Intelligence chief to leave as Trump arrives

United States Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
United States Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

United States Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has submitted his resignation, stepping down as President-elect Donald Trump starts to assemble his Administration.

Clapper, whose job is to co-ordinate the work of 17 disparate agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, said resigning "felt pretty good" after six years in the job.

In a Congressional hearing he made clear he was not available to stay on in the job after Trump takes office on January 20.

"I submitted my letter of resignation last night," the retired air force lieutenant general, 75, told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

"I got 64 days left and I think I will have a hard time with my wife for anything past that," he said.

Confirming that, the Directorate of National Intelligence said later in a tweet that "As required of all appointed Administration officials, DNI Clapper has signed a letter of resignation effective at noon on Jan 20, 2017."

Clapper's tenure as US intelligence chief was marred by the leak of documents from the NSA demonstrating that it collected massive amounts of data on the communications of US citizens.

In March 2013, Clapper denied in testimony to Congress that the agency swept up such data from US telecommunications providers.

Months later former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents showing that the NSA did collect such data, leading to accusations that Clapper lied to Congress on the issue and calls for his resignation.

The data also showed how the US spies on allies, sparking tensions with top partners such as France and Germany.

In an interview in 2014 Snowden said that Clapper's denials had prompted him to leak the top-secret data.

- AFP

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