The BBC reports that the new chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee is to be William Ehrman, who, nearly in keeping with the reccommendations of the Butler Inquiry to appoint someone senior who will retire from public service after his chairmanship, so that he cannot be unduly influenced by spin doctors etc., will hold the post for a year, before going on to become the UK Ambassador in China.
"New JIC chair William Ehrman profiled
A top intelligence official, William Ehrman, has been named the new chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee.
He is currently director general for defence and intelligence at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and had been acting as the committee's deputy chairman since October 2002.
Mr Ehrman will also be head of the intelligence and security secretariat until a permanent appointment can be made.
Educated at Eton and Cambridge, Mr Ehrman is a China expert and a Mandarin speaker who is held in high esteem by the intelligence community.
He joined the Diplomatic Service in 1973, and has had postings in Beijing, New York, Hong Kong and was HM Ambassador to Luxembourg.
Sometimes known as "two brains Bill", Mr Ehrman is also credited with playing a key role in ensuring Libya abandoned its weapons of mass destruction.
But he was also involved in handling the media reaction which followed the death of Iraq arms expert Dr David Kelly.
He will hold the post for one year only as he is due to become Britain's ambassador to China in 2005.
He is seen as someone with experience in dealing with senior politicians and who is "demonstrably beyond influence".
This is in line with the recommendations of the Butler report into pre-war intelligence.
Mr Ehrman is married with three daughters and one son."
For those interested in circles within circles:
William Ehrman seems to have a similar background and experience i.e. specialism in China etc. to Nigel Inkster, the alleged "in house" candidate, the deputy supposedly groomed by Sir Richard Dearlove to succeed him to the position of "C" ,the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6, but who lost out to John Scarlett, the former chairman of the JIC (who was previously a senior MI6 officer). He was the deputy chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee under John Scarlett.
This all seems to be a bit incestuous, doesn't it ? Is this really the way to counter, for example, the newly re-organised Russian intelligence services ?