Top intel chief Coats denies being author of anonymous NYT op-ed

Top intel chief Coats denies being author of anonymous NYT op-ed
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Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsEx-Trump official says intel community's testimony interfered in US-North Korea talks Is a presidential appointment worth the risk? Intel agencies' threat assessment matters more than tiff with Trump MORE on Thursday categorically denied that he was the source of an anonymous New York Times op-ed that sharply criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE.

“Speculation that The New York Times op-ed was written by me or my Principal Deputy is patently false. We did not,” Coats said in a statement. “From the beginning of our tenure, we have insisted that the entire [intelligence community] remain focused on our mission to provide the President and policymakers with the best intelligence possible.”

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Speculation has run rampant in Washington since Wednesday's publication of an op-ed written by a “senior official in the Trump administration” claiming to be “part of the resistance” within the administration.

Subsequent opinion pieces published by CNN and the Weekly Standard have suggested Coats may have authored the New York Times op-ed. Former Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRoger Stone shares, quickly deletes Instagram photo of federal judge on his case Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Why the national emergency? A second term may be Trump’s only shield from an indictment MORE aide Philippe Reines included Coats's deputy, Sue Gordon, on a list of 18 individuals who he said may have authored the controversial piece.

Trump tapped Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana, in January 2017 to serve as director of national intelligence.

Signs of strains in their relationship emerged this summer following the president’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, when Trump appeared to question the U.S. intelligence community’s findings about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Trump's remarks prompted Coats to issue a rare statement affirming the intelligence community’s assessment as sound and “fact-based.”

Coats later said he was unsure of what was discussed during Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Putin. He also seemed surprised when he first learned that the White House had floated the possibility of a second Trump-Putin meeting in Washington. Coats said at a later point that his “awkward” response was not intended to “be disrespectful or criticize the actions of the president.”

Updated at 10:18 a.m.