Coats sworn in as director of national intelligence

By Eric DuVall   |   March 16, 2017 at 4:34 PM
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March 16 (UPI) -- Former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats was sworn in as the nation's fifth director of national intelligence Thursday, one day after his nomination was easily confirmed by the Senate.

Coats was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence at the U.S. Capitol.

The position of director of national intelligence was created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks as a means of fostering inter-agency dialogue and cooperation. In all, there are 16 different agencies that make up the nation's intelligence-gathering network. An investigation following the attacks found at times there had been turf wars between the agencies that inhibited vital intelligence-sharing that could have helped foil the attacks. The overarching position of national intelligence director was created to address the problem and create a single person to whom all intelligence agencies are held accountable.

The Senate approved Coats' nomination by a vote of 85-12.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, lauded Coats' nomination after Wednesday's vote.

"Dan has the experience and judgment necessary to effectively lead the intelligence community," Burr said. "He understands well the unique nature of intelligence work and will ensure the [intelligence community] has the legal tools and authorities needed to help keep our country safe."

During his confirmation hearing before the Intelligence Committee, Coats said he views the job as providing reliable information to the Trump administration and congressional leaders, not to advocate policy positions.

"As I will say frequently to both the president and to the executive branch, you need to fully understand my role," Coats said. "And my role is to provide you the intelligence to formulate policy, not formulate policy, not be a spokesperson for any political decisions that are made."

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