From NBC's Andrea Mitchell
NBC News has learned that Senate Democrats -- including Dianne Feinstein and Jay Rockefeller, who are the incoming and outgoing Intelligence chairmen -- have privately recommended a career CIA officer to head the agency.
Democratic sources indicate that both have recommended deputy CIA Director Steve Kappes, a veteran CIA intelligence officer who is widely credited with getting the Libyans to give up their nuclear program. Kappes also was former Moscow station chief.
The senators have let the transition team know they believe that the agency has finally settled down under Michael Hayden and needs a real intelligence pro to make key decisions -- and get institutional support to make them stick.
One potential downside for Kappes: Like former counter-terror chief John Brennan, some critics says he had line authority over controversial decisions involving interrogation and detention. Brennan was taken out of contention for the CIA job after criticism on the Web on that issue, even though he says he privately objected to the policies and was not in the chain of command at the time.