Trump taps loy­al­ist Grenell as na­tion’s top in­tel of­fi­cial

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - NEWS - By Zeke Miller and Matthew Lee

WASHINGTON >> Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump 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 on Wed­nes­day. A White House state­ment Thurs­day said Grenell “is com­mit­ted to a non­po­lit­i­cal, non­par­ti­san ap­proach” to the job.

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, be­comes the first openly gay mem­ber of Trump’s Cabi­net. He 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.

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.

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.”


Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo is greeted by U.S. am­bas­sador to Ger­many Richard Grenell as he ar­rives at Mu­nich In­ter­na­tional Air­port, in Mu­nich, Ger­many on Feb. 13.

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