Two key IC nominations await Senate confirmation


Caroline Diane Krass
Caroline Diane Krass

Two recent presidential nominations of key players in the Intelligence Community — Caroline Diane Krass to be general counsel of the CIA and Daniel Bennett Smith to be assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research — are awaiting Senate confirmation.

Both nominees appeared at a Senate confirmation hearing last month.

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), who serves on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said at that confirmation hearing that, before he can support Krass’ nomination, he needs additional information and assurances relating to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s recent study on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.

A video of a portion of Senator Udall’s exchange with Krass at that hearing appears in a YouTube video, which can be viewed below:

Krass was nominated by President Obama on November 7, 2013 to be the CIA’s top lawyer.

She has had a long legal career in both the judicial and executive branches, having worked in at least three separate executive departments.

Krass is currently principal deputy assistant attorney general in the office of legal counsel at the Department of Justice, a position she has held since February 2011.

She served as acting assistant attorney general in 2011. Previously, she served on the National Security Council as special assistant to the president and special counsel to the president.

From 2007 to 2008, she served as a special assistant U.S. Attorney within the national security section at the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia.

She served as senior counsel in the office of legal counsel at the Department of Justice from 2000 to 2007, and previously served as an attorney-advisor in that office.

From 1999 to 2000, she served as deputy legal adviser at the National Security Council.

From 1996 to 1997, she served as special assistant to the general counsel at the Department of the Treasury, and she served as attorney-adviser in the office of the legal adviser at the Department of State from 1994 to 1996.

Krass clerked for the Patricia Wald on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She received a B.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

On October 4, 2013, President Obama nominated Daniel Bennett Smith to the top intelligence-related post at the State Department.

Smith most recently served as the U.S. ambassador to Greece from 2010 to 2013. As a career officer in the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Career Minister, Smith served previously as executive secretary of the State Department, from 2007 to 2010.

He has held other senior positions in the Department, including principal deputy assistant secretary for consular affairs and deputy executive secretary.

Smith’s overseas service includes tours in Bern, Istanbul, Ottawa and Stockholm. He has also taught political science at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Smith received his B.A. from the University of Colorado in Boulder and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.