Trump appoints counter-terrorism chief to head national intelligence

US President Donald Trump has appointed Admiral Joseph Maguire, current Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, to head the Office of Director of National Intelligence starting August 15.

The appointment was preceded by the announcement that Sue Gordon, the current deputy director at ODNI, will be leaving at the same time as her boss Dan Coats. Under the law that established the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, he was obligated to make Gordon acting director upon Coats’s departure.

Maguire was previously in charge of the Naval Special Warfare Command and retired from the US Navy in 2010. “I have no doubt he will do a great job!” Trump said of the retired admiral.

Trump’s first pick to head ODNI was Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), but that sparked an avalanche of criticism from Democrats and former intelligence officials, worried about the Texas congressman’s criticism of the ‘Russiagate’ probe. He ended up withdrawing that nomination on August 2, blaming the “LameStream Media” who he said treated Ratcliffe “very unfairly.”

Hours before that announcement, Gordon was endorsed and praised by former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – a key player in the ‘Russiagate’ probe – as well as Adam Schiff (D-California), chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

The US intelligence community is under a cloud of suspicion over its role in starting the ‘Russiagate’ investigation, which Democrats hoped would prevent Trump’s election or – after he won – force him to resign from the presidency. 

Former CIA Director John Brennan and former DNI James Clapper have found a new home as cable news pundits, outspoken critics of Trump and promoters of the ‘Russiagate” conspiracy. The Justice Department is now investigating who and why authorized the FBI to spy on Trump’s campaign through one of its members, immediately before and for months after the 2016 election.