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Politics and Government

Lankford To Trump: Intelligence Czar Pick Should Be A Priority

U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., talks to supporters during the Republican watch party in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.
J. Pat Carter
U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., talks to supporters during the Republican watch party in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, November 8.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., is urging President-elect Donald Trump to make nominating the next Director of National Intelligence a priority.

Lankford and U.S. Sen. Angus Young, I-Maine, sent a letter to the president-elect on behalf of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Thursday asking him to select someone who's interested in collaborating and limiting redundancies within the intelligence community.

The two lawmakers also say picking a DNI sooner rather than later could allow that person to offer advice on candidates for directors of other intelligence agencies.

Trump announced his pick to fill one of those posts Friday morning. U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan. was tapped to lead the CIA. Pompeo has a military and legal background, and recently served on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, NPR's Carrie Johnson reports:

Like [National Security Advisor nominee Gen. Michael] Flynn, Pompeo — if confirmed as CIA director — would face decisions about how much of Trump's campaign rhetoric to attempt to implement as policy. Pompeo has been as critical as Trump of the Iran nuclear deal, for example — would the two work together to dismantle it, or focus on other ways to try to punish Tehran?

The current U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper announced Thursday he's submitted his letter of resignation.

NPR's national security editor Philip Ewing reports Clapper's resignation was expected and doesn't appear to indicate he's in trouble or has been forced out.

Clapper has nearly two months left in his term; he was sworn in as director of national intelligence in August 2010. "Everybody needs to take a deep breath," a DNI spokesperson tells NPR. "Clapper is resigning effective Jan. 20. He will finish out his term."

Read the full letter from Sens. Lankford and King

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