[Congressional Record: February 7, 2007 (Senate)]
[Page S1706-S1707]


  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, today the Senate has confirmed the 
nomination of VADM Mike McConnell to be the next Director of National 
Intelligence. It is hard for me to imagine a better choice than Admiral 
  The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence received Admiral 
McConnell's nomination to replace John Negroponte on January 22, 2007. 
He completed all the requisite paperwork and the committee held a 
hearing with Admiral McConnell on February 1. The committee met on 
February 6, and voted unanimously to report the nomination to the 
Senate with a favorable recommendation.
  I am pleased that the Senate has moved quickly to act on this 
recommendation. I think this swift consideration of the nomination is 
recognition of both the importance of this position and of the 
qualifications of Admiral McConnell.
  As my colleagues know, the position of Director of National 
Intelligence was created by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism 
Prevention Act 2004. That legislation drew on recommendations from the 
congressional and commission reports on the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the 
Senate Intelligence Committee report on Iraq prewar intelligence, the 
Report of the Joint Inquiry by the House and Senate Intelligence 
Committees into the events of 9/11, and the recommendations of numerous 
other commissions and reviews going back 50 years.
  The creation of the DNI was an important step. We now have, for the 
first time, an individual whose primary job is to run the intelligence 
community as a whole. Until the creation of the DNI, the old Director 
of Central Intelligence wore two hats--as the head of the Intelligence 
Community and as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. But 
this structural change, while important, was only the first step to 
reforming intelligence. The DNI must make the 16 agencies of the 
intelligence community work as one toward a common goal. Director 
Negroponte has started the community down that path. It is going to be 
up to Admiral McConnell to move us further along.
  A quick review of his resume will show even the casual observer that 
Admiral McConnell is incredibly well qualified for this critical 
position. He retired from the Navy as Vice Admiral after 29 years of 
service. Most of his service during this distinguished career was as an 
intelligence officer.
  While on active duty he served as Director of Intelligence on the 
Joint Staff during the Persian Gulf War. This made him the principal 
intelligence advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, GEN Colin 
Powell. He went on to become the Director of the National Security 
Agency, our Nation's largest intelligence agency.
  Upon retiring from the Navy, Admiral McConnell went to work for Booz 
Allen Hamilton where he has been a senior vice president for 
intelligence and national security. He also is currently chairman and 
chief executive officer of the Intelligence and National Security 
Alliance, an industry group that works with the Government looking for 
ways to solve some of our complex intelligence problems. He has the 
requisite Government experience supplemented by a decade in the private 
  In his appearance before the Intelligence Committee last week I think 
it is fair to say that he impressed all members of the committee with 
his knowledge of the issues and the difficulty of the task ahead. But I 
was particularly encouraged by his answers to questions about the 
relationship with Congress.
  It is no secret that I have not always been happy with the level of 
access the intelligence committee has had to materials it needs to do 
its job. On some of the most important and sensitive programs in the 
Intelligence Community, we have been frustrated in our attempts to do 
oversight because we have

[[Page S1707]]

not been able to get documents and other information critical to 
understanding and therefore evaluating these programs. In other cases 
the administration has placed burdensome and unwarranted limits on 
access by Senators and staff.
  Vice Chairman Bond and I are making a concerted bipartisan effort to 
deal with these questions. And we are making headway. One issue that we 
both raised with Admiral McConnell at his hearing has now been 
resolved. We also have seen movement, if not complete satisfaction, in 
other areas. Admiral McConnell's answers convinced me that he will be 
an ally in this area. It is my view that the intelligence community 
needs to view Congress as a partner in supporting intelligence 
activities that protect America and I think he will do that.
  I thank all of my colleagues for supporting support the confirmation 
of Admiral McConnell and I look forward to working with him in his new 
role as Director of National Intelligence.