Negroponte move

This is baffling. John Negroponte will leave his Director of National Intelligence position to become deputy secretary of state. The NYT reports on paper the DNI out ranks Dep Sec of State so it appears to be a down ward shift. Why would Negroponte want to do this? I don’t buy the ‘he wants to return to his roots’ speculation by officials in Washington. (Sounds as corny as the ‘wants to spend time with family’ cover for getting pushed out of a job) It would also seem the DNI post is more important and thus ought to be the priority.

The Dep Sec of State position has been unfilled for 6 months since Robert Zoellick quit in June. The NYT reports that Condi “has had great difficulty” finding a replacement with several people having “turned down the post” and that she has been pushing to get Negroponte.

NYT also points out that the move will be a blow to the intelligence community that has “seen little continuity” since Tenant. They also report that administration officials wouldn’t say if Bush was dissatisfied with Negroponte.

And then, quite importantly, there is this…

Mr. Bush had at first been reluctant to set up the intelligence post, but ultimately bowed to Congressional pressure and for the first time made the office a cabinet-level position. (NYT article)

So maybe Bush doesn’t like Negroponte. And Condi is pestering him for John. (And Condi needs some propping up–face it he’d leave Iraq before he’d leave her and we know that ain’t happening) And the DNI post was not Bush’s choice. So is he all that invested in it? (answer: he resents it)

This move which seems so baffling and stupid actually may be vintage Bush. He can make Condi happy. (and possibly make her look better) He can backhand Congress for foisting the DNI on him and thus not respectin The Decider. And what’s a little upheaval to the intelligence community (leaky bastards anyway) when he can get all that.

I think the first avenue of pursuit when trying to understand Bush is to think of; pay off to ego and pay back to others (and Condi, always Condi). The last thing to do would be to think in terms of what is best for the country.

Anyway those are my initial thoughts. Yours?

UPDATE:Booman is baffled too and trying to figure it out. He has 2 interesting possible scenarios while looking deeper into the politics than I have done here. Regarding his first scenario I can see Negroponte running the show and Condi being a figurehead (about what I was saying) but I just don’t see her stepping down. The second scenario revolves around the replacement for DNI which I hadn’t examined and it is interesting…”This is another part of a Poppy Bush coup”…I need to think on that one

UPDATE: one last thought.WSJ reported in November of talk that Rice is reaching out to Negroponte and suggestions of a promise he’d get the top job should she decide to leave.

I do think Rice is failing and perhaps this is a sort of State Dept “surge”…reinforce her in one last effort to save her. It’s still hard to see her leaving though.

12 thoughts on “Negroponte move

  1. Classic Bush “I’m doing something, see?” musical chairs. You’re spot on about the slap to DNI and about Condi’s “hard work” not being appriciated, but there’s a whole lot more to this worthless move. The timing. A late press dump right before the Dems roll into town which ensures an external move by the Senate to approve either a new DNI or, if Gen. Intelligence moves up, a new CIA director.
    Now, just as the Dems get their agenda off the ground, here’s a little distraction for you, one that keeps the Senate busy and give the White House something other than Iraq to open every press docket with for at least a few weeks.

  2. I know there is a lot more. It is very weird move and timing as you say. I really am curious as to what it all means. Whatever it is it isn’t good
    Thanks for commenting

  3. I agree with the idea that this is a way to have someone take over for Condi. Johnny BlackSpot isn’t doing much as DNI anyway.
    Also, I bet Condi really needs to go away because I am sure she is one, like Gen Casey, who is urging against escalation and pushing for some ISG-type actions.
    Soon it’s only gonna be people from Iran-Contra; they’ll figure out a way to bring back Rummy even.
    — joshowitz

  4. I’ve been wondering for a while whether Condi was really happy doing what she’s doing. Think about it–would you want to be Secretary of State when the United States has the kind of reputation it has now overseas? She’s in the nightmarish position of being expected to accomplish great things when her power to do so is at its lowest since America became a superpower. Look at her last effort to broker a deal between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The only way a Secretary of State could be effective at coercing anybody these days would be to leverage alliances (do as we tell you, or we’ll get Europe to cut off its support or something like that).
    Add to those issues the infighting within the administration. All of that had to be exhausting and frustrating.
    But my real reason for thinking Condi’s on her way out is this: Would you be able to work for Dubya as long as she has? It would have driven me crazy long ago.

  5. Could this also be a way to hide the fact that Negroponte hasn’t been able to fulfill his charge in his present position? That he couldn’t “unify” the intelligence? That the security of govt computers is still rated as being somewhat weak?

  6. MapleStreet, that would mean they are making someone accountable for failures or mistakes – a rare thing in this administation.
    I don’t think Bush cares whether the person in this position is doing the job or not, because the position was forced on him. IMO, it’s about the State Department.

  7. Rice is just like Bushie, a failure at everything she touches. i have no idea why people think she is smart.

  8. Everyone is trying to figure out why John Negroponte would take a demotion from Director of National Intelligence – overseeing 16 intelligence agencies with an unlimited budget and zero oversight – to become Condi’s #2 at the State Department, which gets as much respect (and funding) under Bush as the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
    There’s a very simple reason: Karl Rove has chosen Condi Rice to run for President, and he needs to line up her replacement so she can resign in March – before she has to answer subpoenas from Joe Biden – and begin her campaign.
    You read it here first.
    http://www.democrats.com/condi-for-president

  9. You can be smart and still be a failure. History is littered with ’em. Smarts have to be leavened with intuition, empathy and humility. I don’t doubt that Condi is at least of average intelligence, if not above average. I think she’s probably lacking in those three other areas.
    Napoleon is a prime example. I don’t think there’s anybody out there who believes that Napoleon was a stupid man–he couldn’t have gotten as far as he did without being very, very smart. Where he failed was in lacking humility–hence his hubris in believing that he could conquer *everybody*.
    Where Condi messed up most was in hitching her wagon to a Shrub who lacks all three *and* has no smarts.

  10. i think the neoconderthals are restless. they know condi needs a pair(yeah, and a penis)behind her. the dominatrix boots don’t work in other countries.
    and then put somebody even more under the radar in the intelligence spot.
    KKKarl may want her to be preznit, but i don’t think she wans to. her hard werk is too hard now.

  11. Good points.
    But there’s still the possibility that Negroponte is smart enough to see the failures and attempting to exit quietly before he gets personally associated with the failure to have results. But the thing that makes me think that I’m wrong about that is that he’s moving to being under Condi – who hasn’t been effective – so its kind of like taking two people of IQ 60 and saying together they have an IQ of 120.
    Admittedly, in a small way (very small way) I feel somewhat sorry for Dr. Rice as she seemed to have had promise but now is saddled to being yet-another-person-in-a-long-line-of-people degraded by the Shrub/Midas-touch. If she were interviewing to work for me, I’d have to ask her what results she gotten and heronly answer was that Shrub declared “Mission Accomplished”

  12. “they’ll figure out a way to bring back Rummy even.”
    your new Director of National Intelligence.

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