Last week, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) was nominated as the next Director of National Intelligence by President Trump. The subsequent firestorm of protests from the Democrat-media complex is an indication that this was an outstanding selection by the President. In addition to having served as a congressman from Texas (during which time he distinguished himself in cross-examining the Democrats’ witnesses during the House impeachment hearings), he is a former federal prosecutor who spent five years at the Dept of Justice involved in matters related to national security and count-terrorism.
He gave an interview to Catherine Herridge, senior investigative correspondent at CBS that must have some members of the coup shaking in their boots. The interview can be watched in this thread, but I have provided the text afterward to make it easier to absorb and contemplate:
EXCLUSIVE: John Ratcliffe, President Trump’s pick as top U.S. spy chief, pushes back against critics saying he’s not qualified for the role. Watch more from his interview with @cbs_herridge pic.twitter.com/AIEA8rk4Nu
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 29, 2020
Herridge: The threats to national security have never been greater, and now we have the coronavirus. Are you qualified to lead the intelligence agencies?
Ratcliffe: Absolutely. I’ve been handling national security issues as far back as 2005.
Herridge: But critics say you’ve never held a job in the intelligence community.
Ratcliffe: I haven’t served in an intelligence agency. I think bringing a different kind of experience today is really going to be vitally important. You know, all of the experience in the world isn’t helpful without judgment, and I think what we’ve seen is some of our most experienced intelligence officials have gotten it wrong with respect to important issues.
Herridge: If you are confirmed as the leader of the intelligence community, how will your team tackle the coronavirus?
Ratcliffe: Right now, what’s most important that the DNI and our intelligence community do is respond to this outbreak. Look, we can’t really count on countries like China and North Korea giving us accurate information with respect to, for instance, the number of cases and the lethality of those cases, so this is where our intelligence community and our intelligence collection disciplines – things like human intelligence and signals intelligence and other collection disciplines – are important to get the actual numbers and the actual data that we can get to our infectious disease experts for predictive analysis.
Herridge: Can you get through the confirmation process?
Ratcliffe: I think that I’ll have the support of all Republicans at the end of the day. But I also think it’s important that it be bipartisan, so I’m going to word hard – and I know it’ll be a challenge – but I’m going to work hard to convince at least some of my Democrat colleagues on the other side of the aisle that it’s in the nation’s best interest to confirm me as Director of National Intelligence.
Herridge: You were first nominated to be head of the US intelligence community last summer, but it was withdrawn after there were some allegations that you padded your resume. What’s changed?
Ratcliffe: Well, I withdrew from consideration, and I reconsidered because the President asked me, and I think when the President asks you to do something for the good of the country, you look at that. So, with all due respect, just because someone in your business accuses you and writes and says something doesn’t make it true.
Herridge: If you are confirmed, what is your mandate?
Ratcliffe: My priorities, No. 1, within any organization, to improve its efficiency and effectiveness to innovate to the current national security threats facing us. So like in my case, one of the things I have talked about a lot is cyber security. The United States will only be the world’s superpower so long as we remain the world’s cyber superpower. Cyber security is national security. I’ve legislated heavily in this area, and it’s going to continue to be a focus for me. But again, I think one of the overriding priorities for me is to ensure that our intelligence community becomes entirely apolitical and get past the finger-pointing on both sides of who’s to blame with respect to that, and I’m looking forward to being the DNI where people can say, you know what? He took politics out of it completely.
Herridge: I want you to respond to critics who say President Trump puts loyalty ahead of experience.
Ratcliffe: Well, in my case, he is certainly putting experience out front. As I have talked about, my experience as a US attorney on national security issues, as a legislator almost exclusively in these areas, that was important to him. Loyalty? What we’ve talked about is my loyalty to the Constitution and to the rule of law, and standing up for people being treated fairly under that respect. My selection and nomination has to do with loyalty to rule of law, to my experience, to my judgment, and being correct on some of the most important intelligence issues facing our country right now.
Now isn’t that something! The key takeaways:
- Ratcliffe stated that judgment by senior intel officials is important, and some have “gotten it wrong” recently. That’s a shot across the bow at Clapper, Comey and Brennan, as well as possibly a portent of things to come.
- Ratcliffe understands the importance of intelligence collection activities, especially as relates to collecting on countries that are not forthcoming and truthful with key information that should be shared with the rest of the world, e.g., the coronavirus.
- Ratcliffe will continue to focus on cybersecurity as DNI – an area in which he has considerable experience.
- Ratcliffe emphasized returning the IC to an apolitical nature, as well as supporting the rule of law and fair treatment under the law. That’s surely a signal that he is going to root out the Obama partisans and probably refer some of them to the Dept of Justice so that they can get some direct experience with the “rule of law and fair treatment under the law.” [I can’t wait.]
Methinks the coup participants are more than an little nervous after that interview! Additional elaboration on the selection of Ratcliffe, as well as the temporary appointment of Amb Ric Grenell as acting DNI in the meantime and what the selections mean, is contained in this article. It’s all good.