President Trump has appointed Joseph – not Jerry – Maguire to be the temporary replacement for retiring Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. The president announced the appointment last night on Twitter shortly after another tweet announcing the resignation of Sue Gordon, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Gordon’s resignation is effective August 15.
Maguire is a career naval officer, who has served as commander of SEAL Team Two as well as commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command. He retired from the Navy in 2010 with the final rank of vice admiral. Maguire has also been through the confirmation process having been appointed Director of the National Counterterrorism Center by President Trump in June 2018. He was confirmed by a voice vote in the Senate last December after only Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voted against cloture.
Maguire’s recent confirmation and impeccable credentials make him a safe pick for the DNI position. The president’s first appointment, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), was withdrawn after only a few days amid criticism about his lack of experience and overt political agenda. There should be no such complications for Maguire.
Most senators are likely to support Maquire’s nomination but voices from both sides of the aisle are lamenting the departure of Sue Gordon, a career CIA officer. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that her resignation was “a significant loss for our Intelligence Community.”
The committee vice-chairman, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), said, “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 .”
Gordon, a Trump appointee since 2017, did not leave voluntarily. NPR points out that her resignation later pointedly states, “I offer this letter as an act of respect & patriotism, not preference. You should have your team.”
President Trump has had an awkward and sometimes adversarial relationship with the US intelligence community. The DNI will have his hands full balancing the assessments of the intelligence agencies with the president’s strong worldviews. Maguire seems to be as good a pick for the job as any, however.