Grenell pushes back on Schiff’s attempts to control national intelligence

(USA Features) Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell is pushing back against what he sees as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s attempts to control who is selected to leadership positions within the intelligence community.

In a letter to Schiff, Grenell expressed surprise that the House chairman did not embrace the selection of two women to head a counter-terrorism unit while rejecting the California Democrat’s claim that Congress should control appointments.

On April 7, Schiff wrote to Grenell and questioned his legal authority, as an interim director, to make appointments and change staffing, the Washington Times reported.

In his April 20 reply, Grenell referred to Schiff’s demands as “suggestions.”

“I must disagree with your proposals to divest the DNI of managerial competence and personnel decision-making authority, and to replace your committee’s mandate for Intelligence Community (IC) oversight with a mandate for IC administration,” Grenell wrote, the Times reported.

He also pushed back against Schiff’s claim that a secret March briefing on Russia was ‘cooked.’

I must also speak on behalf of the career intelligence officers at ODNI, whom your letter accuses of politicizing the briefing to Members of Congress of March 10th,” Grenell said, according to the Times.

“As the Acting DNI, I am compelled to defend these career officers from unsubstantiated indictments of their motivations and judgment. Many are offended by the accusations that they did not share unvarnished assessments,” the letter continued.

“If you share with me the reports you believe provide evidence for these claims, I can promise you that I will review them with the seriousness such accusations demand.”

Grenell also took issue with Schiff’s criticism of the acting ODNI’s personnel changes at the counterintelligence unit.

“I must begin by voicing my surprise that your four-page letter said nothing about the historic appointment of the first female Director of the National Counterterrorism Center,” Grenell wrote. “Instead, you expressed concerns regarding the retirement of the former male Director.

“You erroneously cast judgment on the reason of his departure while ignoring the accomplishments of NCTC’s new leadership, two highly qualified female officers serving as the Acting Director and Acting Deputy Director. Diversity of the IC workforce should always be celebrated, and I am proud that we increased diversity within the ODNI’s senior ranks, to include more women and members of the LGBT community,” he wrote.

Grenell is currently eliminating posts at headquarters so he can create new ones in the field and abroad.

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