James Clapper won Senate approval Thursday to become the government's top spymaster after running a gauntlet of lawmaker concerns and overcoming last-minute barriers from Republicans.
Final agreements with key Republicans on Thursday to provide more information related to the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees paved the way for Clapper's final confirmation. The Senate approved it unanimously by a voice vote shortly before leaving for its August recess.
The retired three-star Air Force general will be the fourth Director of National Intelligence in five years, inheriting a post whose purpose has been questioned in the wake of President Obama's firing of his first spychief, Dennis Blair, in May.
The position remains ill-defined five years after its creation and creating a sense of purpose will be one of Clapper's greatest challenges.
Uncertainty about the job description created a challenge for the White House, whose job offers were turned down by current and former national security.