Last week’s appointment of U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to the post of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) received criticism from both sides of the political divide, mainly for his lack of experience and history of outspoken and partisan political statements. Much more overlooked, however, are Grenell’s ties to the powerful American pro-Israel lobby and Israeli politicians alike, including organizations and individuals with a history of espionage and blackmail against the United States.
Grenell is merely the latest example in a series of appointments over the past few years that have seen individuals with deep ties to the pro-Israel lobby rise to top positions in the U.S. intelligence community, including the NSA’s current director of Cybersecurity Anne Neuberger as well as the leaders of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB).
With many of these posts directly involved in overseeing the security of the upcoming 2020 election, ostensibly to combat “foreign interference,” these connections are even more significant. Some of the Israel lobby groups in question have not only engaged in illegal espionage against the U.S. government, but are also openly meddling in the current Democratic party primary.
Beyond the potential effects on the upcoming election, these troubling ties between top U.S. intelligence officials and a foreign government do not bode well for American national security and will only advance the long-standing practice of American neoconservatives conflating Israeli national security interests with those of the United States.
Grenell’s many conflicts of interest
Richard Grenell’s appointment last Wednesday to the post of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) raised a number of eyebrows on the Beltway and drew sharp condemnation from former and current intelligence officials alike. Most of the concern was due to the fact that Grenell, who has been serving as the U.S. ambassador to Germany, has virtually no intelligence experience or background. Yet, he will now oversee and coordinate all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and NSA, and will be responsible for briefing President Trump on intelligence matters of both domestic and international concern.
Grenell’s new position is not required to be confirmed by the Senate unless Trump decides to nominate him as a permanent candidate at the end of the temporary three-month period during which he can serve as acting DNI. There has not been a permanent DNI since Dan Coats resigned last August.