New Changes at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence

John Ratcliffe (left) — Dan Coats (right)

On July 28, 2019, President Trump announced that he will replace current director of national intelligence (DNI), Dan Coats, with Texas Republican Representative, John Ratcliffe, effective on August 15, 2019.

During his two-year tenure, Coats several times appeared to be out of sync with the president, reflecting some broader disagreements between Trump and the government’s intelligence agencies. In January 2019, Trump exchanged some verbal blows with Coats and Gina Haspel, the CIA Director, after they testified about a threat-assessment report that called into question some of the president’s foreign policy judgments regarding Iran. “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” tweeted the president.

Coats appears to be one of the last of the Republican establishment Mohicans appointed by the president in his first two years in office. As we all know, Trump disposed of most of them, one by one: Reince Priebus (Chief of Staff, in 2017), Jeff Sessions (Attorney General, in 2018), Nikki Haley (Ambassador to the United Nations, in 2018), and Kierstjen Nielsen (Secretary of Homeland Security, in 2019), to name just a few.

In order to accomplish his ambitious agenda, the president cannot afford the luxury of Republicans who are either too slow or too reluctant to implement his directives, let alone that the 2020 presidential elections are knocking on the door.

Ratcliffe is a loyalist and appears to fit the president’s policy for the intelligence community, especially due to the fact that Trump is surrounded by too many internal political enemies and many external challenges with actors like Iran, China, Russia, and North Korea.

During the Mueller Hearings, Ratcliffe created a good impression, being remarkably aggressive with the former Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the pack of House Democrats. “The special counsel’s job, nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or that the special counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him,” he told Mueller.

Ratcliffe then added: “So, Americans need to know this as they listen to the Democrats and socialists on the other side of the aisle as they do dramatic readings from this report that Volume II of this report was not authorized under the law to be written. It was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department and it was written in violation of every DOJ principle about extra prosecutorial commentary. I agree with the chairman this morning when he said Donald Trump is not above the law. He’s not. But he damn sure shouldn’t be below the law, which is where Volume II of this report puts him.”

UPDATE:

On August 2, 2019, a few days after the nomination, as a result of some concerns that the appointment risked politicizing intelligence work, Trump said in a tweet that he was withdrawing Ratcliffe’s name from nomination. The president blamed the media and the Democrats for having an unfair scrutiny of Ratcliffe, but he also had become concerned following feedback from some Republican senators.

On August 8, 2019, Trump announced that Joseph Maguire, who is the current Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will be named Acting director of National Intelligence, effective August 15, 2019.

The Director of National Intelligence serves as head of 17 United States government intelligence agencies that conduct intelligence activities to support the foreign policy and national security of the United States. He directs and oversees the National Intelligence Program and serves as an advisor to the president for intelligence matters related to national security.

What this means is that the Director will have management authority over issues extending from Iran to Obamagate (the Russian collusion hoax, that is). It will be extremely interesting to watch.

 

NOTE – A version of the article was previously published in AMERICAN THINKER.

 

TIBERIU DIANU has published several books and a host of articles on law, politics, and post-communist societies. He currently lives and works in Washington, DC and can be followed on MEDIUM.

 

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4 comments to New Changes at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence

  • MARCELA DESCULTU

    The news of replacing the current director of the US National Intelligence was announced by President Trump himself via Twitter. There are several reasons that have brought the situation to this point. Coats has questioned some of the president’s foreign policy decisions regarding Iran.

  • MARCELA DESCULTU

    The intelligence services must be in sync with the president and avoid blunders. Perfection is required. A small blunder can endanger the country.

  • DANIELA

    The president has too many foes, inside and outside the country, and therefore he cannot afford discrepancies from people in his own administration.

  • DANIELA

    John Ratcliffe is a loyalist of the president and a good choice. He will lead the US Intelligence Community, oversee the National Intelligence Program and work with the President on various national security issues, including the Russian collusion hoax produced by the Democrats.



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