Berlin, 20 February 2020 (dpa/MIA) – The US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, is to continue in his post after President Donald Trump named him acting director of national intelligence, dpa learned on Thursday from US diplomats in Berlin.
Grenell, described as a fierce Trump loyalist, is expected to return to Berlin in “a couple of months” once a new director of national intelligence is appointed and approved by the US senate, the diplomats said.
On Wednesday, Trump announced Grenell’s new appointment. “I am pleased to announce that our highly respected Ambassador to Germany, [Richard Grenell], will become the Acting Director of National Intelligence, ” the president said in a tweet.
“Rick has represented our Country exceedingly well and I look forward to working with him,” he wrote.
The president has long eyed the intelligence establishment with suspicion and pushed for loyalty among his appointees.
During his tenure as ambassador, Grenell has been consistently critical of German policy on defence expenditure, the Iran nuclear deal, Nord Stream 2 and the possible use of Huawei technology in the new 5G mobile network.
Trump has also named Grenell as his Balkan representative. Whether he would continue in this post was not made clear. During his absence, Grenell’s work in Berlin is being conducted by his deputy, Robin Quinville.
Grenell, who has no previous intelligence experience, will oversee 17 intelligence agencies and act as a middleman between the spy community and the president in the role.
While Trump has not criticized Joseph Maguire, who has been acting director of national intelligence since August 2019, he has chosen a vocal and partisan defender to replace the former navy admiral.
Prior to his diplomatic role under Trump, Grenell was a Republican political operative and worked as a spokesman for the US representative to the UN.
Grenell will also be Trump’s first openly gay cabinet member.