Legal experts and journalists sounded the alarm on Wednesday after The New York Times reported that President Trump has told advisers he plans to install Richard Grenell, the current U.S. ambassador to Germany and a staunch defender of Trump, as the acting Director of National Intelligence.
As acting DNI, a position which was originally vacated by Dan Coats in August 2019, Grenell will be charged with overseeing and integrating the U.S. intelligence community and will advise the president and the National Security Council on intelligence matters that concern national security.
As Politico notes: “Grenell has long used his personal Twitter account to attack critics or otherwise opine — well before he joined Trump’s team. His use of Twitter, while reminiscent of Trump, has upset U.S. diplomats who say he may be violating State Department rules governing ambassadors’ use of their personal accounts.”
During his tenure as spokesman for the U.S. delegation at the U.N. members of the press corps described Grenell in 2003, as “rude,” “arrogant,” “unbearable,” and a “bully.”
The Intercept notes: “Rather than engage in dialogue, Grenell uses the platform to badger reporters whose work he dislikes to the point where many eventually tire of his inane arguments and block him.”
At 1:45, the Senate is voting to confirm Richard Grenell to be U.S. ambassador to Germany.
Congrats to the first person I ever blocked on Twitter for aggressive rudeness! pic.twitter.com/WTzO2ofPTw
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) April 26, 2018
Here’s how some experts, journalists and Senators are reacting to news of Grenell’s appointment:
Sen. Richard Blumenthal on CNN on the Richard Grenell news: "Having someone who is a political appointee with little or any background in intelligence come there on an acting basis is really the wrong move and I hope that the president will appoint a real professional."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 19, 2020
This should frighten you. Not just brazen politicization of intelligence, but also someone who is utterly incompetent in an important security role. The guardrails are gone. https://t.co/c9qHn2KlyM
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) February 19, 2020
This is beyond dangerous.
Grenell is a Trump cultist and Trump will use him to ensure that our intelligence officials act and Trump's personal and political best interests, not America's.
Worse, he will be "acting" DNI, so the Senate will have no say in him being installed. https://t.co/yKWDNzKuD0
— VoteVets (@votevets) February 19, 2020
This is a national disgrace. Grenell would be the least qualified intelligence chief in US history. https://t.co/WliTv6DHTe
— Joe Cirincione (@Cirincione) February 19, 2020
That's one way to look at it. Another is he will have a guy who is a proven diplomatic disaster area who has alienated our allies and advanced Trump's pro-Russian, anti-US agenda blindly and without regard for US interests.
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) February 19, 2020
Are you fucking kidding me? This is a joke,bright?! https://t.co/BshN8BFB59
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) February 19, 2020
That would be a disastrous choice…so I assume Don will do it.https://t.co/AjelNk5OYU
— John Schindler (@20committee) February 19, 2020
Grenell as DNI? This is crazy, even by the standards of this administration.
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) February 19, 2020
Reminder: Jim Clapper spent 50 years in intelligence, headed two agencies, and served as the Under Sec of intel at the Pentagon before becoming DNI. Ric Grenell was … a notably rude Twitter troll. https://t.co/ST1adUqJJR
— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) February 19, 2020
Another slap in the face to my former intel colleagues. Grenell is a partisan bombthrower whose only skill is defending Trump. Trump’s decision not to nominate a permanent DNI underscores that he has no use for intel and no regard for national security. https://t.co/JDk83yBq3j
— Ned Price (@nedprice) February 19, 2020
This is the definition of failing up. He failed miserably in Germany but at least wasn’t a threat to America’s national security. As Acting DNI, he will. Trump’s team of “acting” lackeys just keep getting worse. https://t.co/QOOJBiHduU
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) February 20, 2020
The thing about the Grenell appointment is that it makes crystal clear trump doesn’t give a flying fuck about keeping this country safe. Everything is about him. https://t.co/M0WRN7t6tD
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) February 19, 2020