Head of U.S. National Intelligence to join the State Department

The director of the U.S. National Intelligence Service John Negroponte is to leave office and take a senior position in the State Department. He was the first U.S. intelligence chief responsible for all federal intelligence agencies.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity a government official said Mr Negroponte will become Deputy Secretary of State, second in command at the department after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

John Negroponte’s resignation is part of President Bush's new strategy for the war in Iraq. An official announcement is expected to be made later.