John Ratcliffe confirmed as Trump’s new intel chief despite being ‘manifestly unqualified’ and having no real intel expertise: national security journalist
The GOP-controlled U.S. Senate, on May 21, confirmed former Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe as the United States’ new director of national intelligence — and journalist Garrett M. Graff, known for his extensive reporting on intel and security matters, slams Ratcliffe as a “Trump loyalist” who is “manifestly unqualified” for the position.
Graff, author of the 2001 book “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11,” explains why he finds Ratcliffe’s confirmation so troubling in an article published by Wired on May 26. According to Graff, the 54-year-old Ratcliffe was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate not because of his intel expertise, but because he is a strident partisan.
“Perhaps the clearest sign that three-term Texas Congressman Ratcliffe is manifestly unqualified to serve as the nation’s director of national intelligence isn’t the fact that he embellished his resumé, nor that only a minority of the U.S. Senate would vote to confirm him — nor that the first time he was floated for the post last summer, he was so soundly rejected that he withdrew almost immediately,” Graff warns. “Instead, it’s that years before…. the 108th Congress tried to stop a man like Ratcliffe from assuming that very role in the first place.”
Graff explains that in 2004, the 108th Congress created the national intelligence director position when it passed 50 U.S. Code § 3023 — which states that “any individual nominated for appointment as director of national intelligence shall have extensive national security expertise.” And Ratcliffe, Graff stresses, “definitely doesn’t.”
Graff makes his point by describing the qualifications of the five men who served as national intelligence directors before Ratcliffe, all of whom had extensive security and intel backgrounds — whereas Ratcliffe’s only “qualification” was being a “Trump loyalist.”
“Ratcliffe, the Trump loyalist and congressman from Texas’ 4th (Congressional) District, is best known for his fiery hearings performances cross-examining witnesses like Special Counsel Robert Mueller” and “the impeachment proceedings,” Graff writes.
Ratcliffe, Graff notes, spent many years working as a personal injury and malpractice attorney, but that hardly makes him an intel or national security expert.
“John Ratcliffe has never served in the military, never served overseas in a government post, and never worked in a White House or elsewhere in Washington as part of the intelligence community or the Justice Department,” Graff asserts. “His managerial experience tops out at less than a year he spent as the interim U.S. attorney in North Texas during the final months of the George W. Bush Administration…. In short, John Ratcliffe seems like precisely the type of nominee that Congress tried to prohibit from becoming DNI in 2004.”