President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, will become acting director of national intelligence, a move that puts a staunch Trump ally in charge of the nation’s 17 spy agencies, which the president has only tepidly embraced.
“Rick has represented our Country exceedingly well and I look forward to working with him,” Trump tweeted.
I am pleased to announce that our highly respected Ambassador to Germany, @RichardGrenell, will become the Acting Director of National Intelligence. Rick has represented our Country exceedingly well and I look forward to working with him. I would like to thank Joe Maguire....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2020
Grenell follows Joseph Maguire, who has been acting national intelligence director since August.
It was unclear if Maguire would return to the National Counterterrorism Center. “I would like to thank Joe Maguire for the wonderful job he has done,” Trump tweeted, “and we look forward to working with him closely, perhaps in another capacity within the Administration!”
Grenell, a loyal and outspoken Trump supporter, has been the US ambassador to Germany since 2018. He previously served as US spokesman at the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration, including under then-Ambassador John Bolton.
News of the announcement was quickly criticized by those who said the job should be held by someone with deep experience in intelligence. Trump named Grenell acting national intelligence director, meaning he would not have to be confirmed by the Senate.