Stefanik on Trump intelligence pick: “Great choice”

Stefanik on Trump intelligence pick: “Great choice”
Richard Grenell, acting Director of National Intelligence (Source: MGN/CBN News/YouTube)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - North country congresswoman Elise Stefanik has praised President Trump’s controversial choice for acting Director of National Intelligence.

By tweet, Stefanik said the selection of Richard Grenell is a “great choice” by the president.

“Congratulations to @RichardGrenell on being named Acting DNI (Director of National Intelligence),” Stefanik tweeted.

“I look forward to working with him on investing in the hardworking public servants within the IC and broader national security issues.”

The president named Grenell, a staunch loyalist to President Trump and the ambassador to Germany, to the position of acting Director of National Intelligence earlier this week. The DNI’s job is among the most consequential in the U.S. government; it is the job of the DNI to coordinate the activities of America’s intelligence services.

The job was created in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and over the years the job has gone to seasoned intelligence professionals. Grenell is not; according to the New York Times, "Mr. Grenell has no experience as an intelligence officer at any level, nor has he overseen a large government bureaucracy.

“He has served in government only as communications director for the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. during the George W. Bush administration, and since May 2018 as ambassador to Germany. (In the interim, he founded and ran a public affairs consultancy, advising and commenting on Fox News.)”

The appointment is “not sitting well with some former intelligence officials or with some key lawmakers, who cite Grenell’s lack of intelligence experience and the president’s refusal to name a permanent director."

Grenell was appointed to replace Joseph McGuire, who was sidelined by President Trump after McGuire authorized a briefing to the House intelligence committee in which lawmakers were told Russia is working to get President Trump re-elected in 2020.

We’ve asked Stefanik to elaborate on her support of Grenell, and on whether she - as a member of the intelligence committee - believes the intelligence that Russia is trying to get President Trump re-elected. If she responds, we’ll update this story. (The Washington Post reported late Friday afternoon that Sen. Bernie Sanders has also been told Russia is trying to aid his presidential campaign.)

A key Stefanik advisor, Alex DeGrasse, also weighed in on the Grenell appointment.

(Also read: North Country Public Radio’s report. It points out that Stefanik has acknowledged in the past that Moscow intervened on President Trump’s behalf.)

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