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John Ratcliffe brings the aggressive stance needed as Director of National Intelligence

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John Ratcliffe brings the aggressive stance needed as Director of National Intelligence

Outbound Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is a nice guy. He’s a foreign relations expert who brought a sober perspective to the office. But these are dangerous times. Being sober and reserved is not what we need from a DNI. John Ratcliffe is the aggressive type of man we need for the position going forward.

There’s a difference between being a military hawk and an intelligence hawk. Military hawks tend see the world through a neoconservative perspective that our presence and participation in the heart of world conflicts is necessary. This has proven to be contrary to the President’s stance, who has thus far participated in fewer conflicts than any of his predecessors since President Reagan. But Reagan was able to maintain relatively light military actions in his eight years in office because of two things: Tough talk and strong intelligence. President Trump has the first trait. With Ratcliffe as DNI, it safe to assume he’ll now have the second.

Coats often butted heads with the President, albeit passively, in his 2+ years in the role. It wasn’t just his refusal to speak out against the Mueller investigation; Coats was correct in saying the Department of National Intelligence played no role in that. It was more about his unwillingness to give the President the aggressive intelligence stance necessary to combat the dangers of today’s world. He was not an intelligence hawk. Ratcliffe is.

The President may want to avoid military intervention as much as possible, but intelligence intervention is a whole different ballgame. I’m not talking about the famously horrible CIA regime change schemes of the 60s and 70s. Intelligence intervention in the 21st century is about identifying and often eliminating threats from the shadows. We need a pro-active intelligence stance that will go after potential threats to our national security such as international hackers, weapons development, and yes, election interference. The latter is usually considered a domestic issue, but since many of the strategies used to influence elections and sway American’s thoughts originate overseas, it’s imperative that national law enforcement and the intelligence community work together to put an end to these threats.

As Iran and Russia have demonstrated in recent months, they have active programs designed to divide Americans. They do this through the internet via social media, comments, and fake news. Iran has gone so far as to implement “Endless Mayfly,” a propaganda scheme designed to get international journalists to speak out in major publications against Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. We can assume North Korea, China, and others are participating in similar techniques with the unintentionally unified goal of pitting Americans against themselves.

The risks we face from the shadows are far greater threats than the risks we face from conventional weapons. Terrorism has many ugly faces. It’s good to have someone like John Ratcliffe ready to come in and keep Americans safe.

Image via CNN.

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