Henley passed over
U.S. intelligence analyst Lonnie Henley has been passed over for promotion to the position of national intelligence officer (NIO) for East Asia. The position of top U.S. government Asia and China analyst has gone to former CIA China analyst Paul Heer, who was appointed to the post by Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell.
The influential post is considered a key slot because the official in charge can exercise widespread influence over all analyses and research related to China.
China’s rise continues to be a subject of debate among intelligence officials and academics who disagree on whether Beijing poses a current or future threat to the United States.
Mr. Henley and Mr. Heer both are considered to hold benign views of China, according to intelligence officials familiar with their work.
Mr. Henley is familiar to readers of this column for the reprimand charging him with “poor judgment” for supporting former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst Ron Montaperto, who was convicted last year of improperly storing classified information and for passing top-secret intelligence to two Chinese military officers.
Mr. Henley wrote a letter to the judge in the Montaperto case urging a lenient sentence and also wrote an e-mail that was critical of the FBI for investigating Montaperto.
He is remaining as deputy NIO for East Asia.
Mr. Henley was favored for the top NIO post by National Intelligence Council Chairman Thomas Fingar, who officials say shares the views of Mr. Henley and Montaperto on China.
Bill Gertz covers the Pentagon. He can be reached at 202/6363274 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.