May 21 2020
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the nomination of Congressman John Ratcliffe to be Director of National Intelligence:
“I voted against the nomination of John Ratcliffe for Director of National Intelligence for three key reasons.
First, I do not believe Congressman Ratcliffe is qualified for the position of Director of National Intelligence (DNI).
By law, a DNI requires ‘extensive national security expertise.’ Past DNIs have been career civil servants or military officers with extensive experience in intelligence and foreign affairs.
By contrast, Congressman Ratcliffe has been a member of Congress for four years and the mayor of a small town in Texas. His sole intelligence community experience is a single year on the House Intelligence Committee.
I am deeply concerned that during his hearings he was unable to demonstrate a sufficient understanding of the most pressing threats and challenges that we face as a nation.
Second, I’m very concerned with Congressman Ratcliffe’s position on torture.
During his nomination hearing, he refused to denounce torture. He refused to admit that certain CIA actions following 9/11 were torture. And he refused to agree that waterboarding is torture, regardless of potential changes to U.S. law.
Torture is morally reprehensible, and the head of our intelligence community must be willing to say so and prevent it from happening again.
Third, the DNI must not be politically motivated. The DNI directs 17 intelligence agencies with a budget of more than $60 billion and is responsible for providing objective intelligence analysis to the president.
Congressman Ratcliffe is a vocal defender of President Trump and served on his impeachment defense team. I am concerned that politics would interfere in his duties if he were confirmed.
We need a confirmed DNI with the right experience and objectivity to do the job.
Congressman Ratcliffe was nominated for this position last year and subsequently withdrew. Nothing has changed since then to qualify him for this role.”