US President Donald Trump has named a new acting national intelligence director, part of a leadership shake-up at the agency that oversees 17 spy agencies.
Joseph Maguire, the nation’s top counterterrorism official, will become acting director on August 15, the same day that National Intelligence Director Dan Coats’ resignation takes effect.
That will also be the same day that deputy national intelligence director Sue Gordon will be walking out the door. Democrats have accused Mr Trump of pushing out two dedicated intelligence professionals.
Mr Trump tweeted: “Admiral Maguire has a long and distinguished career in the military, retiring from the U.S. Navy in 2010.”
“He commanded at every level, including the Naval Special Warfare Command. He has also served as a National Security Fellow at Harvard University. I have no doubt he will do a great job!”
Mr Coats also praised Maguire, saying in a statement that he “has had a long, distinguished career” and will lead the intelligence community with distinction.
I am pleased to inform you that the Honorable Joseph Maguire, current Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will be named Acting Director of National Intelligence, effective August 15th. Admiral Maguire has a long and distinguished….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2019
It’s unclear if the president, who has had an uneven relationship with the intelligence agencies since he took office, plans to also nominate Mr Maguire to formally replace Mr Coats.
After Mr Coats announced his retirement late last month, the president nominated Texas GOP Representative John Ratcliffe to be the new director of national intelligence.
But Mr Ratcliffe removed himself from consideration after just five days amid criticism about his lack of intelligence experience and qualifications for the job.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has been in upheaval since Mr Coats, who had bumped elbows with Mr Trump, announced late last month that he was stepping down.
Then on Thursday, Ms Gordon, who has worked in the intelligence field for three decades, announced she was leaving the same day with Mr Coats.
Mr Trump tweeted: “Sue Gordon is a great professional with a long and distinguished career.”
“I have gotten to know Sue over the past 2 years and have developed great respect for her.” Sue has announced she will be leaving on August 15.
But it was clear that Ms Gordon was not resigning by choice.
“I offer this letter as an act of respect and patriotism, not preference,” she wrote in a note to Mr Trump that accompanied her two-paragraph resignation letter.
“You should have your team. Godspeed, Sue.”