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President-Elect Donald Trump Nominates Former Senator to Be Director of National Intelligence

Director of National Intelligence-designate Dan Coats
Former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) has been nominated to serve as President-elect Donald Trump's Director of National Intelligence. (Reuters photo)

President-elect Donald Trump added to the growing number of evangelical Christians who will be serving in his administration over the weekend, nominating former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) to be the next director of National Intelligence (DNI).

Coats, who developed the nickname of "Mr. Rogers" during his time in Congress, was a protégé of former Vice President Dan Quayle, replacing him in the House and later in the Senate. During two stints in the Senate, he served on the Armed Services Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence.

"I'm very confident that Senator Dan Coats is the right choice to serve as director of National Intelligence," the president-elect said. "Dan has clearly demonstrated the deep subject matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community."

The Army veteran also served as ambassador to Germany for President George W. Bush's first term. He was reportedly the president's first choice to be Secretary of Defense, a job that eventually went to Donald Rumsfeld.

Coats is also banned from traveling to Russia because he pressured President Barack Obama to issue a harsh punishment for the "annexation" of Crimea.

The position of DNI was created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as it became apparent the nation's 16 individual intelligence agencies were not effectively coordinating their efforts. In this role, Coats will lead the U.S. Intelligence Community to facilitate the sharing of information, ultimately making it possible to form a more comprehensive threat assessment.

"If confirmed as director of National Intelligence, he will provide unwavering leadership that the entire intelligence community can respect," Trump said. "And he will spearhead my administration's ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm."

The DNI is also responsible for delivering the presidential daily briefing, which fuses intelligence from across various agencies to give the president the most up-to-date information on threats around the world, among other critical responsibilities.

"It is an honor to be nominated as director of National Intelligence," Coats said. "A robust and responsible intelligence infrastructure is essential to our homeland security, and if confirmed, I will ensure our national security decision-makers have every piece of information they need to protect the American people from the threats facing our nation. There is no higher priority than keeping America safe, and I will utilize every tool at my disposal to make that happen."

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