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Bush's intelligence chief resigns

John Negroponte, is resigning to become Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's deputy.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2007 12:11 IST

United States President George W Bush's top intelligence official, John Negroponte, is resigning to become Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's deputy, a senior official said.

News of Negroponte's resignation came just days before Bush is expected to announce his new strategy for Iraq, where Negroponte served as ambassador for 10 months before taking over as the first US Director of National Intelligence in April 2005.

Although he said in interviews earlier this year that he would remain the intelligence czar until Bush leaves office in January 2008, Negroponte, 67, has agreed to return to his State Department roots as deputy secretary of state, the senior State Department official said on Wednesday.

His resignation and new appointment will be announced later this week, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Rice has not had a number two since Robert Zoellick resigned as deputy secretary of state in June 2006 and she was "very pleased" that Negroponte, a career diplomat, had agreed to take over the position, the official said.

The appointment must be confirmed by the Senate, under an opposition Democratic majority following elections last November, making it uncertain when Negroponte would take up the new post.

Before going to Iraq, Negroponte served as the US ambassador to the United Nations, overseeing the unsuccessful US campaign to gain the world body's endorsement for toppling Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.