in the House since 1992 and on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence since 2001. He previously was an executive with furniture manufacturer Herman Miller Inc.

Goss’ confirmation hearing in the Senate is expected in early September.

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