I spent my entire adult life serving as a military officer where I was precluded from direct involvement in partisan political activity. I retired from the Air Force in October 2008 and for the first time got to take an active role in a political campaign, and I got to go door-to-door campaigning for Candidate Obama. Since Inauguration Day, I've been disappointed and often less than complimentary of the Obama administration, but I give them a very enthusiastic thumbs-up for choosing Jim Clapper to serve as the Director of National Intelligence.
I've known General Clapper for a quarter-century, going all the way back to the mid-80s when he was a colonel and I was a young captain stationed in Cocoa Beach, Florida, and he wrote a letter of recommendation that enabled me to stay in the Air Force beyond my initial four year obligation. Our paths have crossed from time to time since then I have been consistently impressed by his unwavering integrity and plain common sense. I wish I could describe in detail what I've witnessed firsthand about this man who in my view exemplifies the terms true patriot and dedicated public servant, but I can't. What I can say is that when I was Chief Prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and General Clapper took over as Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence in the spring of 2007, it was a breath of fresh air when suddenly there was a level-headed rather than a pig-headed leader at the helm of the DoD intelligence community who understood that how we conduct ourselves says as much about us as it does about our adversaries. There are few people in this world that I'd place all my chips on the table in reliance on their character, but General Clapper is among that group.
It is disappointing that a few members of Congress who never felt the need to serve in the nation's armed forces are expressing reservations about General Clapper primarily because he heeded his nation's call to military service. If having worn the uniform is a disqualifying factor then it's a sad commentary on the state of the nation, and an insult to veterans and the thousands who serve today. I hope the Senate will do something it only does on rare occasions and put partisan politics and personal political posturing aside and do what's in the best interest of the nation and confirm Jim Clapper as Director of National Intelligence.
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