2014-04-15T212856Z_1_CBREA3E1NOE00_RTROPTP_2_USA-SECURITY-HEARING

Despite tough patch, U.S. intelligence chief says he is staying

US National Intelligence director Clapper appears before House Intelligence Committee in WashingtonBy Warren Strobel TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) – Despite enduring “a perfect storm” of troubles for U.S. spy agencies over the last 18 months, the director of national intelligence announced on Tuesday that he plans to stay on the job through the end of President Barack Obama’s term. Speaking to an industry conference in Tampa, James Clapper detailed a litany of challenges he said have hit the $45 billion-per-year U.S. intelligence-gathering effort, from U.S. budget turmoil and the Syrian war to leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. “The past 18 months is one of the toughest stretches for the intelligence community I’ve seen in my 50-plus years in the business,” Clapper said. Clapper, a former Air Force general who oversees 17 intelligence agencies and is known for his sometimes-blunt language, predicted that spending on everything from spy satellites to human agents would continue to decline.

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