President Trump’s appointment of U.S. Ambassador
to Germany Richard Grenell as acting Director of National Intelligence
(DNI) drew immediate criticism that the president was more interested in
installing a loyalist than a candidate with deep experience in the intelligence
community.

“It appears the President has selected an individual *without any
intelligence experience* to serve as the leader of the nation’s intelligence
community in an acting capacity,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., tweeted.
Grenell
replaces Joseph Maguire as acting DNI, a role Maguire assumed after DNI Dan
Coats departed in August. 

The president had to withdraw
an earlier pick for DNI, Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, last year amid
bipartisan criticism that Ratcliffe didn’t have the experience to lead the
intelligence community in an important role established after the 9/11
terrorist attacks to facilitate communication and coordination among the U.S.’s
various intelligence agencies. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., at the time called
Ratcliffe “a blind loyalist to the president” and expressed concern over how
intelligence would be affected if he were confirmed.

As ambassador
Grenell has been a controversial figure and like Ratcliffe he has been pegged
as a Trump loyalist. The president has long criticized the intelligence
community, voicing doubts about their findings, particularly their assessment
that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

In tweeting Grenell’s
appointment, Trump praised the ambassador for having “represented our Country
exceedingly well.”