New acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has already asked for access to information about Russian interference in the 2020 election from intelligence agencies under his watch, the New York Times reports.
As overseer of the nation’s constituent 17 intelligence agencies, Grenell has oversight authority and the ability to access whatever information he wants. The job in part demands that he then brief the President.
Grenell also installed a deputy, Kash Patel, a former aide to Re. Devin Nunes (R-CA) with a history spreading conspiracy theories favored by the President. Patel wrote a 2018 memo baselessly accusing the Justice Department of abusing its powers to spy on the Trump campaign.
Grenell’s appointment and installation of Patel has stoked fears that he will use the role to run intelligence gathered by the government through a political filter.
Trump allegedly picked Grenell to replace his predecessor Joseph Maguire after a subordinate of Maguire’s told House lawmakers in a briefing that Russia was supporting the President in his 2020 reelection bid.
The New York Times’s report suggests that Grenell has requested the intelligence underpinning the briefing, given to the House Intelligence Committee.
The New York Times also reported that an outgoing career official, replaced by Patel, included a reference in his departing note to the “uncertainties that come with change.”