“Once again, the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) finds itself exactly where intelligence officials never want to be: in the headlines and being talked about on cable news —without the ability [to] speak publicly to defend their work or their professionalism. Instead, IC leaders and professionals are left playing defense against a president who routinely demonstrates his lack of understanding of their craft, his disregard—and even contempt—for their work product, and his mistrust of any IC leader who hasn’t affirmed personal fealty to him with the required enthusiasm.

“The abrupt dismissal last week of Joe Maguire as the acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the nonsensical, if perhaps only temporary, appointment of an under-qualified and highly political ambassador to replace him, should not have come as a surprise to observers of President Donald Trump’s relationship with the intelligence and national security community. And while the president seems to intend that Richard Grenell, who’s also serving as U.S. ambassador to Germany, only serve briefly in the acting DNI role, there is no reason to expect that the process of finding an individual for the permanent DNI position will be easy or quick. After all, the Venn diagram that captures the universe of individuals who have both serious national security and intelligence credentials and the requisite degree of blind, unquestioning loyalty to the president and are willing to accept the job is a small one. It might not even exist…”

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