The Trump administration is set to pare desk jobs at the top of the intelligence community, invoking the argument that its staffs are too large and duplicative, knowledgeable sources say.
One of the first targets is the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), where Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany and a favorite of President Trump, arrived as acting director in February.
Mr. Grenell has brought in Kash Patel, once a close aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican. Mr. Patel principally wrote the 2018 Nunes memo that exposed the FBI’s reliance on the discredited Christopher Steele dossier to justify spying on the Trump campaign.
The other focus is a DNI satellite office, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). It is a post-9/11 creation that analyzes the global terror threat, maintains huge databases on suspects and groups, and issues public and secret assessments.
The NCTC now has about 1,000 staffers. Ten years ago, it employed about 500, according to a Congressional Research Service report. The ODNI staff totals between 1,700 and 2,000. The ODNI says the workforce has stayed steady since its birth in 2005, overseeing $60 billion in annual spending, setting strategic policy and serving as the president’s chief intelligence adviser.
“It ballooned at inception,” said Daniel Hoffman, a three-decade CIA clandestine service veteran and a three-time station chief abroad. “I believe that what the current administration is doing is trying to streamline the DNI by reducing the number of people who are there and don’t need to be there.”