WASHINGTON - The top US spymaster warned Thursday that a new president's first year in office is the most perilous time for the country. "I would say the period of most vulnerability for the United States is the first year of a new president," Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Mike McConnell told an annual conference of intelligence officials and contractors in Tennessee Thursday. McConnell cited the attack on the World Trade Centre shortly after Bill Clinton took over the presidency in 1993 and the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, which occurred less than eight months after George W. Bush took the oath of office. The comments seemed similar to those made recently by Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, who was criticized when he suggested his running mate Barack Obama would be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in office. Biden referred to it as a "generated crisis to test the mettle" of Obama. The winner of the upcoming US presidential election will begin a four-year term on Jan. 20 next year.