President Donald Trump’s pick for director of national intelligence may be lacking a little-noticed but crucial qualification for the job: intelligence experience.
Reports suggest that Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) may have overstated elements of his work as a national security prosecutor in Texas’ Eastern District.
The congressman’s bio states that he worked as head of the Eastern District of Texas’s anti-terrorism and national security unit from 2004 to 2007, before being named acting U.S. attorney for the same district until 2008.
But NBC was unable to find any public record of Ratcliffe prosecuting any terrorism cases, despite a claim on his website that he “put terrorists in prison.”
One national security case in which Ratcliffe has claimed involvement was a terrorism financing case called U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation. The Texas congressman has boasted of his involvement in the case, saying in a 2015 press release that he “convicted individuals who were funneling money to Hamas behind the front of a charitable organization.”
But ABC was unable to find court records supporting Ratcliffe’s involvement in the case as a prosecutor. The news organization cited former officials who worked on the case as saying they had no recollection of Ratcliffe working on the matter.
The director of national intelligence oversees the intelligence community and curates information to the president by assembling his daily briefing.
If confirmed by the Senate, Ratcliffe may also play a role in Attorney General Bill Barr’s ongoing review of classified information related to the start of the Mueller investigation. President Trump delegated declassification authority to Barr in May.
Ratcliffe has led the rhetorical charge to “investigate the investigators,” a key Republican strategy to portray the special counsel probe as politically compromised.