This is certainly a shock.
BREAKING: AP Source: Trump selects former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats as director of national intelligence.
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 5, 2017
So much so I should actually retract this, but given the standard set by the New York Times and Washington Post lately, retractions are so last century.
For those of you who haven’t followed politics for decades, via Wikipedia:
Coats graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968. Before serving in the U.S. Senate, Coats was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Indiana’s 4th congressional district from 1981 to 1989. He was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Dan Quayle following Quayle’s election as Vice President of the United States in 1988. Coats won the 1990 special election to serve the remainder of Quayle’s unexpired term, as well as the 1992 election for a full six-year term. He did not seek reelection in 1998, and was succeeded by Evan Bayh.
After retiring from the Senate, Coats served as U.S. Ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2005, and then worked as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. He was re-elected to the Senate by a large margin in 2010, succeeding Bayh, who announced his own retirement shortly after Coats declared his candidacy.
On March 24, 2015, Sen. Coats announced he would not run for re-election.
And Coats was an endorser of Donald Trump.
And there is this interesting factoid, Dan Coats has been banned from entering Russia:
Trump DNI pick has an interesting past w/ Russia https://t.co/lqqrW9b4sT
— Ben Pershing (@benpershing) January 5, 2017
On paper, he looks like a good choice from every perspective than demonstrating the ability to manage and motivate a sprawling bureaucracy comprising 16 agencies, 1200+ organizations, and about 850,000 employees in over 10,000 locations. But he is young and vigorous… if we’re using the Bob Dole Scale. In other words he does not look like someone you would bring in if your objective were force greater efficiency from the Intelligence Community.
My guess is this decision dovetails with the story and un-story on a plan to restructure the intelligence community. If you were going to significantly restructure the intelligence community and you knew the career Democrats that comprise the upper levels of the bureaucracies there would oppose you, the best possible combo would be Mike Flynn and Mike Pompeo doing the heavy lifting while genial, respectable, and smooth-operating Dan Coats, who appears to be a Trump loyalist and a close friend of Mike Pence, runs political interference for you on The Hill and with the press.