As the drip, drip, drip of both how thin Congressman Ratcliffe’s (R-TX) resume is for the position of Director of National Intelligence and how much of that thin resume were either outright lies and/or pure embellishment made up by Congressman Ratcliffe himself, he has withdrawn himself from consideration. The President, of course, did not take the news well.
….John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country. I will be announcing my nomination for DNI shortly.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2019
Oh for the love of…. https://t.co/PIh2SCIgei
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) August 2, 2019
The two outstanding questions now are who will the President ultimately nominate and whether he will try to bypass the statutorily required elevation of Sue Gordon, the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence to Acting Director of National Intelligence.
Two sources tell me the WH is seeking to bypass Sue Gordon and name a different acting DNI.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) August 2, 2019
Gordon is a very senior, career intelligence officer who was appointed to the Principal Deputy Directorship in August 2017. She is not from the political world of either political party. Nor is she from within the President’s business, political, and/or familial orbits. The President has just given a press gaggle where he stated clearly that he both likes and is considering Gordon for Acting DNI, which is, not something that is an actual legal option.
Earlier this week, we reported the White House is considering others for the role.
“The decision is the President's,” an ODNI spokesperson said at the time.https://t.co/rOz780n6eB
— Zachary Cohen (@ZcohenCNN) August 1, 2019
Expect that the nomination process for the next Director of National Intelligence to drag out, requiring the extended use of an acting director. If that’s the case, as has been the case at the Departments of Justice, Defense, Homeland Security, US Customs and Immigration Service, and several other departments and agencies, expect the President and his Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulaney to push for an acting director that is not Sue Gordon. My understanding from reporting is that Mulvaney is the one who pushed for Ratcliffe as DNI as they were Freedom Caucus buddies. As is usually the case with anything Mick Mulvaney is involved with it, the gambit blew up in his face.
The smartest thing that could be done here is to actually nominate Sue Gordon for the position of Director of National Intelligence. She’s got the experience. She’s held senior leadership positions across all the directorates at the Central Intelligence Agency. She’s a professional.
That’s the smart thing to do. Whether that will be what the President actually does is, however, another matter entirely.