May 21, 2020

Cardin Statement on Ratcliffe Confirmation

“The men and women of our intelligence community deserve so much better in a leader.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement on the confirmation of Rep. John Ratcliffe.

“I strongly opposed the nomination of Rep. John Ratcliffe to serve as Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and voted against his confirmation.  The Cabinet-level DNI position was created by Congress after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to provide unified oversight and guidance of our 17 different intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, in my home state of Maryland. The DNI oversees numerous threats to the United States, its people, property, interests, and allies, including cyber attacks, weapons proliferation, espionage, and terrorism.  Intelligence professionals work tirelessly around-the-clock and many put their lives on the line to collect various types of intelligence, including signals, imagery, human, open-source, and geospatial intelligence.

“The DNI needs to be an experienced and independent official that will not be afraid to tell President Trump the truth. Unfortunately, Rep. Ratcliffe has struggled even to confirm that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, which was the unanimous opinion of the Intelligence Community he is now poised to lead. Instead, Rep. Ratcliffe is known for being a vociferous and highly partisan defender of President Trump, even serving as a member of the President’s impeachment trial team in the Senate.  He has never led a large organization and had to withdraw his first nomination to this position.

“Today the Senate confirmed Rep. Ratcliffe on a party-line vote, unlike the vote in 85-12 vote in 2017 to confirm Dan Coats as the last Senate-confirmed DNI.  The men and women of our intelligence community deserve so much better in a leader. This is a sad day for the constitutional role of the Senate to advise and consent on nominations.”

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