Trump Taps Grenell for National Intel 02/20 06:23
President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that Richard Grenell, the U.S.
ambassador to Germany, will become acting director of national intelligence, a
move that puts a staunch Trump ally in charge of the nation's 17 spy agencies,
which the president has only tepidly embraced.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that
Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, will become acting director of
national intelligence, a move that puts a staunch Trump ally in charge of the
nation's 17 spy agencies, which the president has only tepidly embraced.
"Rick has represented our Country exceedingly well and I look forward to
working with him," Trump tweeted.
Grenell follows Joseph Maguire, who has been acting national intelligence
director since August. It was unclear if Maguire would return to the National
Counterterrorism Center. "I would like to thank Joe Maguire for the wonderful
job he has done," Trump tweeted, "and we look forward to working with him
closely, perhaps in another capacity within the Administration!"
Grenell, a loyal and outspoken Trump supporter, has been the U.S. ambassador
to Germany since 2018. He previously served as U.S. spokesman at the United
Nations in the George W. Bush administration, including under then-Ambassador
News of the announcement was quickly criticized by those who said the job
should be held by someone with deep experience in intelligence. Trump named
Grenell acting national intelligence director, meaning he would not have to be
confirmed by the Senate.
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate
Intelligence Committee, said Trump had "selected an individual without any
intelligence experience to serve as the leader of the nation's intelligence
community in an acting capacity."
Warner accused the president of trying to sidestep the Senate's
constitutional authority to advise and consent on critical national security
"The intelligence community deserves stability and an experienced individual
to lead them in a time of massive national and global security challenges,"
Warner said in a statement. "... Now more than ever our country needs a
Senate-confirmed intelligence director who will provide the best intelligence
and analysis, regardless of whether or not it's expedient for the president who
has appointed him."
The Intellience Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 was signed by
President George W. Bush after 9/11 to improve the sharing of information among
all the intelligence agencies. The law states that the president shall appoint
a national intelligence director with the advice and consent of the Senate. It
also states: "Any individual nominated for appointment as Director of National
Intelligence shall have extensive national security expertise."
Susan Hennessey, a fellow in national security law at Brookings Institution
and a former attorney at the National Security Agency, tweeted: "This should
frighten you. Not just brazen politicization of intelligence, but also someone
who is utterly incompetent in an important security role. The guardrails are
Trump named Maguire to the position after Texas GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe
removed himself from consideration after just five days amid criticism about
his lack of intelligence experience and qualifications for the job.
Maguire became acting director the same day that former National
Intelligence Director Dan Coats' resignation took effect. It was also the same
day that deputy national intelligence director Sue Gordon walked out the door.
Democrats denounced the shake-up at the Office of the Director of National
Intelligence and accused Trump of pushing out two dedicated intelligence