acting
February 20, 2020

Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Berlin and President Trump's new acting director of national intelligence, is not popular in Germany. After alienating much of the country early on with diplomatic bomb-throwing, Der Spiegel wrote a year ago, "the spotlight on Grenell seems to have grown dimmer, though not necessarily by choice. He still tweets assiduously and he never seems to say no when Fox News calls, but in Berlin, he has largely become isolated. The powerful avoid him. Doors have been shut."

But if Berlin was excited at the prospect of getting a new U.S. ambassador, well, tough luck. Even after he takes over as head of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, as early as Thursday, "Grenell is expected to keep his current ambassadorship as long as he is acting intelligence director," The New York Times reports, citing one administration official, adding: "Grenell did not respond to a request for comment."

Grenell also declined Der Spiegel's multiple requests for comment, reporter Konstantin von Hammerstein noted. So "Der Spiegel focused its reporting on conversations with more than 30 sources who have come into contact with Grenell," including "numerous American and German diplomats, Cabinet members, lawmakers, high-ranking officials, lobbyists, and think tank experts." He added:

A majority of them describe Grenell as a vain, narcissistic person who dishes out aggressively, but can barely handle criticism. His brash demeanor, some claim, hides a deep insecurity, and they say he thirsts for the approval of others. ...They also say Grenell knows little about Germany and Europe, that he ignores most of the dossiers his colleagues at the embassy write for him, and that his knowledge of the subject matter is superficial. [Der Spiegel]

It isn't clear how Grenell would divide his responsibilities for the 210 days he is legally eligible to be acting DNI without Senate confirmation. Peter Weber

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