President Donald Trump's ouster of acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and his deputy, Andrew Hallman, is a "virtual decapitation of the intelligence community," former CIA Director John Brennan said Friday.
"Who is going in there? Someone who has no experience, no credentials as far as the intelligence community is concerned, Richard Grenell," Brennan told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" while commenting on the personnel shakeups. "Intelligence professionals can only see this as one more example of how they are not being allowed to do their job."
Trump said earlier this week that Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, is replacing Maguire, who had been the acting DNI since August. The president early Friday said he intended to nominate Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, a staunch defender of his, on a permanent basis, but Collins said he is not interested in the job.
The Washington Post reported that Maguire was forced out after one of his aides, Shelby Pierson, gave a classified briefing to the House Intelligence Committee concerning Russian interference on Trump's behalf in the current election.
Brennan has worked in six presidential administrations, three Democrat and three Republican, and said Friday he is concerned that intelligence professionals will be intimidated by the "wrath of a vindictive Donald Trump."
"I'm hoping the intelligence professionals are going to continue to do their best to provide the intelligence and the analysis that the executive branch, as well as the legislative branch, needs," said Brennan. "A lot of these individuals, I'm sure, are being intimidated and now will be pulling punches. They don't want to be shown the door."
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