Reports: Former Indiana senator Coats Trump's pick for intelligence chief

A military veteran, Coats served in the U.S. Senate 1989-1999 and 2011-2017.
By Doug G. Ware  |  Jan. 5, 2017 at 4:17 PM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- While the current U.S. director of national intelligence testified at a Senate hearing Thursday, the man who will take over the position for President-elect Donald Trump was named.

At least one Trump transition official said the new commander in-chief has settled on former Indiana senator Dan Coats as the director of national intelligence, a post now filled by James Clapper.

An official announcement could come Friday.

Coats, 73, served for 16 years in two separate stints as a senator from Indiana, officially retiring from the U.S. Senate this week when his replacement, Todd Young, took office.

Prior to being elected to the Senate, Coats had served four terms in the House, representing northeast Indiana. Born and raised in Michigan, he'd served in the U.S. Army for two years in the 1960s and earned a law degree from Indiana University in Indianapolis in 1972. He worked as an executive for an insurance agency in Fort Wayne, Ind., before turning to politics and going to work as district director for Rep. Dan Quayle. When Quayle decided to make a run for the Senate, Coats ran for his House seat. When Quayle was elected vice president in 1988, Coats was appointed to fill his Senate seat.

Trump's selection of Coats comes at a time when the controversial billionaire is embroiled in criticism for recent remarks about the U.S. intelligence committee. Trump has been heavily critical of the agencies' conclusions that Russia's government was involved in election-related hackings last year -- in an attempt to sway the vote in his favor.

Current DNI James Clapper, along with two other intelligence officials, testified Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee and defended their conclusions about the Kremlin's complicity.

As director of national intelligence, Coats will serve as the head of the intelligence community, which includes 17 federal agencies, including the CIA, which will be headed under Trump by former Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo. He will also serve as the top intelligence adviser to the president.

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