Trump names new acting intelligence director as Gordon quits
U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Aug. 8 that his respected Deputy Director of National Intelligence was resigning, the latest chapter in a broad reshuffle at the top of the country's spy agencies.
"I have no doubt he will do a great job!" Trump said.
Trump praised the 67-year-old's "long and distinguished" military career, during which he served as commanding officer of SEAL Team 2 and led the Naval Special Warfare Center.
But the departure of Gordon, a seasoned, independent-minded senior official, will be seen as a blow to an intelligence community already uneasy about Coats leaving.
"Know that our people are our strength, and they will never fail you or the Nation. You are in good hands," she said.
Richard Burr, the Republican head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Gordon had "earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues with her patriotism and vision," while the committee's Democratic vice chairman Mark Warner said her departure was "a real loss" to the community and the country.
"President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he is seemingly incapable of hearing facts that contradict his own views," Warner said in a statement.
"The mission of the intelligence community is to speak truth to power. Yet in pushing out two dedicated public servants in as many weeks, once again the president has shown that he has no problem prioritizing his political ego even if it comes at the expense of our national security."
Federal law dictates that if the director of national intelligence leaves, the deputy should serve as acting director.
Trump announced last month he would nominate Republican congressman John Ratcliffe to replace Coats in the permanent role, but Ratcliffe withdrew from consideration last week amid questions over his credentials.
The staunch Trump loyalist received only tepid support from key Republicans, and a backlash from Democrats worried about the politicization of the intelligence community.
"It has been a privilege serving with Sue Gordon to lead... the intelligence community over these past two years. She is a visionary leader who has made an enormous impact on the IC over the more than three decades she has served," Coats said in a statement.
"I have had the pleasure of working with NCTC Director Joseph Maguire as part of my leadership team... and I am pleased that the President has announced that Joe will serve as Acting DNI. Joe has had a long, distinguished career serving the nation and will lead the men and women in the IC with distinction."