Dead Drop: August 16

DNI SWEEPSTAKES: If everything goes as planned (which it almost never does these days) as you read this, the nation will have a new acting Director of National Intelligence, retired Vice Admiral Joseph Maguire, after President Trump showed DNI Dan Coats and his Principal Deputy, Sue Gordon the door. Late last week, the president told reporters that he was in no hurry to nominate a permanent DNI, which would require Senate confirmation. But that hasn’t stopped people from speculating.

THE CANDIDATES: THE HUMAN SIEVE: Among the names frequently mentioned as a candidate for DNI is Peter Hoekstra, currently the U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands and former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI.) Hoekstra had a rough introduction to Amsterdam.  Dutch media asked him about reports that he said there was “chaos in the Netherlands.  There are cars being burned. There are politicians being burned.” The Ambassador denied having said such a thing and called the allegation “fake news.” Then they played him the tape.  He subsequently apologized and said he meant to say “France,” rather than the Netherlands had been serving its politicians en flambé. Hoekstra’s tenure on the HPSCI was also not without controversy.  MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (definitely not a fan of this administration) told her viewers last week that Hoekstra was a “human sieve” who leaked a lot when in Congress. In 2009, Hoekstra was among members of Congress traveling to Iraq on what was supposed to be a secret trip due to safety concerns.  But Hoekstra live tweeted the trip. Two years before that, he wrote an essay in the New York Post complaining about leaks.  But within his anti-leak OPED, he reportedly inadvertently included classified information about the intelligence budget. And then in 2006, he is said to have convinced the Bush administration to post on the internet a cache of documents seized in Iraq.  Among them, unfortunately, was a document which included instructions, in Arabic, for making an atomic bomb.

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