Trump Says Deputy National Intelligence Director Resigning

August 8, 2019 Updated: August 8, 2019

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump announced on Aug. 8 that the deputy director of national intelligence, Sue Gordon, is resigning her position, leaving a vacuum at the agency that oversees civilian and military intelligence.

The current director of the agency, Dan Coats, announced last month he would step down on Aug. 15. Last week, Trump said he might name Gordon as the acting DNI, which oversees 17 U.S. civilian and military intelligence agencies including the CIA.

Office of the Director of National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats testifies at a hearing in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee in Congress in Washington
Office of the Director of National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats testifies at a hearing in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee in Congress in Washington on Jan. 29, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

“Sue has announced she will be leaving on August 15, which coincides with the retirement of Dan Coats,” Trump said on Twitter.

“A new Acting Director of National Intelligence will be named shortly,” Trump said.

Last week, Trump announced that Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas)—his initial nomination to fill the role of director of national intelligence (DNI)—has decided to stay in Congress instead.

Reresentative John Ratcliffe (R-TX) questions former Special Counsel Robert Mueller during a House Intelligence Committee hearing
Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) questions former Special Counsel Robert Mueller during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on the Office of Special Counsel’s investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election on Capitol Hill in Washington, on July 24, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

It is not clear what prompted the resignation of Gordon, a career intelligence official who had the backing of current and former officials because of her deep experience.

Under the law, Trump must name a new acting director from the senior staff of the agency, known as the ODNI. His choice for the permanent job must be confirmed by the Senate.

Ratcliffe Withdraws Nomination

Trump said the media’s unfair treatment of Ratcliffe led to the withdrawal.

“Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media,” Trump said on Twitter on Aug. 2. “Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people.”

“John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country,” Trump said in a subsequent post.

Trump did not mention which media reports he said had treated Ratcliffe unfairly.

The president reiterated to reporters before boarding Marine One in the late afternoon that Ratcliffe was “treated very unfairly” by the media. He also said that the White House vetting process is “very good” and told the press: “You vet for me.”

John Ratcliffe
John Ratcliffe, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, in Irving, Texas on April 16, 2008. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

In an Aug. 2 statement on his website explaining his withdrawal, Ratcliffe said, “While I am and will remain very grateful to the President for his intention to nominate me as Director of National Intelligence, I am withdrawing from consideration.”

“I was humbled and honored that the President put his trust in me to lead our nation’s intelligence operations and remain convinced that when confirmed, I would have done so with the objectivity, fairness, and integrity that our intelligence agencies need and deserve,” the statement said.

“However, I do not wish for a national security and intelligence debate surrounding my confirmation, however untrue, to become a purely political and partisan issue,” it continued. “The country we all love deserves that it be treated as an American issue.”

Epoch Times reporter Bowen Xiao contributed to this report.

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