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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump is expected to install Richard Grenell, his current Ambassador to Germany, as his next Acting Director of National Intelligence, according to The New York Times. Grenell is known as a bombastic Trump loyalist who has not been well received in Berlin.

Some eyebrows are being raised, not due to Grenell’s harsh attitudes but his disturbing lack of qualifications for the job of Director of National Intelligence, also known as the DNI.

The DNI is a Cabinet-level official who sits at the very top of the entire Intelligence Community, serving as the head of the 17 federal agencies that comprise it. They also serve as the President’s chief advisor on national security, and produce the top-secret President’s Daily Brief (PDB).

Federal law states quite clearly, “Any individual nominated for appointment as Director of National Intelligence shall have extensive national security expertise.”

Ambassador to Germany does not qualify. Grenell previously has served as the spokesperson for the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He has run a public affairs consultancy, has been a Fox News contributor, and for a few days was presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s national security spokesperson, but was forced to step down after conservatives blasted the former governor over Grenell’s sexual orientation.

In November the German magazine Der Spiegel ran a damning profile of Grenell titled, “Trump’s Ambassador Finds Few Friends in Germany.” (Ironically, one of the reasons Trump gave for firing his venerated Ambassador to Ukraine was that she was not well-liked in the country, which was false.)

“Since arriving in Berlin as U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell has flouted diplomatic conventions and attempted to interfere in domestic politics. He has since become politically isolated in the German capital,” Der Spiegel reported.

In the extremely “unflattering” article, Grenell is compared to “a right-wing extremist colonial officer.”

“The powerful avoid him. Doors have been shut. Few politicians to the left of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AFD) and the populist-conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), want to be seen with him.”

It gets worse.

Der Spiegel reporters interviewed 30 sources before publishing their report.

“Almost all of these sources paint an unflattering portrait of the ambassador, one remarkably similar to Donald Trump, the man who sent him to Berlin. A majority of them describe Grenell as a vain, narcissistic person who dishes out aggressively, but can barely handle criticism. His brash demeanor, some claim, hides a deep insecurity, and they say he thirsts for the approval of others.”

All that aside, again, Grenell is not qualified, neither by law nor by common sense.

Some experts agree:

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)


Twitter has restricted access to a tweet posted Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz, in which the Florida Republican called for what commenters described as extrajudicial killings of protesters.

"Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" Gaetz tweeted, joining Donald Trump and other Republicans in blaming anti-fascists for the violence across the country at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes, even as Floyd said he could not breathe. Autopsies have found that Floyd died of asphyxia.While Gaetz's tweet is still up, users have to click on it to see its contents. It's covered by a box that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Democratic lawmakers called out Gaetz in response to the tweet and urged Twitter to remove it from the social media platform.

"Take the Gaetz tweet down right now @twitter. RIGHT NOW," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted Monday night. "The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

After Twitter took action against his tweet, Gaetz said, "Their warning is my badge of honor."

"Antifa is a terrorist organization, encouraging riots that hurt Americans. Our government should hunt them down. Twitter should stop enabling them. I'll keep saying it," Gaetz said in a tweet that he pinned to the top of his profile page.

Donald Trump has demanded that the antifa movement be labeled a domestic terrorist organization.

However, as factcheck.org noted, "There is no such official federal designation for domestic terrorism organizations." Even if such a designation existed, the site said, it would be "difficult or questionable" to categorize antifa in that manner because it is not an organized group with a hierarchy and leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.