President elect-Donald Trump announced Saturday that he was nominating former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats as director of national intelligence.
Mr. Trump touted the experience and judgement of Mr. Coats, a veteran of the Senate’s Intelligence and Armed Services committees, as his choice to head the intelligence community and serve as his top advisor on intelligence matters.
The announcement came as Mr. Trump broke with senior U.S. intelligence officials — including current Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — over the role of Russia in computer hacking during the presidential race and whether the effort was aimed at hurting Hillary Clinton and helping his campaign.
“I’m very confident that Senator Dan Coats is the right choice to serve as Director of National Intelligence,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “Dan has clearly demonstrated the deep subject matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community. 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.”
Mr. Coats, who as served in the House, Senate and as U.S. ambassador to Germany, said that it was an honor to be nominated for the job.
“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,” he said. “There is no higher priority than keeping America safe, and I will utilize every tool at my disposal to make that happen.”