Donald Trump names Joseph Maguire acting spy chief after succession turmoil




WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has named a retired Navy officer as his acting spy chief following a series shakeups and long-running tension between the president and his intelligence agencies

Trump named Joseph Maguire, the current director of the National Counterterrorism Center, as Director of National Intelligence in a tweet less than an hour after he announced that the woman in line for the job, intelligence official Sue Gordan, resigned.

The president has frequently clashed with his intelligence officials, including the current Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. Among other issues, Trump has questioned intelligence assessments that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to his benefit.  

“Admiral Maguire has a long and distinguished career in the military,” Trump tweeted, noting that he retired from the Navy in 2010 as a vice admiral after a 36-year career. “I have no doubt he will do a great job!”

Coats announced last month that he is leaving the job next week.   

Trump had initially floated the name of Rep. John Ratcliffe to lead the office, but the Texas Republican withdrew his name after a series of stories raised questions about whether he had inflated his resume. 

The Senate confirmed McGuire last year to head up the National Counterterrorism Center, which analyzes counterterrorism threats for the DNI.  

Created in response to the 2001 terrorist attacks, the DNI is charged with coordinating the work of the nation’s intelligence agencies and briefing the president on the findings.

Some conservatives, meanwhile, called Gordon part of the intelligence establishment that has clashed with Trump.

Donald Trump Jr., one of those critics, tweeted about concerns that Gordon has worked in the past with John Brennan, the Barack Obama-era intelligence chief who has been harshly critical of his father.

Donald Trump

Other lawmakers lamented the departure of Gordon, saying Trump and the country are losing a valuable intelligence analyst.

“President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he is seemingly incapable of hearing facts that contradict his own views,” said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Citing Coats departure, Warner said the intelligence community’s mission “is to speak truth to power. Yet in pushing out two dedicated public servants in as many weeks, once again the President has shown that he has no problem prioritizing his political ego.”

The Republican chairman of that committee, North Carolina’s Richard Burr, had recommended Gordon be considered for the job.  

“Sue Gordon’s retirement is a significant loss for our Intelligence Community,” Burr said. “I will miss her candor and deep knowledge of the issues.”

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