The Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed of Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to be the nation’s top intelligence official on Tuesday. Today, the Senate Intelligence Panel endorsed Ratcliffe as director of National Intelligence.
Senator Marco Rubio, (R-Fla.) and the acting chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said that he was “confident” that Mr. Ratcliffe would lead the agencies “with integrity” and stressed the importance of having a permanent director approved by the Senate in office.
The panel approved Ratcliffe in a straight party-line vote, 8 to 7, reported Sen. Mark Warner (R-VA) and three-time Wash100 Award receipient. Since the former director, Dan Coats stepped down, Ratcliffe would be the first permanent director since Aug. 2019. The nomination must still be confirmed by the Senate.
Ratcliffe would replace acting director, Richard Grenell, who, in his time with National Intelligence, made efforts to declassify sensitive records and reorganize the office. He noted during his confirmation that he would act in a nonpartisan manner in his new appointment, stating that he would “deliver the unvarnished truth” to the president and Congress, unshaded by political motives.
Senator Charles Grassley, (R-Iowa), urged Ratcliffe to follow Grenell’s lead when he assumed office. “Acting Director Grenell is a breath of fresh air,” Grassley said. “Mr. Ratcliffe has some big shoes to fill, that’s for sure.”
In the new role, Ratcliffe will face the challenge to collect intelligence on China’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak that began within the country’s borders and has impacted the global health and economy. The Trump administration has urged intelligence agencies to investigate the origin of the virus, but they have yet to reach any definitive conclusions.
“In a time when the threats to our nation are many and varied, it is critical to have a Senate-confirmed D.N.I. ensuring the wide array of intelligence agencies are sharing information across lines, coordinating capabilities, and are all working in the furtherance of the same strategic aim of the 21st century,” Rubio added.