Obama to get first intelligence briefing Thursday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Barack Obama will get his first intelligence briefing as president-elect on Thursday, a U.S. official said, as the first-term senator prepared to face security challenges from terrorism to a resurgent Russia.

The official, who is familiar with the process, said on Wednesday that Obama would receive the same briefing as outgoing President George W. Bush.

The briefing is more detailed and comprehensive than those given candidate Obama and the Republican opponent he defeated on Tuesday, Sen. John McCain.

“He (Obama) will see the full range of capabilities we deploy for the United States,” CIA Director Michael Hayden said in a letter to employees.

U.S. presidents start their day with an overview of intelligence developments, delivered by the director of national intelligence.

The current director, Michael McConnell, will launch Obama’s briefings and two CIA employees will be the principal briefers.

Among the immediate security issues Obama will face, in addition to two ongoing wars, are Pakistan’s protests over U.S. attacks on militants in its border region with Afghanistan, decisions on the future of the Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorism suspect that he wants closed and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

In addition, Russia on Wednesday vowed to put new missiles near Poland’s border, in a challenge to U.S. plans to deploy a missile-defense system in Poland.

People who have been mentioned as potential Obama appointments to top intelligence posts include former Pentagon and Justice Department official Jamie Gorelick, U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, former NATO Commander Gen. James Jones and former CIA counterterrorism official John Brennan.

Reporting by Randall Mikkelsen