The GOP-controlled Senate has confirmed Rep. John Ratcliffe as Director of National Intelligence. Ratcliffe, a Republican, represents Texas’ 4th District that covers Northeast Texas.
The confirmation passed 49-44 along party lines. This is the first time more than a dozen senators voted against a DNI nominee since the position was created.
Ratcliffe was previously nominated in June of 2019 but immediately attracted bipartisan criticism over his lack of qualifications, given that he never worked in the Intelligence Community and has sparse national security credentials. After revelations that he exaggerated his resume, Ratcliffe withdrew himself from consideration.
Yet Trump decided to nominate Ratcliffe again seven months later. Ratcliffe’s credentials have more to do with his staunch support for the president than any actual national security experience; during the impeachment hearings he emerged as one of Trump’s most ardent defenders. Loyalty and partisanship has replaced experience and expertise as the main qualifications for key positions in government under the Trump administration.
The DNI role was created in the aftermath of 9/11 as a way to prevent such intelligence failures in the future. The DNI oversees the 17 agencies that make up the United States Intelligence Community, and is also the president’s principal intelligence adviser. While previous DNIs were professionals who sought to present the truth as objectively as they could, Ratcliffe clearly does not fit that bill. One of America’s most critical national security jobs will now be done by an inexperienced sycophant.
Photo: Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Getty Images