Speed Reads

change of values

National intelligence director nominee Ratcliffe pulls a 180 on whistleblower protections, 'deep state'

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) has a few new principles now that he's under the Senate's spotlight.

Ratcliffe faced a Senate nomination hearing on Tuesday after President Trump nominated him, for the second time, to be the next director of national intelligence. In his hearing, Ratcliffe promised protections for whistleblowers and showed support for the intelligence community — a stark contrast from how he spoke about those topics in the past.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) on Tuesday asked Ratcliffe if he thought "the intelligence agencies of the United States are running amok," which Ratcliffe answered with a blunt "no." That's a change from the many times Ratcliffe has railed against intelligence agencies' alleged "bias" and "prejudice" toward Trump. Ratcliffe also said the "intelligence I will provide if confirmed will not be altered or impacted by outside influence."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) meanwhile asked Ratcliffe if his "past remarks" demanding the Ukraine whistleblower testify publicly and doubting the whistleblower's report would "discourage" further whistleblowers. Ratcliffe promised potential whistleblowers "every protection under the law."

And as for the "deep state" — the conspiracy theory of a group within the intelligence community allegedly set on undermining Trump that Ratcliffe has alluded to in the past? Ratcliffe said Tuesday he doesn't "know what that means."