President Trump is continuing to vet candidates for the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) post, and to the Intelligence Community’s chagrin, he is reportedly leaning toward “Trump loyalists” former congressman Pete Hoekstra and President of the Center for Security Policy Fred Fleitz.
IC insiders have been making their swampier preferences known through the news media.
One intel source told Yahoo News this week that virtual unknown Kevin Meiners, an official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), is also being considered for the job.
Another IC favorite is Sue Gordon, a career intelligence official who would have already taken the helm if Trump wasn’t resisting appointing her as acting director.
Gordon has briefed Trump on occasion and has earned immense respect from both the intelligence agency veterans she helps lead and her congressional overseers. “You couldn’t find a more competent person to see ODNI and the community through this process,” said the retired senior military officer.
According to Yahoo, outgoing director Dan Coats actually shielded his staff from Trump because the president “repeatedly criticized the work of the nation’s intelligence agencies and cast doubt on their conclusions.”
This Yahoo article is a perfect example of IC running scared. They're desperate 4 an ODNI like Coates who will "shield staff from @realdonaldtrump" They're afraid of @FredFleitz, who would streamline bureaucratic fiefdoms & advance Admin policies. https://t.co/gdggPibDj4
— Kyle Shideler (@ShidelerK) August 7, 2019
Hoekstra is the current U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands and the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and congressional staffer who also served on the National Security Council under Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton.
Hoekstra has had “several meetings” with Trump about the role over the last two months, and has a “good relationship” with the president, a former campaign adviser told Yahoo.
Fleitz has 25 years experience serving in various U.S. national security positions, including the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of State, the CIA, and as a senior staff member with the House Intelligence Committee.
Fleitz has advocated for “sharply scaling back or eliminating” the ODNI “to make American intelligence great again.”
The president first raised the possibility of the DNI job with Fleitz back in February and Fleitz reportedly considered taking the position.