President-elect Donald Trump formally announced Saturday that he has chosen former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats as his director of national intelligence.
“Dan has clearly demonstrated the deep subject matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community,” Trump said in a statement. “If confirmed as Director of National Intelligence, he will provide unwavering leadership that the entire intelligence community can respect, and will spearhead my administration’s ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm.”
A Trump transition source had confirmed on Thursday that Coats was the choice for the job.
The announcement came after days of pokes by Trump at the credibility of intelligence agencies’ conclusions that Russian-backed hackers had interfered in the 2016 presidential election, a campaign in which they said he eventually became the Kremlin’s preferred candidate. In a Senate hearing Thursday, current Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he had “received many expressions of concern from foreign counterparts about … what has been interpreted as disparagement of the intelligence community.”
Coats — who served on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees while in the Senate — would enter the job at the center of that spat.
Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump and his top advisers are working on a plan to scale down the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Sean Spicer, the incoming White House press secretary, has called the reports “false.”