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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Mulls Russia Spy Manager

Retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Michael McConnell told his Senate confirmation hearing that he would focus more attention on Russia and on the risks of foreign-oil dependence as U.S. director of national intelligence.

"I've been troubled by some of the trends in Russia over the last year or so,'' McConnell said, when asked whether the country was becoming a strategic threat because of its oil wealth. "So that's a scenario that needs attention," he said, adding that his efforts would include the naming of an official to oversee intelligence efforts on Russia.

He said he would consider creating a "mission manager" position to focus on Russia.

"I think we need to understand it. We need to know where it's going," McConnell said. "Having someone focused on it as a mission manager at the national level would serve us well to stay focused and continue to review it."

The first director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, created the mission manager positions following the 2005 recommendations of Bush's commission on weapons of mass destruction.

The focus of current mission manager positions now includes Cuba and Venezuela, North Korea, Iran and counterterrorism. In testimony to the intelligence committee last month, Negroponte highlighted Russia in his annual review of global threats. He raised concerns that Russian foreign policy tactics have been creating friction with the West.

(Bloomberg, AP)