Negroponte new spy czar

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

The job, created last year to better coordinate US spy agencies following the September 11 attacks and other intelligence blunders, will make the 65-year-old the new central authority for all US espionage operations.

Within 45 minutes of his approval, Mr Negroponte was sworn in at the White House by chief of staff Andrew Card with Mr Bush witnessing the ceremony.

A veteran diplomat with a career spanning four decades, Mr Negroponte will take the helm of 15 US intelligence agencies, encompassing 100,000 civilian and military employees and with an estimated annual budget of around US40b (A$52b).

At his confirmation hearing earlier this month he said preventing a future attack is his top priority.

He also vowed he would work to quash squabbles between agencies and to dismantle the “intelligence fiefdoms” that have hampered the flow of information in the past.

Born in London to a Greek-American family and raised in New York, Mr Negroponte is fluent in five languages.

The veteran diplomat has served as US ambassador to Mexico, Honduras and the Philippines and was the US representative to the United Nations who made the case for the Iraq war.

From June 2004 until last month, he was also served as ambassador to Iraq, working in the run up to the landmark January 30 elections.

But his appointment has proved controversial.

His confirmation to the UN post was delayed by half a year, mostly because of criticism of his record as the US ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985.

Human rights groups said he downplayed killings and disappearances by government-linked death squads during his tenure.

They also accuse him of having played a prominent role in assisting the Contras in Nicaragua in their war with the left-wing Sandinista government.

Mr Negroponte testified during the hearings for the UN post that he did not believe death squads were operating in Honduras.

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