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DCI Names Chairman of the National Intelligence Council

Tenet Names Chairman of the National Intelligence Council; Other Senior Intelligence Posts Announced

August 3, 2001

Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet today announced the appointment of John L. Helgerson, currently the Deputy Director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), as the Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC).

Helgerson succeeds John C. Gannon, who served as Chairman for four years before entering the private sector in June 2001.

“John Helgerson’s broad experience, outstanding versatility, and absolute commitment to sophisticated intelligence analysis will further enrich the remarkable group of penetrating, unorthodox thinkers who are the heart of the NIC,” Tenet said.

As Chairman of the NIC, Helgerson will head a group of senior experts—known as National Intelligence Officers--drawn from all elements of the Intelligence Community and from outside the government. They serve the DCI in his role as leader of the Intelligence Community by producing National Intelligence Estimates on particular geographic regions of the world and on particular functional areas such as economics and weapons proliferation.

Helgerson is a career CIA officer who was assigned as Deputy Director of NIMA in March 2000. He began his Agency career as an intelligence analyst and later headed units responsible for coverage of Russia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America.

He held a number of senior management posts at CIA, including serving four years as the Agency’s Deputy Director for Intelligence. He also served as CIA’s Director of Congressional Affairs and as Deputy Inspector General.

Helgerson is author of “Getting to Know the President: CIA Briefings of Presidential Candidates, 1952-1992,” published in 1996 by CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence and available on CIA’s public web site (

Tenet also announced that Joanne O. Isham, who has been CIA’s Deputy Director for Science and Technology (DDS&T) since January 2000 and had been the Associate Deputy Director of the DDS&T for four years prior to that, will succeed Helgerson as Deputy Director of NIMA.

“A talented manager of resources and a gifted leader of people, Joanne will bring to NIMA the energy that had defined her service here as DDS&T,” Tenet said. He credited Isham for bringing a “fresh, tight focus” to CIA’s research and development programs and overseeing the launch of In-Q-Tel.

Tenet named Donald M. Kerr, an Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as the new DDS&T. Since 1997, Kerr has been responsible for the FBI’s Laboratory Division, guiding the Bureau’s forensic evidence analysis, supervising technical support to investigations and operations, and guiding the development of new surveillance and communications technologies. From 1979 to 1985, he was Director of the University of California’s Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“As Director of Los Alamos in the early 1980s – and as a scientist there in the 1960s and 1970s – Don shaped path-breaking research on nuclear weapons, ionospheric physics, and alternative energy sources,” Tenet said.

“As an Agency, we are fortunate indeed to have a world-class talent like Don Kerr to add new chapters to CIA’s long history of technical research, creativity, and outreach to government, the academic community, and industry,” the DCI said.

Tenet announced that Dennis Fitzgerald, currently the CIA’s Associate Deputy Director for Science & Technology, would be the new Deputy Director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

“Dennis’ complete knowledge of both CIA and NRO—combined with his pioneering achievements in the field of imagery and SIGINT collection systems—will strengthen the already firm relationship between the two organizations,” the DCI said.

Tenet said all of these senior assignments “better position us for the challenges and opportunities of a new century.”

“I know they hold the potential to make US intelligence bolder, smarter, and better at its difficult and decisive mission – the protection of American lives and the defense of freedom around the globe,” he said.

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Posted: Apr 12, 2007 07:56 AM
Last Updated: Jun 17, 2008 01:11 PM