BUSH AND NEGROPONTE
NBC News
President Bush announces his choice of John Negroponte, right, as the new national intelligence director Thursday.
msnbc.com
updated 2/17/2005 10:32:11 AM ET 2005-02-17T15:32:11

President Bush on Thursday nominated Iraq Ambassador John Negroponte to be the nation's first new national intelligence director.   Below is a transcript of those nomination remarks.

President George W. Bush:  Coming here, I'm pleased to announce my decision to appoint John Negroponte as Director of National Intelligence.

The director's responsibility is straight forward and demanding. John will make sure those whose duty it is to defend America have the information we need to make the right decisions.

John understands America's global intelligence needs because he spent the better part of his life in our foreign service. And is now serving with distinction in the sensitive post of our nation's first ambassador to a free Iraq.

John's nomination comes in a historic moment for our intelligence services. In the war against terrorists who target innocent civilians and continue to seek weapons of mass murder, intelligence is our first line of defense. We're going to stop the terrorists before they strike. We must ensure our intelligence agencies work as a single, unified enterprise. That's why I supported and congress passed reform legislation creating the job of National Intelligence.

As D.N.I., John will lead the unified intelligence community and will serve as the principal adviser to the president on intelligence matters. He will have the authority to order the collection of new intelligence, to ensure the sharing of information among agencies and to establish common standards for the intelligence community's personnel.

It will be John's responsibility to determine the annual budgets for all national intelligence agencies and offices and to direct how these funds are spent. Investing these responsibilities in a single official who reports directly to me will make our intelligence efforts more efficient and effective.

The director of the C.I.A. will report to John. The C.I.A. will retain its core of responsibilities for collecting human intelligence, analyzing intelligence from all sources and supporting American interests abroad at the direction of the president. The law establishing John's position preserves the existing chain of command and leaves all our intelligence agencies, organizations and offices in their current departments.

Our military commanders will continue to have quick access to the intelligence they need to achieve victory on the battlefield. And a new structure will help ensure greater information sharing among federal departments and agencies and also with appropriate state and local authorities.

John brings a unique set of skills to these challenges. Over the course of the long career, John Negroponte has served his nation in eight countries, spanning three continents. He's held important leadership posts both at the State Department and the White House. As my representative to the United Nations, John defended our interests vigorously. And spoke eloquently about America's intention to spread freedom and peace throughout the world. In his service in Iraq, during these past few historic months, has given him something that will prove an incalculable advantage for an intelligence chief and unvarnished and up close look at a deadly enemy.

Today I'm pleased as well to announce that joining John as his deputy will be Lieutenant General Michael Hayden. As a career enforcement officer, General Hayden serves as director of the National Security Agency — America's largest intelligence service — and chief of the Central Security Service. In these critical roles, Mike has already demonstrated an ability to adapt our intelligence services to meet the through threats of a new century.

I appreciate the willingness of these men to take on these tough, new assignments in an extraordinary moment in our nation's history.

I would like to thank the thousands of men and women already serving in our intelligence services. People go to work each day to keep Americans safe. We live in a dangerous world and often times they take great risk to their own lives. These men and women are going to be pleased to have leaders such as Ambassador John Negroponte and General Mike Hayden.

John, I want to thank you for being here today. Congratulations. God speed.

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