By any measure, outgoing acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire did Donald Trump a huge favor. Confronted by a report from the intelligence community inspector general that a whistleblower had raised an urgent concern, according to regulations, Maguire had no choice but to take that information to Congress. He didn’t. Instead, Maguire took the whistleblower report to the White House and the Department of Justice, where he was promptly told that it was of no concern, please stay quiet, that’s all, thank you.
But despite his contribution to burying the issue that led to Trump’s impeachment, Maguire isn’t going to get the chance to remove the “acting” from his title and be nominated for the post of DNI. Instead, he’s getting ready to head out the door, and will be replaced by the worst, least qualified, and most poorly suited candidate imaginable. And it seems that Maguire was on track to be the new DNI until only a week ago, when a single briefing turned the intelligence community upside down.
The whole decision to replace Maguire with the spectacularly awful and in no way qualified Richard Grenell seems to be based on something that’s just as bad as the incoming DNI … but also strangely interesting.
According to The Washington Post, everything pivoted around a classified briefing given to the House Intelligence Committee last Thursday. A briefing on the topic of election security. Specifically, the subject of the meeting was “election security and foreign interference in the run-up to the 2020 election.” The meeting was not exclusive to Democrats. Unlike some recent hearings where Republicans have put on a show of being absent, they were in the room for this closed-door briefing—including Devin Nunes.
At that briefing, intelligence official Shelby Pierson said … something. Something that made Republicans on the committee run back to report to Trump. Whatever that something was, it apparently made Trump hugely angry that this information had reached House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, because, according to the Post, “the information would be helpful to Democrats if it were released publicly, the people familiar with the matter said.”
Trump was so angry that he dragged in Maguire and confronted him over what Pierson had said. After that, Trump dismissed Maguire, replacing him as acting DNI with belligerent neo-fascist Grenell. Even though Trump has been busy cleaning house of officials in the NSA, DOJ, Pentagon, and State Department that don’t have Trump’s logo tattooed on their foreheads, Maguire was definitely on the inside of Trump’s circle … until that briefing.
- An intelligence official gave a briefing on threats to election security and of foreign interference going into the 2020 election.
- Whatever was in that briefing, it frightened Republicans enough that they ran to tell Trump that Democrats had seen it.
- The information is considered so “damaging” if it were to reach the public that Trump replaced the DNI with a far-right troll who has no experience in or connections to intelligence, and whose specialty is attacking opponents while defending neo-fascist leaders around the world.
Let the speculation begin.