Bush's nominee to head National Intelligence wants closer look at Russia

The U.S. President's nominee for the country's National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, wants to focus more on Russia as at the confirmation hearings in the Senate he supported the idea of a special post to monitor trends in the country.

“Where I am in my thinking at the moment is to take a look at Russia because of the reason for mission manager for Russia. I think we need to understand it, we need to know where it is going. Having someone focused on it as a mission manager at the national level will serve us well to stay focused and continue to review it. Russia, because of increase in oil prices, is significantly advantaged in terns of resources right now, in terms of what they get for their oil. I have been troubled by some of the trends in Russia over the last year or so. That is the scenario that needs an attention and focus and again producing those forecasts on where it might be taking us,” he underscored.

The retired Vice-Admiral would replace John Negroponte – a close ally of President Bush – who has headed the service since February 2005 soon after it was set up following the post-September 11th reforms.

With 25 years experience in the intelligence community, McConnell – if approved by the Senate – could become the second director of the office which aims to safeguard the country from major attacks.