Feb 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Intelligence lawyer who blocked Ukraine whistleblower complaint to resign

Adam Schiff. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Jason Klitenic, the top lawyer at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), is resigning from his position, Politico first reported.

Why it matters: Klitenic wrote a letter to the top lawmakers on the Senate and House Intelligence committees in September informing them that — after consulting with the Justice Department — acting DNI Joseph Maguire would not turn over the whistleblower complaint about President Trump's now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

  • House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff's (D-Calif.) effort to obtain the complaint was ultimately successful and led to Trump's impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The big picture: Klitenic's departure comes as Maguire approaches a March 11 deadline to continue in his role, since he can only serve in an acting position for a limited period.

  • It "shrinks the pool of Senate-confirmed officials eligible to succeed Maguire as acting DNI, should his term expire without a permanent replacement," according to Politico.

Go deeper

Pro-Trump warrior takes the helm of U.S. intelligence

Richard Grenell in Berlin. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

By picking Ambassador Richard Grenell to be acting director of national intelligence, President Trump has slotted a pro-Trump warrior into the ultimate apolitical role.

What they're saying: James Clapper, the longest-serving DNI (2010-2017), tells Axios it's "very worrisome installing a partisan with no real intelligence experience in this position."

Trump to install loyalist Ric Grenell as acting intelligence chief

Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

President Trump confirmed in a tweet Wednesday night that he will install Richard Grenell, the current U.S. ambassador to Germany and a staunch defender of the president, as the acting director of national intelligence.

Why it matters: The role, which was originally vacated by Dan Coats in August 2019, is one of grave responsibility. As acting DNI, Grenell will be charged with overseeing and integrating the U.S. intelligence community and will advise the president and the National Security Council on intelligence matters that concern national security.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Retired admiral who oversaw bin Laden raid defends outgoing intelligence chief

Acting DNI Joseph Maguire walks to a congressional briefing at the Capitol on Jan. 8 in D.C. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Retired Navy Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, defended former acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire in a Washington Post op-ed on Friday.

What he's saying: "...in this administration, good men and women don’t last long. Joe was dismissed for doing his job: overseeing the dissemination of intelligence to elected officials who needed that information to do their job," McRaven writes.