National Security

Trump Picks Loyalist Troll As Intelligence Chief

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The New York Times first reported last night that Trump has appointed the ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, as the acting director of national intelligence and the fact that Grenell has no relevant experience in intelligence is not the only concern.

Many of you may already be unfortunately aware of who and what Grenell is, but even those close to Trump say he was chosen only for his loyalty.

One source close to Trump told CNN they were surprised by the pick, noting Grenell has zero intelligence-related experience.

And another Trump adviser described Grenell as "out of his league" for the acting DNI job, adding that some in the administration are "embarrassed by his behavior." Previous holders of the DNI job have served in the intelligence community, the US Senate and senior levels of the military. Grenell, on the other hand, does not boast a resume with similar credentials despite his stint as the US ambassador to Germany.

"Everybody came into (the DNI job) with a relevant understanding, of which this guy has none," said Bob Litt, former ODNI general counsel, who called the move "extremely dangerous."

Grenell will likely serve as the interim or "acting" director of national intelligence without ever being nominated to permanently fill the position because, as the headline points out, Grenell is a troll.

Grenell will hold the position for roughly 90 days, one of the sources said, and he took the job under that understanding. Trump in theory could use the time to continue searching for a permanent DNI to nominate.

"This is just a brief thing," the source said.

"Some Republicans are outraged with the job he has done as ambassador, there is no way he could get confirmed," a source familiar with the move said. Another Hill source told CNN Grenell "couldn't be confirmed" for the permanent position.

The fact that Grenell will only hold the position for about 90 days may limit the amount of damage he can do, but this sends a very bad message to some of our closest allies in the world.

In addition to being a notorious troll of social media, Grenell has also repeatedly antagonized the European Union and the German government during his time as the ambassador to Germany.

Of course, Trump probably considers that a key qualification.

  • Can we just burn the whole country down now? Sheesh, I am so tired of this.

    • Badgerite

      No. Take it back from them.

  • muselet

    Richard Grenell, after gaining infamy as a persistent internet troll, was named ambassador to Germany in May of 2018. One month later, he told Breitbart he wanted to “empower other conservatives throughout Europe.”

    Classy. A number of German politicians called for him to be expelled for interfering in domestic politics, but nothing came of it.

    The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the legislation that created the position of Director of National Intelligence, explicitly says:

    Any individual nominated for appointment as Director of National Intelligence shall have extensive national security expertise.

    That explains why Donald Trump isn’t bothering to nominate Grenell: he doesn’t have any such expertise, to the point that even some Senate Rs are quietly saying they’re uncomfortable with the thought of him as DNI.

    Frighteningly, the DNI prepares the Presidential Daily Brief. I can only imagine what Grenell will put in Trump’s PDBs for the next three months (not that it matters, since Trump doesn’t read anything that doesn’t mention his name or have lots of pictures).

    In short, Richard Grenell is exactly the kind of crude, unqualified bootlicker Donald Trump likes to put in important positions. At least he didn’t appoint Jared Kushner as DNI.

    –alopecia

  • katanahamon

    It’s past funny. Past a curiosity. Rump is a lawless, dangerous fool..our “democracy” is now just a venue for the richest to buy their way into elections, out of jail, and to economically enslave the rest of us while polluting our environment. We are just a mockery of ourselves. And Rump and McConnell have packed the courts to ensure we stay that way for a long, long time..