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Ex - CIA Chief Named To Head Texas A&M

Filed at 10:54 p.m. ET

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- Texas A&M regents named former CIA director Robert Gates on Saturday as the sole finalist for university president.

Five of the seven regents who attended the special meeting voted for Gates, 58, who served as CIA director from 1991-93.

Sen. Phil Gramm's wife, Wendy, who is on the board, did not participate in the vote. The retiring Republican senator did not submit his name as a possible candidate, but two organizations representing former students and five other people had voiced support for the senator moments before the board named Gates as the finalist.

Board Chairman Earle Nye, a friend of Gramm's, said he believes a large contingent of current and former students backed Gramm. But, he said, ``I believe they will turn and support the designated leader of this university.''

Under state law, the board must wait 21 days before officially offering Gates the job.

Gates joined the CIA in 1966 and was a national security adviser at the White House before becoming CIA director. He served as interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M from 1999-2001.

He told The Associated Press on Saturday that he turned down an offer by A&M officials last summer, but rethought the job after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Gates said he decided ``if I could do one more public service, I should. And I couldn't think of a better place to do it than Texas A&M.''

Gramm, a Republican who taught at A&M for 16 years, said he is confident Gates will be a strong leader for A&M.

``I look forward to working with Dr. Gates on behalf of the school I love,'' Gramm said in a statement.

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