Published: Thu, February 20, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Clapper: Grenell a Worrisome Pick for Intelligence Head

Clapper: Grenell a Worrisome Pick for Intelligence Head

President Donald Trump on Wednesday appointed Richard Grenell, the current US ambassador to Germany, as acting director of national intelligence.

Grenell takes the position over from former US Navy admiral, Joseph Maguire, who himself was there acting director since Dan Coats' vacated from the role in August a year ago. He has come under fire in the past for tweets targeting women, including Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Rachel Maddow and Callista Gingrich. It oversees the 17 civilian and military intelligence agencies, including the CIA.

Maguire has been acting national intelligence director since August 16, 2019.

In a statement, Maguire thanked the president for the opportunity to serve in the temporary position.

Maguire said he'd keep his position until Grenell assumes the role, adding that he looks forward "to the next challenge".

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After the president named Grenell to serve as USA ambassador to Germany, the first-time diplomat, perhaps best known as an internet troll, quickly irritated our allies in Berlin.

Most recently, Grenell took up the administration's warning that countries using 5G technology from China's Huawei risked their relationship with the U.S. In a tweet on Sunday, he said that the president had called him from Air Force One to tell him to "make clear that any nation who chooses to use an untrustworthy 5G vendor will jeopardize our ability to share intelligence and information at the highest level".

Ned Price, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who served as a Special Assistant to former President Barack Obama reacted to news of Grenell's appointment by tweeting, "Another slap in the face to my former intel colleagues". Democrats denounced the shake-up at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and accused Trump of pushing out two dedicated intelligence professionals. Another source states that some Republicans are dissatisfied with his ambassador's work so "there is no way to confirm it" in the Senate.

Fifteen years ago, he was the assistant to the then United States Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, and was particularly active during USA diplomatic attempts to bring to the Security Council a change to Resolution 1244 on Kosovo and the adoption of a plan drafted by a Finnish politician Martti Ahtisaari.

The director of national intelligence post was created after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US. In a Twitter post, Warner wrote that he felt Trump "has selected an individual *without any intelligence experience* to serve as the leader of the nation's intelligence community in an acting capacity".

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