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Senate to Confirm Former Colleague Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence

by Countable | 3.20.17

The Senate is expected to confirm one of its colleagues from recent memory, former Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), to replace James Clapper as Director of National Intelligence Wednesday. After serving in Congress in both the Senate and House, Coats is well known and well liked on both sides of the aisle. Given the current investigations of the White House and Trump campaign, senators had many questions for Coats, but the only concern raised during confirmation hearings about his temperament was whether or not he was too nice for the job.

"I’m not sure likeability and affability are the qualities I want in this position," Angus King (I-ME) said. “I want somebody who is crusty and mean and tough because you’re riding herd on 17 agencies that will always want to be going in different directions, and you’re going to be reporting to a president who may or may not want to hear what you have to say.”

Who is Dan Coats?

Dan Coats is a career politician, diplomat and lobbyist. He received a law degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and served in the US Army from 1966 to 1968. He was elected to represent Indiana’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 1989. He then was appointed to fill Dan Quayle’s senate seat when Quayle became President George H. W. Bush’s vice president. He won a special election to finish out Quayle’s term in 1990, and then the general election for a full six-year term in 1992. Coats returned to the Senate in 2010, representing Indiana for another six year term.

Between his stints in the Senate Coats served as the Ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2005. He also worked as a lobbyist for Cooper Industries, a Texas corporation manufacturing electrical products worldwide.

What issues have been raised through his nomination?

In addition to questions about whether or not Coats will be tough enough to be the frequent bearer of bad news to the president, senators also noted that recent changes to the makeup of the principal members of the National Security Council could make it very hard for Coats to do his job. President Trump removed the Director of National Intelligence from the principals committee in February.

Coats testified that the president and other administration officials told him the change to the Committee was a "drafting error" and that he would be “welcome and needed and expected to be a part of the principals committee”. Coats also testified that he will not allow politics to prevent the the proper gathering and dissemination of intelligence:

"Our job is not to influence intelligence in any way for political reasons. Our job is to present the truth to those who make policy decisions about where we go. I will not tolerate anything that falls short of that standard."

Coats has history as a senator of calling for more aggressive policies against Russia, so he’s an interesting choice at a time when the intelligence community has raised red flags about the administration’s involvement with Russia. Coats committed in his confirmation hearing to helping the Senate Intelligence Committee fully investigate any potential connection between the administration and Putin’s regime. "It’s a very key issue that we understand fully what has happened and how it’s happened," he testified.

Coats was also questioned on his position in regards to torture as a means of gleaning intelligence. Though he maintained that he would not pursue any changes to current law, which prohibits techniques such as waterboarding, he did raise questions about how those prohibitions might affect the ability to gain information in a time-sensitive scenario.

What is the Director of National Intelligence?

The Director of National Intelligence is a Presidential Cabinet position created by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The Director is the head of the sixteen member U.S. Intelligence Community, including intelligence agencies like the CIA, military intelligence and intelligence and analysis offices within federal executive departments. The Director oversees the National Intelligence Program and advises the President on national security, upon invitation, to the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council.

-- Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Office of Senator Coats / Public Domain)

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Written by Countable

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(267)
  • Rachel
    03/15/2017
    ···

    Larry, you're wrong (and stupid) if you really believe that. President Obama was classy and acted like an adult. Trump is an orange man-child who wants to screw his own daughter and spends his presidency watching copious amounts of TV and going golfing. Seriously, the dude has spent so much time notching about Obama vacations and then Trump apparently forgot that because he lives more like a retired old fart than the leader of a country. That and he has the emotional maturity of a teenage girl - just look at all his Twitter-tantrums! We're living through the worst presidency in history, right now. I'll have to ask my mother, as I was not around at the time, but I'm pretty sure Nixon wasn't even this bad. And she is very conservative, for the record.

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  • John
    03/15/2017
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    Coats may be a great guy but he has zero intelligence experience. He's a lobbyist and politician but not an intelligence professional so how can he be the Nations DNI?

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  • Kim
    03/15/2017
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    Great. Another racist, anti-choice old man. Just what we need more of. Hell no.

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  • andrewcurry
    03/15/2017
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    I live in Indiana. Have my entire life. Dan Coats will get walked all over. He is not the man for the job.

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  • Peter
    03/15/2017
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    I am a constituent. Dan Coates is too nice. It's a cynical choice designed to allow the President to bully him. Disgusting.

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  • Andre
    03/15/2017
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    Timing is everything... I can't help wondering if the DOJ request to delay providing evidence to the House Intelligence Committee was awaiting this transition. Maybe Spicer was giving us a heads up when he suggested proof of DT's "wiretap" tweet will be forthcoming. I've never been into conspiracy theories, but there is way too much going on behind closed doors wth this administration

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  • JayinNC
    03/15/2017
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    Let me guess Vladamer Putin

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  • Tineke
    03/15/2017
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    Another liar will join the circus. Not my circus, not my monkeys,but surely my oppressors

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  • Jennifer
    03/15/2017
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    Please don't confirm this candidate. There are too many open issues with Trump and national security and intelligence to put his man in charge. This guy is a doormat and will be walked all over by this administration.

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  • Audrey
    03/15/2017
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    Say no to everything until we can be sure Trump has no allegiance to Russian interests.

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  • Christopher
    03/16/2017
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    No vote to confirm because he will not stand up to Bannon & Trump.

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  • James
    03/15/2017
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    No! And remember what you do will forever be written into the history of America

    Like (3)
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  • Benjamin
    03/15/2017
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    Last thing we need is another military guy in the security council or anywhere. Someone needs to be able to derail 45. Vote NO.

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  • Nathan
    03/15/2017
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    There's no point in contacting our reps. They are corrupt and aren't listening

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  • Kerri
    03/15/2017
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    Stop this nomination! The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is at this time refusing to give the Intelligence Committee the software they need to examine the evidence relating to Russian interference in our elections.

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  • Jake
    03/15/2017
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    Vote no! He has no intelligence experience and is, by definition of being a lobbyist, beholden to private interests.

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  • Elizabeth
    03/15/2017
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    Stop this nomination! The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is at this time refusing to give the Intelligence Committee the software they need to examine the evidence relating to Russian interference jn our elections.

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  • Deron
    03/15/2017
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    Drunk driving and murder are against the law. Wait what are we protesting today? Sorry, wrong thread. Burn cars and break windows of businesses. Sorry, I can't help myself. No. No. No. Lol! That's what I see when I read most of these people commenting nonsense and auto-negativity. Vote to confirm.

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  • Chuck
    03/15/2017
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    Intelligence and Trump should never be used in the same sentence. EVER!

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  • Connie
    03/15/2017
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    Not sure why I'm wasting my time contacting you about why this person should not be confirmed. I have given my opinion on several of the poor choices of previous selections. This career politician will obviously not take action against his comrades. Enough said.

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