WASHINGTON: President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday formally announced former Indiana Senator Dan Coats as his pick for US director of national intelligence.
A mild-mannered former ambassador to Germany who also served on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Coats was widely tipped for the job coordinating 16 intelligence and security agencies — a position Trump may slim down.
“Dan has clearly demonstrated the deep subject matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community,” Trump said in a statement.
“If confirmed as Director of National Intelligence, he will provide unwavering leadership that the entire intelligence community can respect, and will spearhead my administration’s ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm.”
The announcement comes a day after the Republican president-elect met the country’s leading intelligence agency chiefs — including the current director of national intelligence, James Clapper, and CIA chief John Brennan — who told him that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a vast cyberattack against mainly Democratic organisations aimed at helping install Trump in the White House.
Although Trump accepted the possibility that Moscow was involved in hacking US targets including the Democratic National Committee, the president-elect held fast to his rejection of the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the election after telling the New York Times before the meeting that the accusations are part of a “political witch-hunt” against him.
Trump also promised again to improve relations with Russia. “Only ‘stupid’ people, or fools, would think that it is bad!” he wrote.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2017.