The Cable

Hagel to lead Obama's intelligence oversight panel

Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel will soon have a new role in the Obama administration, he will be named co-chair of President's Intelligence Advisory Board.

In that capacity, Hagel will be charged with overseeing the work of the intelligence agencies for the president and investigating violations of law by the clandestine community. The panel, formerly known as the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, was renamed and stripped of some of its powers in 2008 by the George W. Bush administration.

Hagel never endorsed Obama or Arizona Senator John McCain for the presidency, but he often spoke out on in favor of Obama's foreign policy ideas during the campaign and his wife endorsed Obama just before the election.

Hagel was rumored for a high level appointment when Obama was elected. A Vietnam veteran, he was at times said to be up for the position of Secretary of Defense or ambassador to a major ally such as Japan.

Initially a supporter of the decision to invade Iraq, over the course of the war Hagel became one of the GOP's fiercest critics of Bush administration war policies, famously saying in 2007, "It is my opinion that this is one of the most arrogant, incompetent administrations I've ever seen personally or ever read about."

Steve Clemons, foreign policy head at the New America Foundation, announced Hagel's move at the Tuesday evening gala dinner hosted by the Jewish policy organization J Street as part of their first annual conference.

Hagel will meet with Obama on Wednesday, after which a formal announcement is expected.

The board works mostly in secret, but has been influential in some high profile investigations, including the leak of classified information from the nation's military laboratories to China in the 1990s.

The outgoing chairman is Stephen Friedman, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Other past chairmen have included former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, former House Speaker Thomas Foley, and former Defense Secretary Les Aspin.

UPDATE: Sources tell The Cable that David Boren, former senator and current president of the University of Oklahoma, will be the other co-chair of the board.

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