John Ratcliffe Earns High Praise as Trump Intelligence Pick Ahead of Senate Confirmation

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) questions former Special Counsel Robert Mueller as he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee about his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington on July 24, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rep. John Ratcliffe’s (R-TX) nomination to become the next Director of National Intelligence (DNI) earned high praise due to his experience in national security and intelligence and his commitment to public service.

The Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Ratcliffe, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, to become the next director of national intelligence on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump announced his pick for DNI in February, describing him as an “outstanding man of great talent!”

“I am pleased to announce the nomination of @RepRatcliffe (Congressman John Ratcliffe) to be Director of National Intelligence (DNI),” Trump wrote in February. “Would have completed process earlier, but John wanted to wait until after IG Report was finished.”

Ratcliffe’s confirmation to the position could allow the House Intelligence Committee member to aid the president’s national security strategy and help the administration on key national security issues.

A source familiar with Ratcliffe’s thinking said that Ratcliffe’s first priority would be to ensure that politics will have no role in the intelligence community and will deliver unvarnished intelligence reports to the president. Further, Ratcliffe believes that any DNI must assess the current threat landscape and make decisions on what to prioritize.

Also, the source said that Ratcliffe would look at the impact of the coronavirus outbreak’s geopolitical, economic, political, and structural effects, and make election security an immediate priority. Cybersecurity, 5G and telecommunication security, terrorism, and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing, would also be emphasized.

Ratcliffe, along with then-Rep. and now White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, led a House task force in 2018, which investigated FBI agent Peter Strzok’s anti-Trump bias. The bias reportedly tainted the agency’s probe into alleged collusion between the 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government.

Ratcliffe — who also served on the Homeland Security, Judiciary, and Ethics Committees — became a leading critic of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian collusion.

During his first two terms in office, Ratcliffe chaired the House Homeland Security Committee’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee, wherein he shepherded the passage of many cybersecurity bills into law during the Barack Obama and Trump administrations. He also chaired roughly 30 hearings on emergency cybersecurity threats and other national security-related issues.

Prior to his time in Congress, Ratcliffe served as the First Assistant U.S. Attorney and as the Chief of Anti-Terrorism and National Security for the Eastern District of Texas from 2005 to 2007. He then became the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas from 2007 to 2008, when he managed a combined staff of more than 100 federal employees, including roughly 50 federal prosecutors. He also managed a docket of 34 national security and terrorism-related matters and coordinated the district’s Joint Terrorism Task Force responsibilities.

Ratcliffe’s nomination gained steam last Friday when Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that she had met with Ratcliffe and “concluded that he does have the experience to meet the statutory standard to fill the position.”

Collins added that Ratcliffe’s “knowledge of cybersecurity is particularly important given the challenges our country faces.”

Former Trump administration officials have lauded Ratcliffe’s experience, temperament, and dedication to public service, making him a perfect fit for the position.

“Congressman Ratcliffe has the experience to do this job at the highest level, and most importantly his judgment has proven to be impeccable,” Donald Trump Jr., President Trump’s eldest son, told Breitbart News. “His many years of public service show that he is a patriot who will always put his country first and stand tall for the American people. This is a no-brainer confirmation for the Senate.”
Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist and former Trump White House official, told Breitbart News, “Congressman Ratcliffe has proven through his many years of public service that he has the right judgment, temperament, and experience to make an excellent head of ODNI. He should be confirmed by the Senate as swiftly as possible.”
Ratcliffe said in February that his decades of experience and his different perspective would make him a strong candidate for the position. He told CBS:
I haven’t served in an intelligence agency. I think that 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 that some of our most experienced intelligence officials have gotten it wrong with respect to important issues.

Further, Ratcliffe has been one of the leading voices in demanding reform and accountability for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses at the FBI and the Department of Justice. He continued, “I reconsidered because the president asked me, and I think when the president asks you to do something for your country, you look at that. I think I’ll have the support of all Republicans at the end of the day. I’m going to work hard to convince at least some of my Democratic colleagues on the other side of the aisle.”

As the Senate considers Ratcliffe’s qualifications on Tuesday, many former White House officials believe that he is the “right man” to lead the intelligence community.

“Our nation deserves a man of John Ratcliffe’s integrity, experience, and professionalism to lead our intelligence community during these precarious times. President Trump picked the exact right man for the exact right moment,” Tony Sayegh, a senior Trump administration official who served in both the Treasury Department and the White House, told Breitbart News.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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