President Donald Trump announced Thursday night that Joseph Maguire, the leader of the National Counterterrorism Center, is his new pick to be the acting director of national intelligence.
"I am pleased to inform you that the Honorable Joseph Maguire, current Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will be named Acting Director of National Intelligence, effective August 15th," Trump tweeted.
The announcement came not long after Trump tweeted that Sue Gordon, the country's number two intelligence official and an intelligence veteran of more than 30 years, would resign. White House officials had been signaling such a move for days, saying Trump would prefer to have a political loyalist in the role.
Under normal protocol, Gordon would have become acting director after outgoing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats resigned. But administration officials told CNN that the White House was reviewing whether it could legally choose an acting director outside the line of succession.
And two sources told CNN that Gordon was interviewed by some in the administration as the type of political loyalist Trump wanted in the role. Maguire will take over for Coats, whose last day with the administration is on August 15.
Maguire's first move will be to fire or otherwise neutralize Shelby Pierson as the DNI's election protection czar, the move by Coats three weeks ago was the impetus for his summary termination. Trump can't have anyone looking into nationwide patterns of election security and possible interference, at least not until the 2020 election is over.
Both Coats and Gordon were fired because the were insufficiently loyal to to Trump. Keep that in mind as Maguire moves forward as semi-permanent acting DNI. No Senate confirmation needed, he was already confirmed 95-1 in December, so he can basically keep the job as long as Trump needs him there.
Don't be surprised if Pierson is gone by this time next week.