Trump Loyalist Sworn in as US Director of National Intelligence

More than nine months after U.S. President Donald Trump first floated his name, John Ratcliffe is taking charge of the country’s intelligence operations, promising to live up to the U.S. intelligence community mantra of speaking truth to power, despite his reputation as a Trump loyalist.The 54-year-old Ratcliffe was sworn in as director of national intelligence on Tuesday, less than a week after FILE – U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, poses for the media prior to his accreditation at the Bellevue Palace in Berlin, Germany, May 8, 2018.During a White House briefing Tuesday, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany expressed hope Ratcliffe would follow in the path of Richard Grenell, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Germany, who had been serving as acting director for the past three months.“Rick Grenell has done an excellent job in that position,” McEnany said. “He’s done extraordinary work at ODNI. I expect John Ratcliffe will as he takes over,” she added.In his short time as the acting DNI, Grenell irritated some lawmakers by refusing to consult with them while pushing ahead with a series of reforms, including changes to how the intelligence community will brief on election interference and moves to streamline operations at the National Counterterrorism Center.JUST IN: Senate Intelligence Committee official tells Senate Intelligence Committee member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. questions CIA Director John Brennan on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 9, 2016.“Ratcliffe has proven that his loyalty is to Donald Trump, not the truth,” Democratic senator and Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden tweeted last week, following Ratcliffe’s Senate confirmation.“This is yet another unqualified Trump nominee rubber-stamped by (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell, and a sad day for our democracy,” Wyden added.Concerns first surfaced last August when the president tweeted his intent to nominate Ratcliffe and caused the Texas lawmaker to withdraw his name from consideration.Concerns about inexperience, partisanshipSpecifically, lawmakers questioned whether Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney, had overstated his counterterrorism achievements, and noted that at the time, he had only served on the House Intelligence Committee for six months.Since then, Republican members of Congress warmed to Ratcliffe’s nomination, satisfied with his assurances that he would not use the U.S. intelligence community to further the president’s political goals..James R. Clapper, Jr., Director of National Intelligence, testifies on Capitol Hill, March 10 2011.James Clapper, who served as DNI under former President Barack Obama and who has been a frequent critic of the Trump administration, said one option would be for Ratcliffe to hold a series of town halls “so he can get to know the agencies, and they him.“The rank and file are going to watch closely to see what the new DNI does and says,” Clapper said. “I think they’ll want to give him a chance to live up to what he promised during his confirmation hearing.”

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