WASHINGTON – The national intelligence director (search) has hired several deputies and about a dozen of the 500 new employees he'll need to coordinate the 15 agencies that make up the spy community, senior intelligence officials said Friday.
One of John Negroponte's (search) first moves was to set up an organization that includes four deputies for intelligence collection, analysis, coordination with government consumers of intelligence, and overall management of the spy community.
With two weeks on the job, Negroponte has chosen people for all but one of those four slots, according to the senior officials familiar with the new structure, who spoke on condition of anonymity. That includes the promotion of Thomas Fingar (search), who has run the State Department's intelligence office since July 2004, to be the deputy for intelligence analysis.
Fingar has been interviewed by Senate investigators regarding how analysts working under him have been treated by John Bolton, the embattled nominee to be U.N. ambassador.
Under the sweeping intelligence overhaul that Congress passed last year, officials say that Negroponte's job comes with a strong hand to coordinate analysis, which has come under fire in the wake of the botched estimates leading up to the 2003 Iraq invasion.
Even finding a home for the director has its complications. The director is working out of a small space in the New Executive Office Building, a stone's throw from the White House. He plans to move to more permanent, but still temporary quarters, at Washington's Bolling Air Force Base, when the Defense Intelligence Agency finishes construction on a new building this fall.
Meanwhile, aides are looking for a place to stay for good, the officials said.
The paint is still wet in the temporary quarters. Intelligence pros are still figuring out the phones. Yet the officials say they are in full swing.
Negroponte, rather than the CIA director, is now responsible for the morning briefing with the president. He's setting up a watch center, drawing on experts from six agencies, to keep him abreast of events around the world.
Negroponte is also considering the recommendations of the president's commission on weapons of mass destruction and other intelligence matters, which released a scathing report at the end of March about spy agencies' ability to understand and penetrate global threats.