Acting director of national intelligence begins hiring freeze: reports

Acting director of national intelligence begins hiring freeze: reports
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Richard Grenell, the recently-appointed acting director of national intelligence (DNI), has initiated a temporary hiring freeze in the agency, several media outlets reported Thursday.

"Since assuming his new role on Feb. 20, Acting DNI Grenell and the [Office of the Director of National Intelligence] ODNI leadership team have embarked on a careful review of these studies completed prior to his arrival, with an eye to implementing key recommendations," DNI spokeswoman Amanda Schoch told CNN and the New York Times.

"While the review is underway, Ambassador Grenell has asked for a temporary, short-term pause in external hiring. A similar hiring pause was implemented in 2018 as part of ODNI's first Transformation effort," she continued.

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The spokeswoman clarified that the initiative is not an effort to “purge” the agency, as some lawmakers have suggested.

The move comes as the Trump administration has ousted intelligence officials who testified during the House impeachment hearings and as President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE appointed Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeFlynn urged Russian diplomat to have 'reciprocal' response to Obama sanctions, new transcripts show READ: Newly declassified transcripts of Flynn calls with Russia ambassador Intel chief Ratcliffe declassifies transcripts of Flynn calls MORE (R-Texas) to the DNI post on a permanent basis, though he still awaits Senate confirmation.

Scotch said that several studies the agency has done have shown “opportunities to refocus or transfer activities at ODNI to eliminate duplication of work with other agencies."

"Acting DNI Grenell has emphasized with ODNI leadership this review is not an effort to purge, as some have erroneously suggested. The goal is to make sure scarce Intelligence Community resources are used in the best way possible," Schoch added, noting that further details will be provided after the specifics of the review are finalized.

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted the New York Times story Thursday, praising Grenell for the move. 

“4 internal studies in the past 2 years have said the DNI needs to be reformed. No one has done it. @RichardGrenell is now starting to do it,” he tweeted. 

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The last hiring freeze that occurred at ODNI was in 2018, under Trump’s first DNI appointee, Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsGerman lawmaker, US ambassador to Germany trade jabs Intelligence agencies have hired outside consultants to improve communication with Trump: report Senate confirms Ratcliffe to be Trump's spy chief MORE

Schoch did not immediately respond to an inquiry from The Hill.