Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon will be leaving the intelligence community amid speculation that President Trump did not want her to assume the acting DNI role after Dan Coats departs ODNI a week from now.
National Counterterrorism Center Director Joseph Maguire, a retired naval special warfare office and former vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, will move into the acting deputy DNI role.
When Coats leaves on Aug. 15, by law the deputy DNI is supposed to fill the role until a permanent replacement is confirmed. Concerns were raised, though, when Trump tweeted after Coats’ announcement that he would soon name an acting DNI. Multiple reports afterward indicated that the administration may try to oust Gordon because she’s not viewed as a partisan loyalist; the Daily Beast reported that the White House recently asked ODNI “for a list of all its employees at the federal government’s top pay scale who have worked there for 90 days or more.”
Gordon has an extensive intelligence resume, serving the CIA for 25 including as head of the Information Operations Center and serving as deputy director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency from January 2015 until moving to ODNI in August 2017. The New York Times reported that Trump refused to be briefed by Gordon during a recent intelligence briefing.
After House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) praised Gordon last month, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, “If Adam Schiff wants her in there, the rumors about her being besties with Brennan and the rest of the clown cadre must be 100% true.”
“Sue Gordon is a great professional with a long and distinguished career. I have gotten to know Sue over the past 2 years and have developed great respect for her. Sue has announced she will be leaving on August 15, which coincides with the retirement of Dan Coats. A new Acting Director of National Intelligence will be named shortly,” President Trump tweeted this evening.
Soon after, Trump added, “I am pleased to inform you that the Honorable Joseph Maguire, current Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will be named Acting Director of National Intelligence, effective August 15th. Admiral Maguire has a long and distinguished career in the military, retiring from the U.S. Navy in 2010. He commanded at every level, including the Naval Special Warfare Command. He has also served as a National Security Fellow at Harvard University. I have no doubt he will do a great job!”
Maguire served as NCTC’s deputy director for Strategic Operational Planning from 2007 to 2010, and was sworn in as the center’s director on Dec. 27, 2018.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr called Gordon’s resignation “a significant loss for our intelligence community.”
“In more than three decades of public service, Sue earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues with her patriotism and vision,” Burr said in a statement. “She has been a stalwart partner to the Senate Intelligence Committee, and I will miss her candor and deep knowledge of the issues. I look forward to seeing what new challenges she will tackle next.”
Trump nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to replace Coats as DNI, but the former mayor of Heath, Texas, withdrew his nomination shortly afterward. Ratcliffe has no experience working in the intelligence community and was accused of padding his resume, such as claiming he had “put terrorists in prison” as a prosecutor with no known specific cases.