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Sen. Roy Blunt backs Richard Grenell for acting intelligence chief

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Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and GOP leadership, offered his support Thursday for Richard Grenell to be acting director of national intelligence.

Blunt’s comments are the first of any Republican on the Intelligence panel after President Donald Trump announced Wednesday evening he would tap Grenell, a fierce ally and the current ambassador to Germany, for the post.

“If you’re ambassador for some time in a country like Germany, you have a lot of exposure to intel activities and daily briefings and other things and he’s a very smart, capable guy,” Blunt said in a brief interview.

Blunt appeared to deflect criticism that Grenell has never served in a U.S. intelligence agency by arguing that Joseph Maguire — the current acting director of national intelligence — took the job with similar levels of expertise. Maguire was confirmed as director of the National Counterterrorism Center in December 2018 and made acting intelligence chief in August 2019 after Dan Coats left the administration.

“He had just barely taken the other job and he had no more specific intel background than Grenell does,” Blunt said.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has not commented on Grenell.

By naming another acting director, Trump will........

© Politico