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Clinton Names No. 2 CIA Official as Acting Director : Intelligence: Adm. Studeman previously served as chief of the National Security Agency. Woolsey unexpectedly announces he will leave his post Monday.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

President Clinton elevated the No. 2 official at the Central Intelligence Agency to the post of acting director Thursday as he continued to search for a permanent head of the organization.

Adm. William O. Studeman, who has been deputy director of Central Intelligence for three years, will step in for R. James Woolsey, who is leaving the post as director Monday. Studeman is one of several candidates mentioned as a possible permanent replacement for Woolsey.

When Woolsey announced his resignation last month, he said that he would depart at the end of January. But on Thursday, he announced unexpectedly that he would leave on Monday. Woolsey is to return to the Washington, D.C., law firm of Shea & Gardner, a federal litigation and counseling practice where he had worked intermittently for 14 years.

Next week, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has scheduled its annual public hearing at which the CIA director briefs Congress on world threats to national security. Studeman is now expected to conduct that briefing, eliminating the possibility of yet another testy encounter between Woolsey and Congress.

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Soon after he was confirmed by the Senate, Woolsey engaged in public battles with Congress over the size of the CIA’s budget. He later was sharply criticized by some lawmakers for being too lenient in disciplining CIA officials who bore responsibility in the Aldrich H. Ames spy case.

Congressional sources and other critics have said that whomever Clinton chooses should insist on having full access to the President, who has been criticized for appearing uninterested in some foreign policy matters. Woolsey seldom had one-on-one meetings with Clinton.

Studeman, 54, was named deputy director in 1992 by then-President George Bush. At that time, he was director of the Defense Department’s National Security Agency, which handles global eavesdropping by the United States and maintains the security of secret U.S. communications worldwide.

He is a highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War and also served from 1985 to 1988 as director of Naval Intelligence.

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Last fall, Woolsey contacted the Justice Department to report that Studeman may have engaged in illegal lobbying by enlisting the aid of a former Air Force general to try to block an electronic eavesdropping bill in Congress. The former general, James Abrahamson, now works for a computer software company that receives federal funds. However, it is unclear what action, if any, the Justice Department took on Woolsey’s information.

Other potential candidates to replace Woolsey permanently include William J. Crowe Jr., the U.S. ambassador to Britain and a former admiral who once chaired the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff; former New Hampshire Sen. Warren B. Rudman, a Republican who is vice chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and recently defeated Rep. Dave McCurdy, an Oklahoma Democrat who once chaired the House Select Committee on Intelligence.


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