The idea of a Director of National Intelligence dates to 1955 when a blue-ribbon study commissioned by Congress recommended that the Director of Central Intelligence employ a deputy to run the CIA so that the director could focus on coordinating the overall intelligence effort. This notion emerged as a consistent theme in many subsequent studies of the Intelligence Community commissioned by both the legislative and executive branches over the next five decades.


Remains of the World Trade Center Friday, Sept. 14, 2001 in New York City. From: Photographs Related to the George W. Bush Administration, compiled 01/20/2001–01/20/2009 (U.S. National Archives)

 Remains of the World Trade Center Friday, Sept. 14, 2001 in New York City.
(U.S. National Archives)


The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, moved forward the longstanding call for major intelligence reform and the creation of a Director of National Intelligence. Post-9/11 investigations included a joint Congressional inquiry and the independent National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (better known as the 9/11 Commission). The 9/11 Commission's report in July 2004 proposed sweeping change in the Intelligence Community, including the creation of a National Intelligence Director.


911 commission seal.svgVery soon after the report was released, the federal government moved forward to undertake reform. President Bush signed four Executive Orders in August 2004 that strengthened and reformed the Intelligence Community as much as possible without legislation. In Congress, both the House and Senate passed bills with major amendments to the National Security Act of 1947.


Intense negotiations to reconcile the two bills ultimately led to the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), which President Bush signed into law on Dec.17, 2004.


In February 2005, the President nominated John D. Negroponte, ambassador to Iraq, as the first director of national intelligence and U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden as the first principal deputy DNI, promoting him to General. On April 21, 2005, in the Oval Office, Amb. Negroponte and Gen. Hayden were sworn in, and the ODNI began operations at 7 a.m. on April 22, 2005.



Previous directors include John M. ("Mike") McConnell (Vice Adm., USN Ret.), Dennis Blair (Adm., USN Ret.), James R. Clapper (Lt. Gen., USAF Ret.), Dan Coats, and John Ratcliffe.


Avril Haines is the Director of National Intelligence.