Putting Focus on the Real Russian Threat

By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen

Prior to his appointment as a senior fellow at the Belfer Center, Mr. Rolf Mowatt-Larssen served over three years as the Director of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to this, he served for 23 years as a CIA intelligence officer in various domestic and international posts, to include Chief of the Europe Division in the Directorate of Operations, Chief of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Department, Counterterrorist Center, and Deputy Associate Director of Central Intelligence for Military Support. Prior to his career in intelligence, Mr. Mowatt-Larssen served as an officer in the U.S. Army. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. He is married to Roswitha and has three children. He is a recipient of the CIA Director's Award, the George W. Bush Award for Excellence in Counterterrorism, the Secretary of Energy's Exceptional Service Medal, the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, Secretary of Defense Civilian Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Intelligence Superior Performance Medal, among others.  He is the author of State of Mind: Faith and the CIA (2020).

When the President said this week that U.S. intelligence agencies have ‘run amok’, he was offering the statement in part to explain why he was nominating John Ratcliffe as the next Director of National Intelligence.  The President told reporters “I think we need somebody like that in there.  We need somebody strong that can rein it in because as I think you’ve all learned the intelligence agencies have run amok.”

Ratcliffe is already facing scrutiny from both political major parties over his lack of intelligence experience and that lack of experience, even more than the President’s comments about the IC, is troublesome to national security experts, particularly those who have focused on Russia and understand the threat to U.S. national security.

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