Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today after President-elect Obama nominated Admiral Dennis Blair to be Director of National Intelligence and Leon Panetta to be Director of Central Intelligence, and announced that Michael Leiter will continue to direct the National Counterterrorism Center and John Brennan will serve as Homeland Security Advisor and Deputy National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism:
“I commend President-elect Obama for these very strong additions to his national security team.
“Admiral Dennis Blair and Leon Panetta will add further depth to an already tough, capable and seasoned group. With unparalleled leadership and government experience, they will direct our intelligence capabilities toward the highest priority targets, protect the nation against emerging global threats and make Americans safer.
“Admiral Blair honorably and capably led our military forces in the Pacific Rim, showing his skills as an executive, geopolitical strategist, diplomat and political analyst. A graduate of the Naval Academy and a Rhodes Scholar who served as the CIA’s first Associate Director for Military Support, Admiral Blair is exactly the kind of thoughtful leader we need to guide our intelligence community.
“Mr. Panetta is one of our most seasoned and distinguished public servants, an experienced manager of complex government policies and programs at the highest level. A crisis-management expert and veteran of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, he is widely respected on both sides of the aisle and knows exactly what kind of counsel and information a President needs to make the toughest decisions.
“I am pleased that the President-elect has asked John Brennan and Michael Leiter, two strong and dedicated public servants, to serve as part of this team as well. I am confident that they will help ensure strong, legal and effective capabilities that protect Americans and honor our fundamental values.
“America’s national security has faced severe challenges over the last several years. With counterterrorism operations and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ongoing, it is vital that we move as quickly as possible to confirm these nominees.”