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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 
John Bolton. 

   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 
positions.

   "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 
gone."

   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 
professionals.


(KR)

 
 
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