Biden appoints four political appointees to DC intel committee

Biden has appointed four political staffers to the Intelligence Committee, according to The Jerusalem Times.

Among them are two former State Department officials who worked closely with former CIA Director John Brennan, who has been under pressure to resign from his post after leaking classified documents to the media.

The other two are former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Keith Kellogg, who worked on the Joint Intelligence Assessment on Iran and Syria, which was written in 2015.

The four political aides were selected by Biden after a lengthy vetting process that included input from a wide range of experts.

They were selected after the committee received information on the individuals’ work on Iran sanctions, Syria, Ukraine and Syria-related matters, said committee Chairman Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

“They were vetted on an extremely high level, and the intelligence community is well aware of the tremendous work that has gone into vetting these individuals,” he said.

Kellogg, Rice and Menendez said they had “no involvement in the selection process, and I would not have recommended the individuals for appointment to the committee.”

The appointment of Kellogg and Rice is particularly significant given their work in the intelligence arena, and they have strong ties to the White House, as the two former CIA officers were former national security advisers to President Barack Obama and served as the top U.S. officials in the country’s post-Soviet efforts to combat ISIS.

Rice, who also served as National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, also has ties to former President Joe Biden, who served as his national security adviser in the Obama administration.

Kellenogg and Menegosaid they had no role in the decision-making process, but that “they had a lot of influence on the panel, including in the consideration of their nominations.”

The three-member committee has been dealing with some high-profile departures since President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on May 9.

On Wednesday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced he would not seek reelection and was stepping down from his Senate seat.

McCain, who previously served as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement he will seek a second term.

The committee has also had to deal with the resignation of its top Democrat, Sen.-elect Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), who had been in charge of the committee’s Russia investigation.

The committee announced Thursday that Duckworth will not run for reelection.

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