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President Bush Nominates John Negroponte to be National Intelligence Director

Aired February 17, 2005 - 09:30   ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: And you guessed it. That is in surround sound for the opening bell today. Different touch.
Dow starting off today at 10,834. It barely budged yesterday, down about two points in trading.

Nasdaq market site off about two points as well -- 2,087 is the opening mark for the tech heavy Nasdaq.

Welcome back, everybody, 09:30 here in New York. Good to have you along with us today.

The president expected to name his director of national intelligence in 30 minutes. Suzanne Malveaux picking up information down at the White House. She'll join us in a moment on that story.

We'll get to Suzanne standing by.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Also, you probably don't want to marry your brother, but you might want to take him on your honeymoon.

Franz Wisner's story got started when he got stood up at the altar. It ended up with a book called "Honeymoon With My Brother" and a movie deal.

HEMMER: Good deal.

O'BRIEN: The brothers join us in just a few minutes.

HEMMER: I bet they have a story to tell, too.

O'BRIEN: Yes. Not a movie deal.

Ka-ching, all the way -- I think it may have been the best thing that ever happened to him.


O'BRIEN: We'll find out.

COLLINS: All right.

O'BRIEN: Top stories now, to bring to you.

COLLINS: That's right. We've got some headlines to look at now. In fact, starting in Iraq, this morning. Iraq's new government taking shape today. Within the past hour, officials certified the official results from last month's election.

A Shi'ite dominated alliance holds a slim majority in a 275- member national assembly. Today's certification sets the stage for the next step in Iraq's road to democracy drafting a new constitution.

In California, pop star Michael Jackson apparently back at home after a brief hospital stay. Jackson slipped out of -- slipped out unnoticed, that is, from a Santa Maria hospital yesterday, one day after being rushed in with a flu-like ailment.

His spokesman says the pop star was discharged and would continue his recovery at home. Jury selection in the Jackson trial is set to resume on Tuesday.

And word this morning New England Patriots linebacker, Tedy Bruschi, is undergoing more medical tests. He was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston yesterday after complaining of headaches.

Some media reports claim Bruschi had stroke-like symptoms, including partial paralysis and blurred vision. A spokesman for the Patriots says an update on his condition should come later today. So, of course, we'll be watching for that.

O'BRIEN: Yes, we're certainly keeping our fingers crossed for him, as well.

HEMMER: One of the tough hits in that league could lead to possible injuries.

COLLINS: And they do hit hard.

HEMMER: We've seen it before, yes.

O'BRIEN: No question.

HEMMER: Best to him.

Thanks, Heidi.

O'BRIEN: Well, President Bush is going to announce, at 10:00 this morning Eastern time, his pick for the recently created post of national intelligence director.

White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux, joins us from the White House this morning with details.

Good morning to you, Suzanne.


Well, it's expected to happen just within the half hour or so. It is all part of the intelligence reform bill that the president signed back in December. Of course, this would be a powerful individual that would report directly to the president, really as his chief adviser on intelligence.

He would be responsible for a $40 billion budget. He would oversee 15 intelligence agencies.

Now, by law, the president has to name this individual within six months or at least until mid-June. And also, this nominee, of course, has to be confirmed by the Senate.

Now, it has only been two months, but the White House did receive a bit of prodding yesterday when the co-chair of the Senate intelligence committee expressed some frustration that the vacancy was still there, that he believed that it was really hurting U.S. ability to detect and analyze this kind of intelligence.

Also, of course, comes at a critical time for the White House. It was just yesterday that we heard from CIA director, Porter Goss. He was testifying, saying that the single, dangerous threat to the United States remains terrorism, that he says it's simply a matter of time that al Qaeda, other terrorist groups, may end up attacking.

He also said, of course, that there is evidence that Iran as well as North Korea both are trying to bolster their nuclear capabilities.

I should also note, as well, White House officials, who are they looking for when they look for someone like this. This has to be someone that they say is of great stature, one that has a relationship, of course, with the White House and the intelligence community, and one, of course, that critics say -- critics of the former CIA director, George Tenet, has the ability not only to stand up to the president but also to secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

Some of those critics say they believe that Tenet actually told the president what he wanted to hear when it came to intelligence matters.

The president has made it known, in the past, that he believes this is a position that should exist outside of the White House. While he's actually going to be reporting to the president, it is going to be outside of that purview because he wants to make it very clear that it's an independent position and that it's not one that's going to get caught up in policy decisions -- Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Suzanne Malveaux at the White House.

And again, we are waiting for the president to name that director of national intelligence. And we're going to bring it to you live when it happens -- Bill?

HEMMER: In the meantime, 25 minutes now before the hour.

And the puck stops now. The National Hockey League has canceled the season, the first time for a professional sports league, over a labor dispute. Many now wonder how big a price the league and the sport will pay.

With that this morning, here's Larry Smith.


LARRY SMITH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight months after the Tampa Bay Lightning lifted the Stanley Cup, we already know their chances of repeating -- none.

Commissioner Gary Bettman's announcement that the season was canceled meant the cup would not be awarded for the first time since 1919. There was plenty of blame to go around.

GARY BETTMAN, NHL COMMISSIONER: Everyone associated with the National Hockey League owes our fans an apology for the situation in which we find ourselves.

CHRIS DRAPER, DETROIT RED WINGS: It's his fault. I don't think the players can take any blame. I think we've given a lot. I think we've tried to get a deal done. And this is on Bettman's plate.

BETTMAN: I hope when it's over, for their sake, they think it was worth it because I don't see how it plays out that way. And I think that's a tragedy.

SMITH: As the door closes on this season, the real challenge begins for the NHL -- getting back the fans who have been hurt by the lockout.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dejection, disappointment, frustration, all of the above. I mean, it's very devastating. It's very hurtful.

WAYNE GRETZKY, NHL HALL OF FAMER: Only time will tell how we're going to win all those people back over. And that's a tough road ahead of us.

SMITH: Bettman said hockey will be played next season, although no one knows what form it will take.

BETTMAN: We will be back, and we will be back better than ever and hopefully as soon as possible. Don't give up on the game. It's too good.

SMITH: Larry Smith, CNN, Atlanta.


HEMMER: And we have talked all week about this main sticking point between the team owners and the players -- a plan by owners to cap team salaries. In the end, the two sides could not work out a $6 million difference.

Season over -- Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Well, Arizona might be looking at another storm this weekend. Three major storms so far this Winter have led to lots of flooded roads and risky rescues like this one on an Indian reservation outside of Phoenix.

Twenty-one people, including seven children, have been rescued from the floodwaters since last Friday.

Let's get a look at the weather for the day ahead. Rob Marciano at the CNN Center with the latest. He's in for Chad this morning.

Hey, Rob, good morning.



MARCIANO: But New York City itself, Soledad, will be rain and snow-free. Enjoy that.

O'BRIEN: OK, we'll take it. Thanks, Rob.

MARCIANO: You've got it.

O'BRIEN: Appreciate it.

Ever get the back-to-work blues? No, never.

How about you, Bill?

HEMMER: That's the right answer.

O'BRIEN: Well, one expert says the reason for it goes all the way back to when you were a kid. That sounds like a little psychoanalysis.


O'BRIEN: We're going to talk to him just ahead.

HEMMER: Also, if your fiance dumps you just days before the wedding, what do you do? How about taking your own brother on your honeymoon?

The two brothers who did it share a funny, and a touching story as well. We'll talk to them in a moment here, as we continue after this.

Waiting for the president's announcement, 22 minutes away.

Back in a moment.


HEMMER: It is often referred to as the Sunday night syndrome or maybe just the back-to-work blues for Monday. If you get it, what can you do about it?

Dr. Alan Hilfer is a psychologist at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. He joins me this morning. Nice to see you.


HEMMER: What is Sunday night syndrome. How do you define it?

HILFER: It's the anticipation of the work week. It's what happens to people when they begin to think about starting up again on Monday.

HEMMER: Is this dread? Is it anxiety? What is it?

HILFER: It's a little bit of both for a lot of people. What it symbolizes for them is the end of the weekend and the beginning of an obligation that they have been able to escape for at least a couple of days.

HEMMER: So, the fun's over is what you're saying?

HILFER: Essentially that's what it is.

HEMMER: What's the source of this? Where do you tie it?

HILFER: It's -- for most people, it seems to have its origins in our having to get ready to go back to school when we were kids. It's pretty deeply ingrained in most people.

Sunday night means the end of a weekend when you've had a couple of days off and you've put off all your homework, and you have left everything until the last minute, and you begin to think about and anticipate getting back into the routines of Monday school.

HEMMER: Well, I think just about everybody has felt this at a particular time or not. But some people, I would assume, because we're talking about this today, get it more often than others?

HILFER: I think that there are probably some studies that indicate that almost everybody experiences something akin to anxiety or a sense of anticipation about going back to work.

HEMMER: So the big question, then, is what do you do about it? How do you fight against it on a Saturday night or a Sunday?

HILFER: You have to begin to find things to look forward to during the week. You have to plan vacations. You have to be able to think about what's special, what's going to work for you, what's going to enrich you, what's going to recharge your batteries during the work week.

You have you to be able to like parts of your job, if you're an adult. If you're a teenager or someone in college, you have to be able to look forward to some kind of class that you're enjoying.

But the key to almost everything is being able to find the positives, the goods and the things that you do that enrich you that you can look forward to. HEMMER: A lot of that comes down to attitude, would you not agree?

HILFER: If you have a bit more of an optimistic attitude, if you are looking forward to things, if you are enjoying what you are doing, it makes a lot of things a lot easier.

HEMMER: It's always a good reminder to look forward to certain things, to keep that positive attitude.

Thanks for coming in.

HILFER: My pleasure.

HEMMER: Dr. Alan Hilfer with us today here on AMERICAN MORNING.

HILFER: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Well, Franz Wisner, knew that life would change after his wedding day, but he couldn't have known just how it would happen. Five days before the big event, his bride-to-be called it off.

He was dumped, but undeterred, Franz went ahead with the celebration and the honeymoon, too, but with his brother, no less.

Now, he's written about the experience in this book. It's called "Honeymoon With My Brother."

Franz and Kurt Wisner join us this morning. Nice to see both you guys.


O'BRIEN: You were obviously devastated when your fiance...


O'BRIEN: ... who goes by the name Amy. And I don't know if that's a pseudonym or really her name...

F. WISNER: Right.

O'BRIEN: ... called it off. But there had been signals, too, right?

F. WISNER: There had been signals. And I felt every emotion. I was confused. I was depressed. I was angry.

O'BRIEN: Embarrassed you said.

F. WISNER: I was embarrassed.

I mean, yes, the first reaction was, oh, my gosh, I have to call like 150 people. I've got to call the bagpiper and the caterer.

O'BRIEN: It was your mom who said, you're not going to believe it now, but you're going to be grateful that she did it now...

F. WISNER: ... as opposed to a week from now when you're married.

F. WISNER: And mom's advice usually turns out to be correct. In this case, she definitely was.

O'BRIEN: So, you went ahead with the party.

F. WISNER: We went ahead and had a brideless wedding with 75 friends and family members gathered at a remote resort and just kind of toasted to life and boosted my spirits.

O'BRIEN: And then you asked your brother to do the honeymoon?

F. WISNER: Right. Well, I came back to work the next week. And my boss said, hey, sorry about the wedding. We've done a little rearranging here at the company.

O'BRIEN: And that sounds bad.

F. WISNER: And I thought, oh.

O'BRIEN: That's never good.

F. WISNER: I had some bad karma that week.

O'BRIEN: So you were demoted at work.

F. WISNER: Demoted at work.

O'BRIEN: You had a brideless wedding.

F. WISNER: Brideless wedding.

O'BRIEN: And you decided to go on your honeymoon anyway. Why?

F. WISNER: Decided to go on my honeymoon.

One is I had the tickets. And two, my brother had flown down from Seattle to help me out with the whole wedding crash. And so, I wanted to reward him a little bit but also wanted to reconnect with Kurt.

We weren't close before this honeymoon. We probably saw each other one or two days a year. So I wanted to bond with Kurt a little bit, so we did on a honeymoon.

O'BRIEN: But it started off as a two-week trip, and then it ended up being, at the end, a two-year trip, essentially.

KURT WISNER, ACCOMPANIED BROTHER ON HONEYMOON: Well, he promised me, initially, that I wouldn't be carried across any thresholds and no heart-shaped beds.

O'BRIEN: (crosstalk) at minimal. K. WISNER: True. True. And he stayed true to his word, so then I agreed to go on the extended honeymoon.

O'BRIEN: You're laughing, of course, but you were going through your own sort of personal relationship-type issue, yourself, right?

K. WISNER: Absolutely. Like Franz said, we weren't close as brothers. And I was up in Seattle. I was a year out of a divorce and kind of stuck in my rut up there. So, when the opportunity presented it to go on this honeymoon, I jumped at it.

F. WISNER: So at the end of two weeks, we reconnected as brothers. One night I said, Kurt, let's extend this thing. And he said, what do you mean, like for a day or two?

I said, no, no, no. Let's keep going. So we did, for two years, through 53 countries.

O'BRIEN: What was your favorite place to go and why?

F. WISNER: I'm a big fan of the cultural crossroads, places like Brazile, Turkey, Indonesia, where there's kind of a unique mix of cultures, foods, ethnicities.

Those are the fascinating places to me.

O'BRIEN: How did you pick where to go?

K. WISNER: Well, it started out we had a planned trip through Europe. But then it was just kind of on feel. We would pick a continent, go there for three or four months.

F. WISNER: Feel and cost.

K. WISNER: Right, absolutely.

F. WISNER: We wanted to stretch the dollar, so we didn't spend a lot of time in Western Europe. We focused more on third world.

O'BRIEN: How did you logistically pull it off? I mean, obviously, you had lives back in the United States -- not a particularly good work life to go back to, not a particularly good personal life to go back to. But...

F. WISNER: I think it's easier than most people would imagine. And it costs a lot less than most people would imagine. We estimated we spent around $10,000 to $15,000 a year traveling the world. And that's with a lot of countries.

It can even be done less expensive than that.

O'BRIEN: In the end, you turned out a book, which is very touching and very funny, too. I mean, it's not a tear jerker.

K. WISNER: People are liking it.

O'BRIEN: It's wonderful.

F. WISNER: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: And you also got a movie deal.

F. WISNER: Right.

O'BRIEN: You list the lessons learned, which, I though, were great.

One of them is that you never regret travel.

F. WISNER: You never do.

O'BRIEN: You might regret work.

F. WISNER: Or time with the brother.

O'BRIEN: And you're married. You've got a baby on the way. Literally (ph), it goes on and on.

F. WISNER: You will get no complaints out of me.

O'BRIEN: Gentlemen, nice to see you. Thanks a lot.

K. WISNER: Thanks for having us.

F. WISNER: Thank you so much.

O'BRIEN: Oh, my pleasure.

Let's go back to Bill.

HEMMER: All right, Soledad, breaking news as you were talking. Again, we had mentioned the president will announce his pick to head up the national intelligence agency.

Ed Henry, now, has confirmed that John Negroponte, the current ambassador to Iraq, will be that man chosen by the president. Here's Ed in D.C.

Now Ed, what more do you have?

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Bill. That's right.

Congressional sources telling CNN that the president's choice will, in fact, be John Negroponte, the current U.S. ambassador to Iraq, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, very well known on the hill, very well known internationally.

He has a lot of diplomatic experience. And that is going to be very important in this sensitive post as the first ever U.S. director of national intelligence.

There are a lot of turf battles to come between the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency, the various 15 spy agencies that this new director of national intelligence will now have to pull in.

A lot of pressure from Capitol Hill from both parties about how this new post is going to be constructed, how the entire intelligence apparatus is going to be restructured.

So somebody who is a well known quantity in Washington and around the world, John Negroponte, is going to be the first ever director of national intelligence -- Bill?

HEMMER: Ed, explain this to me. Back in May of last year, he was given the post in Baghdad, said to be the most critical location overseas for American interests in the world. This embassy, when it is finished, will be enormous with a huge budget and hundreds of personnel working there.

Why then take him out of this position and bring him back to the U.S. for this job?

HENRY: You're absolutely right. That's going to be a question that's going to be asked of the president right away, that obviously just as the director of national intelligence is a sensitive post, perhaps an even more sensitive post is a U.S. ambassador to Iraq, right now such a critical time so shortly after the elections.

But perhaps the administration will make the case, as they have already started making, that after the January 30 elections, they feel there has been a breaking off point where they feel the situation is going to start getting better in Iraq, that there were successful elections moving forward, and that now they need to turn their attention to this very important post here at home.

John Negroponte, I should point out, has been in Washington this week. Perhaps those final negotiations were going on in terms of how he will make this transition from U.S. ambassador to Iraq to now director of national intelligence.

But he has been in several meetings on Capitol Hill over the last couple of days with top people, like Senate foreign relations chairman, Dick Lugar. You can guarantee those very questions you're asking were asked of John Negroponte.

Since he ended up getting the job and it is about to be announced, we would have to assume that the president has made the calculation that he could put someone else in the sensitive post of U.S. ambassador to Iraq, work that situation out, but that he feels John Negroponte is the best person right now to become the first director of national intelligence.

Let me try and pick away at two more items, here, Ed. The first one, this bill was signed by the president into law about two months ago. Some in congress have complained that this post should have been nominated immediately, given its importance in the way the intelligence community has been restructured.

The law said you had until about June, I believe, to fill this post. HENRY: That's right, six months.

HEMMER: So, John Negroponte is the name going forward.

And the one thing that David Ensor told us about 15 minutes ago is that you need a very strong character to navigate the 15 different agencies. Is Negroponte the strongest character that anyone had on their short list for this job?

HENRY: Well, he was not on any short list that I heard. But, in fact, he is somebody that, as I mentioned, that somebody who has been in various, sensitive diplomatic posts going back a couple of decades;

Is somebody, that while he had not been part of the speculation game in recent weeks, perhaps because people here in Washington assumed that he would not be leaving Iraq at such a sensitive time, he is, in fact, somebody, while not on those short lists, somebody who clearly has the experience, the background to try to approach this very delicate task -- Bill?

HEMMER: Thank you, Ed. Stand by there, down in D.C.

Now Soledad with more.

O'BRIEN: All right. As we get ready to bring the president's remarks to you live -- we're expecting those, we should say, in just about nine minutes or so -- we're going to take to you David Ensor for a little more insight into the, what we hear is going to be the naming of John Negroponte as the new national intelligence director.

David, let's get you to weigh in on the same thing that we just heard from Ed Henry. As you said earlier in this hour, you said, you know, they've got to pick a person who can oversee these 15 disparate intelligence groups that have some infighting, that have their own issues to work out.

Is this the guy for the job?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's a dark horse candidate in that although he's been a consumer of intelligence, he's never been involved in intelligence gathering or analysis of any kind.

But he's a politically savvy, very well respected senior diplomat, one of the most respected foreign service officers in the United States government.

Clearly he has the president's trust, and he's done what's believed to have been a very good job in his fairly short tenure as U.S. ambassador in Baghdad.

I've been talking in the last few minutes with intelligence professionals, people who recently left government. And I can tell you the initial poll of a few of them is positive.

They believe that John Negroponte is the right sort of guy who can bring these agencies together, who can get them to work together. They call him a good team leader.

One of the key questions, though, is how will -- what will his relationship be like with Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense. And as one person described it to me, Don Rumsfeld is an old wrestler. And when you first meet with him alone in a room, he tries to pin you down.

And the question is, will John Negroponte respond in a way that allows the intelligence community to assert itself or will large parts of it remain as they are now under the budgetary and personnel control of the secretary of defense?

That is one of the main questions that Washington insiders will be watching closely. But, as I say, initial reaction to this name very positive.

O'BRIEN: One of the main questions among a list, a long list, of questions about the naming of John Negroponte as the new national intelligence director, you mentioned just a second ago.

He's had a short, successful, by some estimations, but short tenure in Iraq. And that would mean pulling him out of Iraq at a time that most consider to be very, very critical.

What's been the read in the intelligence community about that?

ENSOR: Well, his experience in Iraq should serve him in good stead. We just heard yesterday from Porter Goss, who will now be one of his senior deputies, the CIA director, that Iraq is becoming a training ground, if you will, for al Qaeda and other associated groups, for terrorists who may then branch out from Iraq and create problems in other countries, in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, or in the United States.

So, some of that experience in trying to deal with the insurgency in Iraq may serve him in good stead as the nation's new intelligence chief.

O'BRIEN: David Ensor. David, thanks. And, obviously, stand by for us as we await the president's words coming to us in just about five minutes or so.

HEMMER: A lot of reaction about what happens in Iraq with the U.S. mission there.

Barbara Starr has been looking into that. She's at the Pentagon now. Let's get to Barbara.

How could it change now with Negroponte, and who would succeed him, possibly, in Baghdad, today, Barbara? Do we know those answers?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't think we do know, Bill, yet. That, of course, will be a decision for the president, the state department position, of course, as ambassador to Iraq.

But it is something that is going to be absolutely critical for the U.S. military mission in Iraq.

Since John Negroponte has been ambassador there for the last several months, he has kept an extraordinarily low public profile. He has tried to put an Iraqi face on the mission, if you will.

And since the election, of course, the feeling has been in that mission that things are getting better, that maybe there is the prospect of a so-called turning point in the insurgency.

So what the military is going to be looking for is another ambassador who can really wheel and deal and do that horse trading, post election, with all of those Iraqi political factions because, of course, right now, they are struggling to select their new leaders, their new government and put an Iraqi government in place that will really be what the U.S. hopes is the foundation for success in Iraq, getting past the insurgency and getting some political stability in that country.

But as David said, one of the big issues for the Pentagon today with the possible appointment of John Negroponte is, of course, the intelligence budget, some perhaps $40 billion or so -- and the majority of it controlled at the Pentagon by the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

And certainly what we have heard around here in the last several weeks is that new piece of legislation creating this new intelligence structure, around here the feeling is, well, it's still being implemented. We're still figuring out how it's all going to work.

There's an awful lot of political to and fro behind the scenes in Washington right now, a lot of arm twisting, a lot of negotiation going on about how much the Pentagon will really control how much this new intelligence director will control.

And with John Negroponte, he's as tough a guy as Don Rumsfeld, that all remains to be seen.

HEMMER: Barbara, while you were talking, we had a quick shot there going up from White House to the old executive office building, there a short walk for the president and John Negroponte.

Within minutes, we should see both men, and we'll get the official announcement.

Let's continue our discussion here. You mentioned the election several times in your answer there. We now know that the Shi'ite group backed by the grand ayatollah, Ali Sistani, they have a slight majority in this new parliament -- 275 members, they'll have about 140 seats.

You also talked about the success in Iraq that is largely seen in Washington as a result of these elections. Is this a nod to John Negroponte for a job well done?

STARR: Well, perhaps it is because since the election, there is at least a perception that the Iraqis are going to be able to begin the process of taking control of their country. That is not to say that violence has ended. In fact, there, in the last several days, there has been another up tick in the violence.

But Bill, the point you made about the Shi'ite is really interesting because what we have heard here is since the Shi'ite did not achieve a clear, overwhelming majority in the election, that has opened the door to the political horse trading in Iraq, the kind of to and fro and the working with the various Iraqi political factions.

So, while there is the appearance of setting the groundwork for success in Iraq, all of this couldn't come at a more sensitive time because the U.S. administration knows that they really have to make this work. This is their best chance in months to get Iraq back on the track that they really hoped it would be on -- Bill?

HEMMER: As you are watching, let's roll the videotape again. The president walking over, John Negroponte. We will see them live here in a matter of moments as we watch a somewhat empty room in front of a podium there.

Barbara, the reaction that David Ensor is reporting, the initial reaction is positive. What's John Negroponte's reputation now throughout Washington?

STARR: Oh, I think by all accounts, he is an extraordinarily respected ambassador and diplomat. His work at the United Nations many years ago, of course, he served in Central American portfolios.

He's very, very well known and respected by all accounts, Bill.

HEMMER: All right, Barbara, thanks for that.

We're about 90 seconds away. John Negroponte, born back in July of 1939, five kids, educated at Yale, left school there in 1960.

He still needs Senate confirmation. Although he is the president's pick, he will need Senate confirmation before he takes, officially, this position -- Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Let's check in quickly with Suzanne Malveaux, who is covering this event for us, this morning.

Suzanne, good morning to you. We're just about a minute away or so.

MALVEAUX: Good morning.

That's right. As a matter of fact, we're expected to hear from him very shortly.

Now, some of the qualities that the president was looking for in this particular candidate really was someone who would have extensive management experience as well as national security experience.

Also, critics say, of course, one that would be able to stand up to the president. We're hearing the two minute warning, now, that the president will be out very shortly.

But critics are also saying it's the kind of individual that really has to have the ability to not only be able to stand up to the president but also secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

As you know, they were critics of the former CIA director George Tenet, who said that they believe that he told the president what he wanted to hear when it came to intelligence matters leading up to the Iraq war.

Now, others say, of course, that this is a wise pick, and, of course, not surprising that this is someone of enormous stature. This is someone who has very significant political weight within the White House, but also within the intelligence and political communities.

And as you know, the legislation requires that either the national director of intelligence, or at least one of his deputies, have extensive military experience. This is something that many people are looking at as a very wise choice, but not one that they expected.

O'BRIEN: The legislation, Suzanne, also requires that the post be filled within six months. Two months has essentially been frittered away. There is, by some estimations, a month of hearings, because of course once he's named he actually has to be confirmed. That leaves three months to kind of pull it all together. It's not a very long timeline, obviously.

What are your sources telling you about John Negroponte's ability to sort of pull this off?

MALVEAUX: Well, they believe that his abilities as a manager and, of course, his relationship with the president very close relationship with the president in terms of loyalty, in terms of his confidence, with the president, they believe that he will be able to rise to the occasion, so to speak. But it is going to be a very difficult task. You are talking about someone who is going to oversee 15 intelligence agencies, someone who is going to be managing a $40 billion yearly budget. And the president is coming out now.

Let's take a listen.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATS: Thank you very much. I appreciate you're coming here.

I'm pleased to announce my decision to nominate Ambassador John Negroponte as director of national intelligence.

The director's responsibility is straightforward and demanding. John will make sure that those whose duty it is to defend America have the information they need to make the right decisions.

John understands America's global intelligence needs, because he spent the better part of his life in our Foreign Service, and is now serving with distinction in the sensitive post of our nation's first ambassador to a free Iraq. John's nomination comes at an historic moment for our intelligence services.

In the war against terrorists who target innocent civilians and continue to seek weapons of mass murder, intelligence is our first line of defense.

If we're going to stop the terrorists before they strike, we must ensure that our intelligence agencies work as a single, unified enterprise.

And that's why I supported and Congress passed reform legislation creating the job of director of national intelligence.

As DNI, John will lead a unified intelligence community and will serve as the principal adviser to the president on intelligence matters.

BUSH: He will have the authority to order the collection of new intelligence, to ensure the sharing of information among agencies, and to establish common standards for the intelligence community's personnel.

It will be John's responsibility to determine the annual budgets for all national intelligence agencies and offices and to direct how these funds are spent.

Vesting these in a single official who reports directly to me will make our intelligence efforts better coordinated, more efficient and more effective.

The director of the CIA will report to John. The CIA will retain its core of responsibilities for collecting human intelligence, analyzing intelligence from all sources, and supporting American interests abroad at the direction of the president.

The law establishing John's position preserves the existing chain of command and leaves all our intelligence agencies, organizations and offices in their current departments. Our military commanders will continue to have quick access to the intelligence they need to achieve victory on the battlefield.

And the new structure will help ensure greater information sharing among federal departments and agencies and also with appropriate state and local authorities.

John brings a unique set of skills to these challenges.

Over the course of a long career, John Negroponte has served his nation in eight countries spanning three continents.

BUSH: He's held important leadership posts at both the State Department and the White House.

As my representative to the United Nations, John defended our interests vigorously. He spoke eloquently about America's intention to spread freedom and peace throughout the world.

And his service in Iraq during these past few historic months has given him something that will prove an incalculable advantage for an intelligence chief: an unvarnished and up-close look at a deadly enemy.

Today I'm pleased, as well, to announce that joining John as his deputy will be Lieutenant General Michael Hayden.

As a career Air Force intelligence officer, General Hayden now serves as director of the National Security Agency, America's largest intelligence service, and chief of the Central Security Service. In these critical roles, Mike has already demonstrated an ability to adapt our intelligence services to meet the new threats of a new century.

I appreciate the willingness of these men to take on these tough new assignments in an extraordinary moment in our nation's history.

I'd like to thank the thousands of men and women already serving in our intelligence services as people go to work each day to keep Americans safe. We live in a dangerous world and often times they take great risk to their own lives. These men and women are going to be pleased to have leaders such as Ambassador John Negroponte and General Mike Hayden.

John, I want to thank you for being here today. Congratulations. Godspeed.

AMBASSADOR JOHN NEGROPONTE, NOMINATED TO BE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Thank you, Mr. President. I'm honored that you would select me to be the first director of national intelligence.

Providing timely and objective national intelligence to you, the Congress, the departments and agencies, and to our uniformed military services, is a critical national task: critical to our international posture, critical to the prevention of international terrorism and critical to our homeland security.

Equally important will be the reform of the intelligence community in ways designed to best meet the intelligence needs of the 21st century.

If confirmed, I look forward to supporting you, Mr. President, in working to the best of my ability toward achievement of these objectives, so vital to the protection of our country.

I appreciate your confidence in choosing me for what will no doubt be the most challenging assignment I have undertaken in more than 40 years of government service.

Thank you very much.

BUSH: I'll be glad to take some questions.

QUESTION: Can you tell us if you believe that Syria is linked to the assassination of Mr. Hariri? And further, how willing are you to expel Syria from Lebanon and stop its involvement in Iraq?

BUSH: First, we support the international investigation that will be going on to determine the killers of Mr. Hariri.

We've recalled our ambassador, which indicates that the relationship is not moving forward; that Syria's out of step with the progress being made in the greater Middle East; that democracy is on the move, and this is a country that isn't moving with the democratic movement.

BUSH: We've talked clearly to Syria about, one, making sure that their territory's not used by former Iraqi Baathists to spread havoc and kill innocent lives.

We expect them to find and turn over former Saddam regime supporters and send them back to Iraq.

We've made it very clear from the beginning of my administration that Syria should not use its territory to support international terrorist groups. We expect them to adhered to U.N. Security Counsel Resolution 1559, which calls for the removal of troops from Lebanon. And we expect them to help free and fair elections to take place in Lebanon.

These are very reasonable requests. They're requests all aimed at making the world more peaceful.

I look forward to working with our European friends on my upcoming trip to talk about how we can work together to convince the Syrians to make rational decisions.

QUESTION: Europeans want more support from the U.S. in their negotiations with Iran. Would the U.S. consider joining these talks?

BUSH: Well, first, a couple of points.

One, we are a party to the talks or a party to the process as a result of being a member of the IAEA. In other words, we're on the IAEA board with some 30 odd nations. So we've been very much involved with working with the Iranians and the world to achieve a goal that we share with the Europeans, and that is for Iran not to develop a nuclear weapon.

I look forward to, again on this trip, discussing strategies, ways forward with the Europeans to make sure we continue to speak with one voice, and that is Iran should not have a nuclear weapon and how to work together to make sure they don't.

QUESTION: Mr. President, in your answer to Jennifer's question I heard several reasons for recalling the ambassador from Syria, but not an indication of whether you believe Syria bears some responsibility for the assassination.

BUSH: Well, I can't tell you that. I don't know yet because the investigation is ongoing. And so, I'm going to withhold judgment until we find out what the facts are. You know, hopefully by the time I get overseas, we'll have a clearer understanding of who killed Mr. Hariri and it'll be an opportune time to talk with our friends to determine what to do about it.

But it's important that this investigation go on in a thoughtful way. And I'm convinced it will. We supported the international...

QUESTION: Would you like it to be an international investigation?

BUSH: Yes, we support the international investigation.

QUESTION: Mr. President, I recall a conversation a small group of us had with a very senior administration official about a year ago and in that conversation the subject of Iran and Israel came up. And I'm just wondering, what's your level of concern that if Iran does go down the road to building a nuclear weapon that Israel will attack Iran to try to prevent that from happening?

BUSH: Well, of course, first of all, Iran has made it clear, you know, they don't like Israel, to put it bluntly. And the Israelis are concerned about whether or not Iran develops a nuclear weapon, as are we, as should everybody.

And so the objective is to solve this issue diplomatically, is to work with friends, like we're doing with France, Germany and Great Britain, to continue making it clear to the Iranians that developing a nuclear weapon will be unacceptable.

But clearly, if I was the leader of Israel and I'd listened to some of the statements by the Iranian ayatollahs that regarded the security of my country, I'd be concerned about Iran having a nuclear weapon as well.

And in that Israel is our ally and in that we've made a very strong commitment to support Israel, we will support Israel if her security is threatened.

QUESTION: Do you believe there's a real possibility Israel could attack?

BUSH: Oh, I think that there's -- the need for us to work together to convince the Iranians not to develop a nuclear weapon.

And we will work with the Europeans and the Israelis to develop a strategy and a plan that is effective. And that's one of the reasons I'm going to Europe.

QUESTION: Mr. President, you've made clear that Social Security reform is your top legislative priority.

The top Republican leader in the House has said you cannot jam change down people's throats. And in your interviews with the regional newspapers, you made very clear that you would not rule out raising the cap on payroll taxes. If you were to do that, why would that not be seen as going back on your pledge not to raise taxes?

BUSH: A couple questions there.

One, I agree, you can't cram an issue down people's throats.

As a matter of fact, the best way to get this issue addressed in the halls of Congress is for the American people to say, "Why don't we come together and do something?"

And so the first priority of mine is to convince the people we have a problem, and I'm going to do that a lot.

As a matter of fact, I enjoy traveling the country, and I hope you do, too, because I'm going to be doing a lot of it.

And I fully understand that nothing will happen if the members of Congress don't believe there's a problem that needs to be solved. And so you'll see a lot of travel.

And the problem is plain to me: You got Baby Boomers getting ready to retire, they've been promised greater benefits than the current generation, they're living longer, and there are fewer people paying into the system. And the system goes negative starting in 2018 and continues to do so. There's the problem.

Nothing will happen -- I repeat -- unless that Congress thinks there's a problem.

But once Congress -- once the people say to Congress, "There's a problem, fix it," then I have a duty to say to members of Congress, "Bring forth your ideas."

And I clarified a variety of ideas that people should be encouraged to bring forward, without political retribution.

BUSH: It used to be in the past people would step up and say, "Well, here's an interesting idea." Then they would take that idea and clobber the person politically.

What I'm saying to members of Congress is that, "We have a problem, come together and let's fix it, and bring your ideas forward, and I'm willing to discuss them with you."

And so, that's why I said what I said and will continue to say it.

And I've got some ideas of my own, obviously. I think personal accounts are an important part of the mix and want to continue working with members of Congress to understand the wisdom of why personal accounts make sense to be a part of a long-term solution for Social Security.

QUESTION: Regarding the director of national intelligence, in this town power is often measured in a couple of ways: by who controls the money and how close that person is to the president, sometimes physically. So let me ask you about that.

You said that Mr. Negroponte will determine budgets for all intelligence agencies. A lot of people feel the Pentagon's going to fight that, that the Pentagon wants to control its intelligence money. Would you address that?

And also, where is Mr. Negroponte going to work? Will he be in the White House complex close to you? Will he give you your intelligence briefings every day?

BUSH: I think your assessment's right. People who control the money, people who have access to the president generally have a lot of influence. And that's why John Negroponte is going to have a lot of influence. He will set the budgets.

Listen, this is going to take a while to get a new culture in place, a different way of approaching the budget process.

That's why I selected John. He's a diplomat. He understands the -- and he's an experienced person. He understands the power centers in Washington. He's been a consumer of intelligence in the past. And so he's got a good feel for how to move this process forward in a way that addresses the different interests.

Now, as to where he offices, you know, I don't know. It's not going to be in the White House.

Remember the early debate about should this man or person be a member of the Cabinet? I said no, I didn't think so. I thought it was very important for the DNI to be apart from the White House.

Nevertheless, he will have access on a daily basis in that he'll be my primary briefer.

BUSH: In other words, when the intelligence briefings start in the morning, John'll be there. And John and I'll work to determine how much exposure the CIA will have in the Oval Office. I would hope more rather than less.

The relationship between John and the CIA director's going to be a vital relationship. The relationship between the CIA and the White House is a vital relationship.

John and I both know that change -- it can be unsettling. And so therefore, I'm sure there's some people out there wondering right now what this means for their jobs and the influence of a particular agency into the White House.

And the answer is everybody will be given fair access and everybody's ideas will be given a chance to make it to John's office. And if he thinks it's appropriate I see it, I'll see it. And if he thinks it's a waste of my time I won't see it. And obviously -- therefore the conclusion is I trust his judgment.

And I'm looking forward to working with him. It's going to be an interesting opportunity. QUESTION: Will you back him when he goes up against Don Rumsfeld? Rumsfeld wants a certain amount of money for his intelligence budget, Negroponte says, "I don't think so"?

BUSH: You know, I don't think it necessarily works. I know that's how the press sometimes likes to play discussions inside the White House, you know, X versus Y, you know, butting of heads and sharp elbows.

BUSH: Generally it works more civilly than that. People make their case. There's a discussion. But ultimately John will make the decisions on the budget.

Backing means it's, kind of, zero sum. That's not the way our team works. It's not a zero-sum attitude in the White House.

It is -- people have strong opinions around here, which is -- I would hope you'd want your president to have people around who've got strong opinions, people who are willing to stand up for what they believe, people who say, you know, "Here's what I think is right." It may not be what so and so thinks is right. Then the question is do I have the capacity to, you know, pick the right answer, to be able to make a decision, I think.

People have seen that I'm capable of making decisions and one reason why I feel comfortable making them is that I get good advice. And John is going to be a great adviser.

QUESTION: A top European Union official said that Dr. Rice's trip -- Secretary Rice's trip to Europe was very positive. He described it as, "Romance blossoms once two are determined to get married."

He also said that he did not expect that there would be any kind of substantive differences in U.S. policy on your own trip to Europe, but he had hoped that it would help increase the sense of trust between the United States and European allies.

QUESTION: What do you have to offer or say to European allies to help restore that trust, particularly the trust in U.S. intelligence?

BUSH: You know, my first goal is to remind both Americans and Europeans that the trans-Atlantic relationship is very important for our mutual security and for peace; and that we have differences sometimes, but we don't differ on values, that we share this great love and respect for freedom.

September the 11th was an interesting phenomenon in terms of our relations. For some in Europe, it was just a passing terrible moment. And for us, it caused us to change our foreign policy -- in other words, a permanent part of our foreign policy.

And those differences at times, frankly, cause us to talk past each other, and I recognize that. And I want to make sure the Europeans understand I know that, and that as we move beyond the differences of the past, that we can work a lot together to achieve big objectives.

There's also a concern in Europe, I suspect, that the only thing I care about is our national security. And clearly, you know, since we have been attacked -- and I fear there's a terrorist group out there thinking about attacking us again and would like to -- that national security is the top of my agenda.

BUSH: That's what you'd expect from the president of the United States.

But we also care deeply about hunger and disease, and I look forward to working with the Europeans on hunger and disease.

We care about the climate. Obviously, the Kyoto Protocol had been a problem in the past. They thought the treaty made sense; I didn't. And neither did the United States Senate when it rejected, you know, the Kyoto concept 95-0.

And so, there's an opportunity now to work together to talk about new technologies that will help us both achieve a common objective, which is a better environment for generations to come.

And, you know, the methanes-to-markets project is an interesting opportunity.

I spoke to my friend Tony Blair the other day and I reminded him that here at home we're spending billions on clean coal technology, where we could -- you know, it's conceivable and hopeful we'll have a zero-emissions coal plant, which would be not only good for the United States, but it would be good for the world.

BUSH: This isn't a question of one environment, but I was hoping somebody would ask it. I asked myself.

Anyway, let me -- so I'm looking forward to discussing issues that not only relate to our security, that not only relate to how we work together to spread freedom, you know, how we continue to embrace the values we believe in, but also how we deal with hunger and disease and environmental concerns.

Let's see. Have I gone through all the TV personalities yet?



QUESTION: Mr. President, good morning.

BUSH: Face made for radio, I might add.

QUESTION: Thank you. My mother appreciates it.


You offer a long list of things you expect Syrian leaders to do. What are the consequences if they don't do those things? BUSH: The idea is to continue to work with the world to remind Syria it's not in their interest to be isolated.

QUESTION: Mr. President, can I go back to Social Security?

BUSH: Sure.

QUESTION: You spoke about, you know, your desire to have a plan that includes private retirement accounts.

QUESTION: Chairman Greenspan yesterday, although supportive of those accounts, expressed two concerns: that he was worried about rushing something into print, if you will, and also about the borrowing, the transition costs, that would be required -- trillions. He was especially worried about the later.

What is your response to that?

BUSH: Well, I presume the reason he was talking about Social Security at all is because he understands that we've got about $11 trillion of debt owed to future generations of Americans that -- and therefore, we better do something about it now. And the longer we wait, the more difficult the solution becomes.

You asked about the transition costs, and what was the other?

QUESTION: Well, that he wanted to do it slowly.

BUSH: Oh, slowly.

Well, as you might remember, in my State of the Union, when I expressed my desire that Congress ought to think about personal accounts, I did say they ought to be phased in.

BUSH: And that's part of the transition costs issue, and we look forward to working with Congress to come up with ways to make sure that the personal accounts, if Congress so chooses -- and I hope they do -- can be financed.

And that's part of the issue. And that's part of the dialogue that is going to be needed once Congress understands we have a problem.

Let me repeat what I said before, and I fully understand this, that this idea is going nowhere if the Congress does not believe there is a problem. I mean, why should somebody take the hard path if they don't believe there's a problem?

And so I'm going to spend a lot of time reminding people there is a problem. Once the people figure out there's a problem -- and I think they're beginning to understand that -- then the question to ask to those of us who have been elected is, "What are you going to do about it?"

And that's an important question. And when people start answering that question I have said, "Bring your ideas forward. We welcome any idea, you know, except running up the payroll tax rate, which I've been consistent on. And so bring them up and I look forward to hearing your ideas."

And part of the ideas is going to be, one, understand the benefits the befits of personal accounts as well as how to pay for the transaction. Because we've started that process by talking about, you know, a phase-in program. And one of the reasons we did, is because we wanted to indicate to the Congress, "We understand there's an issue, we want to work with you on it."

QUESTION: Sir, can you talk a little bit...

BUSH: If you don't raise your hand, does that mean you don't have a question?

QUESTION: Not necessarily, sir.

BUSH: OK, good, because you didn't raise your hand.

QUESTION: Could you talk a little bit about how you would like to see the landscape of the Middle East change over the next year? Can you talk about the specific changes you'd like to see across the region?

BUSH: You know, a year is a really short period of time when it comes to working with nations to encourage democracy. So there's not a, kind of, universal answer.

Let me try to answer it this way.

In other words, you can't apply the same standard for every country as they move toward democracy I guess is what I'm saying. In other words, there is, kind of, not a blanket answer.

I'll give you, kind of, a general thought.

I would like to see the following things happen: we make progress on the development of a Palestinian state so there can be peace with Israel.

BUSH: And notice I put it that way. There needs to be progress for democracy to firmly take hold in the Palestinian territory. It is my belief that when that happens, that we got a very good chance for peace.

That's why I said in my State of the Union it's within reach. What's in reach is to work with leadership that appears committed to fighting terror, to develop the institutions necessary for democracy.

That's why the conference Tony Blair has called is an important conference. It's a conference that will be working with the world, with countries from around the world to say, "How can we help you develop a democracy?" So I'd like to see that move forward. Obviously, I'd like to see the Iraqi government continue to make the progress it is making toward providing its own security, as well as begin the process of writing the constitution.

We'll continue to work with the international community to make it clear that some of the behavior in the Middle East is unacceptable.

BUSH: You know, the development of a nuclear weapon is unacceptable. Harboring terrorists or providing safe haven for terrorists is unacceptable. And so there's a lot of progress that can be made.

I was pleased to see that Saudi had municipal elections, and I think Crown Prince Abdullah's vision of moving toward reform is coming to be.

Every speech I've given on democracy has fully recognized that democracy will advance at a pace, you know, that may be different from our own expectations and obviously reflect the cultures of the countries in which democracy is moving.

But there's progress being made, so it's kind of hard to have a, you know, a summary because there's different countries, different places. But if I tried to come up with one, I'd like to see more advance toward free and democratic states.

You know, what's interesting -- and surely hasn't crept into your writing or reporting -- but, you know, for a while there was a period that people said, "It's an impossible mission to have freedom take hold. I mean, what's he doing? How can he possibly think that these people can possibly accept democracy?" I don't know if you remember that period of reporting or not. I vaguely do.

And then look what's happening. And that's why I can say that, you know, I'd like to see more progress because progress is being made.

BUSH: You know, Afghanistan elections were a remarkable achievement in the march of history.

The elections that John was involved in Iraq -- and it must have been fantastic to be there. You know, to think of the millions who defied the terrorists -- and you remember the reporting that went on.

First of all, democracy may not be the kind of system that people agree to Iraq -- it's kind of a foreign concept to them -- and coupled with the fact there's a lot of terrorists there who were getting ready to blow up anybody up that goes and votes. And, yet, millions -- I think it's over 8 million I think we've calculated -- went to the polls.

And what's interesting to me in Iraq is to see the posturing that's going on, the positioning. It's not exactly like the Social Security debate, but it's posturing, it's politics, you know? It's -- people are jockeying for position. And I say it is not like Social Security because, obviously, their democracy isn't as advanced as ours, but nevertheless, there's -- people are making moves here and there. And you hear about the conferences and the discussions.

BUSH: To me that's healthy. It's inspiring to see a fledgling democracy begin to take wing right here in the 21st century in a part of the world where people didn't think there could be progress. I think there can be progress, and we'll continue to work that progress.

Part of my reason I'm going to Europe is to share my sense of optimism and enthusiasm about what's taking place and remind people that those values of human rights, human dignity and freedom are the core of our very being as nations.

And it's going to be a great experience to go there.

QUESTION: Have you, by any chance, received any, sort of, interim or preliminary report from the Robb Commission that's investigating intelligence failures? And did you seek the commission's counsel on the scope of the duties for the new intelligence director?

BUSH: No, I have not had an interim report. Maybe the national security people have or not. Hadley said he hadn't either.

Our people have gone to talk to the Robb-Silberman Commission when asked, but I've got great confidence in both those leaders to bring forth a very, you know, solid report.

BUSH: And so we haven't been involved in the process other than when asked to share opinion.

QUESTION: When might they report back?

BUSH: Don't know yet.

Do we have any idea?


BUSH: Yes, Hadley said, "Try to work me in the press conference," and I did.



"Sometime next month," he said.

It's an important report, and it's a relevant question today because of the announcement of Ambassador Negroponte. He will take, and I will take, the findings of the Robb-Silberman Commission very seriously. And look forward to their conclusions, and look forward to working with the leaders and the commission members to not only deal with the conclusions, but to address whatever conclusions they have in concrete action. And appreciate the work.

But in terms -- no, and then I did not consult with either person and/or members as to whether or not, you know -- the nature of the pick; did it independently from the commission.

QUESTION: If, as you say, the development of nuclear weapons is unacceptable and if the administration's concern for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which proved out to be unfounded, drove an invasion to seek regime change, how concerned should Americans and, for that matter, the world be that the true identification of weapons in Iran or North Korea might not lead to the same sort of attack?

BUSH: Well, first, Iran is different from Iraq, very different. The international community was convinced that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction -- not just the United States, but the international community -- and had passed some 16 resolutions. So, in other words, diplomacy had -- they'd tried diplomacy over and over and over again.

John was at the United Nations during this period.

And finally the world, in 1441, U.N. Resolution 1441, said disclose, disarm or face serious consequences. This was not a declaration by the United States of America. It was a declaration by the United Nations Security Council, and a 15-to-nothing vote, as I recall.

And we took that resolution very seriously.

BUSH: As you know, the Iranian issue hasn't even gotten to the Security Council yet. And so there's more diplomacy, in my judgment, to be done. And we'll work very closely with our European friends and other nations.

As I mentioned before, we're an active member of the IAEA board, which will give us an opportunity to continue to say to the Iranians, "You've got to be transparent with your program and adhere to protocols that you have signed."

Remember, this all started when they -- we found them enriching uranium in an undeclared fashion. And it happened because somebody told on them. It was an Iranian group that brought forth the information. And it was clear that they were enriching, and yet they hadn't told anybody, which leaves you to wonder why they hadn't told anybody. And so you can understand our suspicions.

And we'll work with nations.

In terms of Korea, North Korea, again, it's not Iraq. It's a different situation. But I remember being with Jiang Zemin in Crawford, and as a result of that meeting, we issued a joint declaration that said that the Korean Peninsula should be nuclear weapons-free.

BUSH: Since then, that policy has been confirmed by President Hu Jintao. And the other day, the leader of North Korea declared they had a nuclear weapon, which obviously means that, if he's correct, that the peninsula is not nuclear weapons-free.

So now is the time for us to work with friends and allies who have agreed to be part of the process to determine what we're jointly going to do about it. And that's where we are in the process right now.

I thank you all very much for your attention and questions. Appreciate it.

O'BRIEN: We've been listening -- we've been listening to President Bush, who was not only naming his choice for the national intelligence director, John Negroponte, but also taking questions from some reporters who were assembled at the Eisenhower Building.

We want to welcome back our AMERICAN MORNING viewers. We've obviously extended our broadcast this morning. And also, we want to welcome our international viewers, who are joining us, as well.

Some things to know about John Negroponte. He will oversee 15 security agencies. He has to be, though, confirmed by the U.S. Senate first. He currently serves as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, a high powered and important and sensitive post. Many questions now about who will take over in that role.

And he was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He also in his past held eight different foreign service positions, and he was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well.

But not only the announcement about John Negroponte, as we heard. We also heard the president take questions on Syria. He also talked about Iran and nuclear weapons. We also heard the president tackle some questions about Social Security, as well.

Suzanne Malveaux, though, has the very latest for us about what the president had to say about John Negroponte, which of course, is the reason everyone was assembled there in the first place.

Suzanne, anything that surprised you from what you heard?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Soledad, there are a couple things that actually stood out in my mind.

First of all, when he talked about the fact that Negroponte would have full budget authority, that was really a sticking point. We look at the legislation, very squishy, fuzzy language on that. If you look ahead, you may see that that still is going to be a source of contention between the Pentagon as well as the CIA.

But he said that he gave him that budget authority because here in Washington that's an indication of who 's really in charge. But the language still fuzzy enough that there may be many questions about that. He also talked about the position preserving the chain of command. That was something that was very contentious. The Pentagon very concerned over that point, that they would be losing some sense of power, as you know, not only with the budget, but with their ability to talk to commanders on the ground, to pass information along. The president talking about that.

And then, of course, the broader issues that you brought up, as well. The threats to the United States. It really is a critical test for the president now just how the U.S. intelligence really is evaluated by the rest of the world, whether the country is trusted, and he went down a list of examples.

He says when it comes to Iran, defensive on diplomacy saying that, yes, while Iraq -- while the United States is not involved in talks with Iran like you see with France, Germany, as well as Britain, not willing to offer the kinds of economic carrots that those countries are, he says that the United States is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He also said that Iran is a different case, that there's still more diplomacy that needs to be done, comparing that, contrasting that to Iraq.

He also talked, as well, about Syria. He says that the United States didn't just recall the ambassador to Syria, but he says that they're actively engaged in supporting that international investigation to see whether or not Syria was involved somehow in the Lebanon bombing, whether or not they were involved in that assassination.

And finally, the third point, of course, is on North Korea, saying once again that he felt that the United States would be involved in those six-party talks, that he hopes that that moves forward. The president really defending the U.S. position on his ability and his administration's ability to carry out that diplomacy -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: And Suzanne, the president departing now, as we can see in that shot there, with his newly named -- or newly named pick for national intelligence director, John Negroponte.

That wraps up our coverage from here. We hand it, of course, off to -- to Rick and Daryn, who are down in Atlanta.

Suzanne, thank you very much. They've got much more, obviously to talk about.

BILL HEMMER, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Yes. Good morning, guys.

DARYN KAGAN, CO-HOST: Good morning to you. Yes, a big morning. Starting right at the top of the hour.

RICK SANCHEZ, CO-HOST: Staying with the theme. We do thank you for your coverage. Job well done. KAGAN: Thank you.

John Negroponte, as you just heard in that news conference, the pick by President Bush, the nominee now to be the first director of national intelligence. We're going to continue to debrief many of our correspondents on this as we look at pictures of the president and Ambassador Negroponte leaving the building right now.

Key question here, it wasn't just as people were looking at who was going to get this job, but what they were going to be able to do and what kind of budget control they would have. President Bush addressed that issue in the news conference that we were just watching here on CNN.

Let's listen in to the president.


BUSH: An historic moment for intelligence services. In the war against terrorists who target innocent civilians and continue to seek weapons of mass murder, intelligence is our first line of defense. We're going to stop the terrorists before they strike. We must ensure that our intelligence agencies work as a single unified enterprise.

That's why I supported and the Congress passed reform legislation creating the job of director of national intelligence.


KAGAN: Actually, we were referring to a different sound bite there. The sound bite I was referring to was the president said that John Negroponte, as the director of national intelligence, will set the budgets which will give him significant power in Washington.

With more on this, here's Rick.

SANCHEZ: Let's cut to the chase and talk about some of the things that John Negroponte can and can't do and also his own qualifications. And to help us out on this, we've got CNN national security correspondent David Ensor, who's good enough to talk to us about this.

Two questions, I suppose. Does John Negroponte have the intelligence background for this position? And how will he be received with some of the people he's going to be working with directly, some of these career diplomats who've been in this job for so many years, David?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rick, he doesn't have a background in intelligence, but he's been a longtime consumer of intelligence. He's respected as a very intelligent man who's worked as an ambassador in various places very well with the intelligence community.

I think that you'll find that the professionals will welcome this choice. They'll also be very welcoming of the choice of General Michael Hayden as his deputy. He's currently the head of the National Security Agency, the largest and perhaps the most -- some people think the most important -- one of the most important intelligence agencies in the U.S. government.

He's a key player. He knows the territory well. So he'll be very helpful to Negroponte in terms of understanding what the powers are, what the community can do and how to make it work well together, how to get the intelligence community talking to the other parts of it.

Now, as to the law, this is where, despite what the president said about how the press talks about sharp elbows and says that there's problems when there aren't, the fact is I've talked to people in and out of government, senior people, who see problems with the intelligence reform law as it is currently constituted, because they say it just isn't crystal clear who has the final budget authority.

It says that the director of national intelligence will, quote, "determine the budget," but it doesn't say finally can he move large chunks of it around from agency to agency if he wants to? Can he take large numbers of personnel and move them around, if he wants to, without the consent of, for example, the secretary of defense?

SANCHEZ: I was just going to ask you that very question. Funny you should say that. The thing that many people, I believe, are getting at when they ask that question is, with the strong personality and power of Donald Rumsfeld in the Pentagon, will he allow John Negroponte to override any of his decisions? It's quite clear that there's some concern about that. What have you heard?

ENSOR: Well, the issue really is between, do you have your assets, your listening-in satellites, your signals intelligence, do you put those assets more into helping the war fighter or into national security issues like making sure al Qaeda is not going to bomb somewhere in the United States?

You obviously need to be able to do both. And it's deciding how to apportion what is inevitably a limited number of resources that's the great question.

And I think there's no doubt that there will be some disagreements about this. But John Negroponte has a lot of respect throughout the government, including in the Defense Department. And this is going to be seen, I think, as a pretty good choice -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: So interesting, though, just from that conversation, we come away with the sense that there's still a bit of a work in progress to be had here. David Ensor, we thank you. We'll be getting back to you.

Daryn, over to you.

KAGAN: You bring up the Pentagon and Donald Rumsfeld. Let's go right to the source. Let's bring in our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.

You can weigh in on the topic: budget issues and how you think these two men will get along.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going to be really interesting, Daryn. David is exactly right: there's still a lot of give and take here.

Now, let's remember, it was the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Richard Myers, and the joint chiefs who took the very unusual step as this legislation was being formed, of writing to Capitol Hill and expressing their concerns that the Pentagon, that the U.S. military retain control.

You see General Myers testifying right now on Capitol Hill along with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. This control over intelligence agencies, they believe, is absolutely vital.

What are we really talking about? We're talking about the agencies that run satellites, that collect electronic intelligence, that collect imagery: all the things that battlefield commanders in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the global war on terrorism, say they need.

And money is the thing that drives that engine: how those programs are funded, how satellites and listening programs and spy programs of the U.S. military, how all of that is organized and how this information is collected.

Now, the joint chiefs certainly, and the Pentagon, by all accounts, thought that they had a deal, that they would retain a central control over these billions of dollars of military intelligence programs. The president now saying today that John Negroponte will control the money flow, the budget of those key programs.

So it is fuzzy, to say the least, in Washington this morning, fuzzy here at the Pentagon. Will they be able to work out a deal? Will Don Rumsfeld butt heads with John Negroponte? Even if it's behind the scenes, even if it's through their various staffs, even if it is civil, there is likely to be some serious political to and fro about this. This is really something the military wants to retain control of.

And at the same time, Don Rumsfeld repeatedly for months now has expressed his disappointment in the U.S. intelligence community. He believes he's not getting the kind of intelligence he needs.

He is very strongly in favor of establishing what they call a human intelligence effort here at the Pentagon, essentially spies, if you will. A human intelligence program under the direction and control of the Pentagon that can go out in the field and collect the type of intelligence that he, Don Rumsfeld, believes the military needs to make their decisions.

So very interesting development this morning. It will be, by all accounts, a function of how John Negroponte and Don Rumsfeld will work out this problem. But the generals, the joint chiefs of staff, have been very clear: they don't want to give up control over these programs, Daryn. KAGAN: And quick follow-up for you, Barbara, because you bring up a good point. One thing is the direction of money going in and where it's spent. But then once the intelligence is gathered, who has it, where does it go and who's in charge of interpreting it and disseminating it? That's the whole other issue.

STARR: Well, that is the whole other issue, because essentially, the U.S. military on the battlefield today is the consumer of intelligence. And their concern in the military is that they get the kind of what they call tactical intelligence, battlefield intelligence. What's over the next hill? They want that intelligence in a timely fashion.

There is a very clear understanding that the United States has to collect strategic intelligence, if you will. What are North Korea, Syria and Iran up to?

But on the battlefield where U.S. troops are on the front lines, the concerns of the generals here at the Pentagon is that they continue to get the timely flow of intelligence that they have to give their troops out in the field.

They know they have to do both. But they want to make sure that they don't wind up giving up what they need to Washington bureaucracy, if you will. It's a very strong issue here at the Pentagon, Daryn.

KAGAN: And no doubt the subject of a lot of talk today. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Thank you for that.

We're going to continue to have more news on the selection of John Negroponte, President Bush's selection to be first director of national intelligence.

Much more on that, plus a lot of other news taking place today. We will have that for you after this break.


SANCHEZ: There you see him walking with the president of the United States. He -- if he is confirmed, he will henceforth be called our nation's first DNI, director of national intelligence. That is John Negroponte.

We have been getting reaction from a host of correspondents who have been following this story for us here at CNN. We've taken you to the Pentagon. We've also gotten reaction on the diplomatic corps here in the United States.

Now, let's do two more things. We've got Ed Henry. He's going to be standing by, and he's going to be telling us what the congressional response is going to be.

But first, let's go over to Richard Roth. He's our U.N. correspondent. He's going to be telling us what the world's reaction will be to John Negroponte. Thanks so much for joining us, Richard. The first question out of the chute, you know, there are still those who criticized John Negroponte for his days as ambassador to Honduras. They say that his ties to the Contras, in fact, may have been his real record. Will some of that linger, do you think?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I don't think that will linger. I think that past, at least on the world stage here, his nomination to the U.N. ambassador in 2001 was held up for six months, but after 9/11, it was rushed through. And it really didn't come up when he was named by President Bush to be the U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

I think what this shows is the loyalty that President Bush appreciates. John Negroponte came through for him at the Security Council at the U.N., getting the 15-0 vote on Resolution 1441, despite the failure to win a second vote authorizing more formally a war.

And then he sent him to Iraq, and he came through at a rather perilous time and the elections occurred.

At the U.N. he was firm but polite. Ambassadors have always told me they liked John Negroponte. He listened. They appreciated that. Even if they thought he was representing policies by the Bush administration they didn't like, they did appreciate his style and the way he went about carrying himself as the U.S. ambassador.

So undoubtedly, I think, on the world stage there will be some appreciation from various capitals, because he was also Colin Powell's man. Those two men were very longtime friends, old allies. And I think this falls in line when what they've been hearing, that the Bush administration wants to at least try some more diplomacy.

And Negroponte is battle tested. He's been in Mexico. He's been in Honduras. He's been in the Philippines. He was in Vietnam. So he certainly knows his way around the world.

Of course, the Washington infighting game could be his biggest challenge yet -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: Certainly going to have his hands full as well. Richard Roth, we thank you for that.

Daryn, over to you.

KAGAN: And as we go ahead and welcome our Capitol Hill correspondent, Ed Henry, I also want to extend a welcome to our international viewers joining us on CNN International, along with our domestic viewers.

Ed, let's talk about what is yet to happen on Capitol Hill. As we pointed out at this point, John Negroponte is a nominee, a selection. He must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I think the key to remember is that over the course of his 40-year career in diplomacy, Ambassador Negroponte has been known as the Teflon ambassador. He is seen as somebody who steers clear of a lot of controversies. And even when he gets caught up in a controversy, he's able to somehow get past that. Very skilled diplomat.

As Richard Roth mentioned, his time as U.S. ambassador to Honduras during the Reagan administration is clearly going to be -- there will be questions about it. I think that Democrats on Capitol Hill during the Senate confirmation hearings in the intelligence committee are going to raise questions.

The allegations were that Ambassador Negroponte at that time, in the early '80s, was involved in this guerrilla war against the Sandinista government, but also that he perhaps knew about or was involved in human rights abuses. Those allegations are going to resurface, as Richard Roth mentioned. It held up his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the U.N. for six months. It's going to come back.

But I think in the long run, this long career is what people will look at, not one or two episodes. And the fact that he has spent 40 years, as I mentioned, in diplomacy. The fact that he's somebody who not only served in the Reagan administration, the current Bush administration, but also was in the State Department during the Carter administration. This is a bipartisan figure that is going to get votes on both sides of the aisle.

And in fact, Senate Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts, who will conduct these confirmation hearings, just put out a statement a few moments ago, applauding this nomination and saying that he is going to get these confirmation hearings going in the Senate as soon as he can, as soon as Ambassador Negroponte and the president determine that his duties as U.S. ambassador to Iraq right now are finished.

So clearly the Senate is going to want to move quickly. I think there will be questions, but I think in the long run he is somebody who's going to get wide support on both sides, Daryn.

KAGAN: Yes. A long career, indeed, a career that, in fact, though, does not include a lot of intelligence experience. We're going to talk about that, but we're out of time in this hour, Ed, so we'll bring you back next hour to talk about that.

I'm Daryn Kagan. We will continue our conversation and our coverage of John Negroponte, ambassador right now to Iraq, soon to be, perhaps, director of national intelligence.

SANCHEZ: And a lot of news that we're following on this day, as well, and we'll have it all for you. Stay with us. Our next hour begins right soon.



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