James R. Lilley, U. S. ambassador to China, may be in line to take over the Central Intelligence Agency from William H. Webster, who resigned on May 8. Lilley, an old CIA hand, was station chief in Beijing when President Bush was envoy to China in the mid-1970s. There have been rumors for months that Bush, a former director of Central Intelligence, wanted to replace Webster, a Reagan holdover, with his own chief spook. Other candidates for the top CIA job: National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and his deputy Robert M. Gates, himself a former deputy director of the CIA.

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