Yesterday, DNI James Clapper announced he would leave office with the same bunch of yahoos who appointed him and not stay for the transition. As it turned out, it didn’t matter. Via the Wall Street Journal:
National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers is the leading candidate to become President-elect Donald Trump’s next Director of National Intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said, a move that would shift the nation’s digital and cyberwarfare leader to the country’s most senior spy post.
This is a superb choice. By all accounts Rogers is an exceptional leader and he understands the intelligence community in a way that no outsider ever could. He came to NSA after the Snowden/cyber-snooping/lying-to-Congress debacle. His expertise is in cyberwarfare which is the critical point of US vulnerability for the foreseeable future. As such he brings expertise and interest in cyberwarfare to the apex of the US intelligence apparatus.
Interestingly, it is Rogers who laid the blame for the hacking of John Podesta’s emails and DNC server and gifting those emails to Wikileaks at the door of the Russians.
Adm. Rogers’s appointment as director of national intelligence could add a complication to the Trump administration, in which the president-elect wants to pursue closer relations to Russia, but where part of the national security establishment is suspicious of Moscow’s intentions.
Earlier this week, Adm. Rogers repeated the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions that Moscow sought to tamper with U.S. elections by hacking into mailboxes of the Democratic National Committee and dumping their contents in the weeks before voting.
“This was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily,” he said in a question-and-answer session at a conference in Washington. “This was a conscious effort by a nation state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”
Either the interest by the Trump administration in getting along with Putin is really overblown or this is one ballsy-I-don’t-give-a-flying-f*** move by the Trump transition team.
One the whole it looks like Rogers will provide a seamless transition for the intelligence community.