Washington (dpa) – US President Donald Trump named Richard Grenell, the current ambassador to Germany and a fierce Trump loyalist, as his acting director of national intelligence on Wednesday.
Grenell, who has no previous intelligence experience, will oversee 17 intelligence agencies and act as a middleman between the spy community and the president in the role.
“I am pleased to announce that our highly respected Ambassador to Germany, [Richard Grenell], will become the Acting Director of National Intelligence, ” Trump said in a tweet.
“Rick has represented our Country exceedingly well and I look forward to working with him,” he wrote.
The president has long eyed the intelligence establishment with suspicion and pushed for loyalty among his appointees.
While Trump has not criticized Joseph Maguire, who has been acting director of national intelligence since August 2019, he has chosen chosen a vocal and partisan defender to replace the former navy admiral.
Grenell has courted controversy in Germany for his Trump-like use of Twitter, issuing polarizing statements on Berlin’s domestic policies and harsh criticisms of the NATO ally that are unusual for an ambassador.
Grenell is to continue in his post after President Donald Trump named him acting director of national intelligence, dpa learned on Thursday from US diplomats in Berlin.
Prior to his diplomatic role under Trump, Grenell was a Republican political operative and worked as a spokesman for the US representative to the UN.
Grenell will also be Trump’s first openly gay cabinet member.