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Trump's new intel chief makes immediate changes, ousts top official
President Trump's new acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell, has already made major changes at the agency, including ousting the No. 2 official.
Former acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and his deputy, Andrew Hallman, resigned on Friday. According to The New York Times, Grenell told Hallman, who has worked for national intelligence and the CIA for three decades, that his service was no longer needed.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) praised both Maguire and Hallman for their service after their resignations were announced.
"For nearly four decades, Joe Maguire has dedicated his career to securing our country, both in and out of uniform," Burr said. "I've valued Joe's advice and counsel during his tenure as Director of National Intelligence and at the National Counterterrorism Center, and I wish him the best."
Of Hallman, Burr added he appreciated "his extensive knowledge of intelligence matters and his deep respect for the men and women of our [intelligence community]."
The Times also reported that Grenell - who was only officially tapped into the role on Thursday and who says he will not be the nominee for the full-time role - also made a slew of his own new hires on Friday, including an expert on Trump conspiracy theories.
One hire is Kashyap Patel, a senior member of the National Security Council and former top aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the former House Intelligence Committee chairman. Patel was a lead author of a 2018 memo that accused FBI and Justice Department officials under former President Obama of overstepping their surveillance authority ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Patel has reportedly been given permission to "clean house" at the agency.
Grenell's tenure may only last a few months as Trump announced a list of possible nominations Friday for the permanent director of national intelligence.
The shakeup comes as reports say Trump was frustrated with Maguire and alleged his disloyalty after House lawmakers were briefed last week on Russian interference in the 2020 election to help reelect Trump.
Grenell has reportedly asked for the intelligence information behind the briefing given to lawmakers.
Trump has since denied the reports Russia is interfering on his behalf in the 2020 election, accusing Democrats of "trying to start a rumor" as well as a "disinformation campaign."
Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) revealed Friday that he was briefed by U.S. intelligence officials about Russian interference aiming to help him win the Democratic primary.