Washington -- U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was today nominated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to be chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in the 111th Congress.

Senator  Feinstein would succeed Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), who was nominated today to be chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

The Intelligence Committee has oversight over America’s 16 intelligence agencies, authorizes the nation’s intelligence budget, and writes the laws for the conduct and management of intelligence operations. Its 15 members are selected by the Senate leadership.

“I am honored to be nominated to be chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and I look forward to working with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle,” Senator Feinstein said.

“This is a critical task at a critical time in our nation’s history. With the United States fighting two wars, and facing multiple threats around the globe, it’s essential to the nation that our intelligence agencies gather reliable information, and do so in a manner that comports with our laws and our national values.”

“I want to thank Senator Rockefeller for his service as chairman. Oversight of the intelligence community improved under his leadership, and I am pleased that he will remain as a member of the committee, and I look forward to working with him in the next Congress. I also want to thank Andrew Johnson, the outgoing committee staff director, for his hard work and dedication.”

Senator Feinstein also announced that David Grannis, her Intelligence Committee designee since March 2005, would  become the new staff director. Grannis previously worked for the House Select Committee on Homeland Security and in the Office of Representative Jane Harman (D-Calif.).  He has a Masters of Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a degree in chemistry from Cornell University. 

“David understands how the Intelligence Community works, and how to make the Intelligence Committee function in an effective and bipartisan way” Senator Feinstein said.

Among Senator Feinstein’s first priorities as chairman would  be working with the Obama Administration to end the practice of coercive interrogations and creating a uniform standard for interrogations throughout the U.S. government; ending the use of contractors in interrogations; granting the International Committee of the Red Cross access to detainees; and closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within one year.

Senator Feinstein would be the first woman to chair the Intelligence Committee in its 32-year history.


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