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US Has New Intel Czar: James Clapper is the new director of national intelligence. As we first reported on Friday, the Senate approved his nomination on Aug. 5. His vote came after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) lifted his hold on the vote once McCain received a classified intelligence report that he wanted from Clapper. In his new post, Clapper will oversee the nation's 16 major intel organizations. He had been serving since April 2007 as under secretary of defense for intelligence. He succeeds Dennis Blair, who stepped down as DNI in May.