WASHINGTON (UPI) — James Clapper, director of national intelligence, has resigned, saying he will not stay through the presidential transition.
Clapper, 75, submitted a letter of resignation to President Barack Obama on Wednesday night and made the announcement public during his opening statements before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday. His last day will be Jan. 20, the day of the presidential inauguration.
As national intelligence director, Clapper has authority over agencies that include the Central Intelligence Agency, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“[I] submitted my letter of resignation last night, which felt pretty good,” he said. “I have 64 days left and I’d have a pretty hard time with my wife going past that.”
Clapper’s resignation comes as President-elect Donald Trump takes steps forward to implement his administration’s national security plans.
Several officials named as possible replacements include Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the chairman of the Intelligence Committee and a member of Trump’s transition team, and former Rep. Pete Hoesktra, R-Mich., who served on the Intelligence Committee.
Shortly after Clapper made his resignation public, Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Angus King, I-Maine, urged Trump to choose a replacement quickly.
“A successful [director of national intelligence] makes the intelligence community more efficient, more collaborative, limits redundancies and advances seamless information sharing across our intelligence agencies,” they wrote in a letter to Trump. “Most importantly, if selected early, your [director of national intelligence] could advise on candidates for directors of the intelligence agencies he or she will work with most often.”
Clapper, appointed by Obama in 2010, is the nation’s fourth director of national intelligence, a position created in the years following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
He came under fire in 2013 when asked by lawmakers if the National Security Agency collects data on Americans. His answer, “No, sir. Not wittingly,” was proven untruthful when NSA document leaker Edward Snowden revealed top secret documents that showed otherwise. Clapper was never charged with lying under oath.
Clapper had previously served during the administrations of George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush as the under secretary of defense for intelligence and the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, respectively.
The White House has asked presidential appointees to submit letters of resignation that include dates they will leave office.
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