President Donald Trump announced that Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon would resign effective August 15, the same day current DNI head Dan Coats will officially leave his post.
Sources said that Gordon decided to quit after being told she would not be considered for the DNI director role, the Daily Caller reported.
Trump praised Gordon Thursday night, calling her a “great professional with a long and distinguished career” for whom he has “great respect.”
The president named Admiral Joseph Maguire as acting intelligence chief about an hour after he announced that Gordon would step down. “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,” Trump wrote.
Both Republicans and Democrats were dismayed upon hearing word of Gordon’s imminent departure.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, called Gordon’s decision “a great loss not only to the intelligence community, but to the country” and blasted Trump for letting her go.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) called her departure a “significant loss to our Intelligence Committee” and said he “will miss her candor and deep knowledge of the issues. I look forward to seeing what new challenges she will tackle next.
Gordon previously served as the first CIA cyber czar, and then in 2015, former President Barack Obama named her to the deputy DNI position. Her lengthy career with the CIA began in the 1980s. The president has indicated that he will announce an acting deputy DNI in the very near future.
Trump earlier tapped Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to replace Coats, but Ratcliffe withdrew his name from consideration after reports surfaced that he had exaggerated his intelligence experience. Trump defended his pick, but said Ratcliffe didn’t want to face further media attacks and would remain in Congress instead.
Both the DNI director and the deputy director advise the president directly about intelligence and national security matters, oversee national intelligence functions and and report to key committees in Congress.
If our national intelligence suffers, it could have huge ramifications on foreign policy, not to mention the very safety of Americans both at home and abroad.
As such, it is incumbent upon Trump to select qualified, permanent replacements for these positions as soon as possible to ensure stability and continuity in this most crucial federal function.