President Trump’s purge of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence now extends to a larger assault on the inspectors general of the U.S. government. Trump has installed loyalist Richard Grenell as the Acting Director of the Office of National Intelligence but he is not seeking to purge the CIA or FBI, the “deep state” agencies he demonizes. Trump is targetting. the enforcers of federal government rules against discrimination, self-dealing, and misadministration.
Trump’s remaking of the Office of Director of National Intelligence is “is part of a broader degradation of accountability and oversight mechanisms across government,” says David Ignatius in the The Washington Post.
An invidious part of Trump’s campaign is his attempt to undermine the inspector general system itself. These officials serve in 73 agencies across the government and are supposed to provide independent, nonpartisan reporting of abuses to Congress and the executive branch. Fourteen IG positions are vacant, including those at the CIA, Defense, Treasury and the Department of Health and Human Services. On Friday, Trump nominated officials to fill five of these open positions, but many of his nominees have administration political ties. For example, Brian Miller, his choice for a special inspector general post to audit the pandemic recovery program, serves in the White House counsel’s office and helped manage document releases during the impeachment probe.