Corridors of Power: Blair Signals Intel Shift, The Pope Does Damage Control and More

Corridors of Power: Blair Signals Intel Shift, The Pope Does Damage Control and More

INTEL CHIEF SIGNALS CHANGE -- Adm. Dennis Blair, President Obama's new director of national intelligence, has lost no time living up to his reputation as a hard-driving boss. The intelligence community has been at work since last December compiling the 2009 Annual Threat Assessment, which the new director submitted to Congress Thursday. According to a well-informed source, when Blair arrived to take up his post some days ago, the finished draft was handed to him, but to almost everyone's consternation he rejected it. Intel officers had to scramble to produce a new version shifting the emphasis from terrorism to the threat of global economic turmoil on U.S. security.

The departure from the Bush war cry of terrorism uber alles, duly noted in the U.S. intelligence community, is typical of the changes large and small that are shaking up the various agencies. For example, the daily briefings prepared for the president have been reformatted to suit Obama's preferences, according to insiders. President Bush, who was famous for arriving in the Oval Office early, received his briefing around 7 a.m., usually with Vice-President Cheney, White House security adviser Stephen Hadley, and others present.

The Bush briefing tended to consist of five, longish items, with backup explanations from a regular intelligence briefer. Since Obama took office, the agencies have had to adjust to a new format and a new timeframe. Obama has been experimenting with a list of much shorter items, delivered to him around 9 a.m., when he arrives in the office. The intelligence agencies now don't get their top client's reaction to the main issues of the day until nearly lunch time, but one source believed the pattern hasn't settled yet, and would probably change.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review