Negroponte: Benched, or Deep Relief?
Posted by Heather Hurlburt
I was waiting for The Washington Note to weigh in on what to think about John Negroponte stepping down as Director of National Intelligence to go be Rice's deputy at State. But Steve Clemons seems to be trapped at some garden spot without a hard drive -- so let's think for ourselves:
Two-word comment: Systemic Failure. There's some amusing gossip/inside baseball/Kremlinology on this move, some of which I note below. But fundamentally, the idea that a holder of the intelligence position could even consider leaving it for a lower-ranking government job suggests to me that the effort to reform how we manage intelligence has, ummm, not yet succeeded. Something is very wrong if our senior intelligence job is less attractive than being the waterboy for ANY Secretary of State.
Three word comment: Staying the Course: Last May, Steve seemed to see Negroponte in his intel position as a key opponent of then-Secretary Rumsfeld. Interesting that Rumsfeld's departure didn't make Negroponte want to stay/able to stay. One should conclude, as if there wasn't enough evidence pouring in from other quarters, that this Administration is not planning to change in any fundamental way.
Gossipy question: Jumped or Pushed? That's how NPR framed it this morning. Negroponte told C-SPAN just last month that he was in it through this Administration. I thought I heard someone on NPR say that Negroponte had also clashed with Rice in the past, but perhaps I hallucinated that in a pre-caffeine haze.
I'll even leave you with a Thursday morning conspiracy theory: what if this were a preliminary move because Rice is planning to leave State? I don't expect that myself, but one could see Negroponte, a career foreign service officer, hoping to do a Lawrence Eagleburger and become Secretary briefly at the end of this Administration.