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Trump Confirms: Former Sen. Coats To Be Intelligence Director

President-elect Donald Trump announced Saturday his choice of former Indiana Senator Dan Coats as the Director of National Intelligence. The Associated Press reported the choice earlier this week based on an anonymous source.

"Dan has clearly demonstrated the deep subject matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community," Trump said in a statement. "If confirmed as Director of National Intelligence, he will provide unwavering leadership that the entire intelligence community can respect, and will spearhead my administration's ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm."

"There is no higher priority than keeping American safe, and I will utilize every tool at my disposal to make that happen."


Coats is a conservative who spent 16 years in the Senate. He spent nearly two decades in Congress from 1981 to 1999, serving in both the House and Senate, before retiring to fulfill a self-imposed term limits promise.

He served as U.S. ambassador to Germany under President George W. Bush before he successfully ran for Evan Bayh's vacated Senate seat in 2010. Coats announced his retirement last year and did not seek re-election.

"A robust and responsible intelligence infrastructure is essential to our homeland security, and if confirmed I will ensure our national security decision-makers have every piece of information they need to protect the American people from the threats facing our nation," Coats said in a statement. "There is no higher priority than keeping America safe, and I will utilize every tool at my disposal to make that happen."

As NPR reports, Coats has been an outspoken critic of Russia:

As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Coats wrote President Obama after Russia annexed Crimea in 2013, urging Obama to impose sanctions against a Russian weapons exporter.

The senators argued the sanctions "would send a powerful message to Putin," whose foreign policy, they went on, has become "increasingly belligerent."

Coats also sponsored an amendment to a Ukrainian aid bill in the Senate that would prohibit the U.S. government from doing any business with the exporter, a company called Rosoboronexport.

Such actions, Coats said, "would require our foreign partners to make a choice between America and Putin."

In 2014, Coats also called on organizers of soccer's World Cup to move the tournament, scheduled for Russia in 2018, somewhere else.

All of which won Coats the honor of being banned from Russia, along with five other lawmakers, including Armed Services Chairman and 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, and three Obama administration staff members.



Barbara Brosher, Annie Ropeik and Drew Daudelin contributed to this report.

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