Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, nearly two months after taking over as head of the intelligence agency, is facing intense scrutiny amid a widening controversy surrounding his handling of a whistleblower complaint regarding President Donald Trump.
Maguire testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning regarding the complaint. Maguire and Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson are scheduled to go behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee as well, according to a source familiar with the plans.
A deep background in intelligence matters
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Maguire, 67, has a bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College and a master’s degree in national security affairs with a major in scientific and technical intelligence from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
He was also a national security fellow at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard while he was in the Navy.
A former Navy SEAL, Maguire retired from the US Navy in 2010 after serving 36 years. He was director of the National Counterterrorism Center prior to his role in the Trump administration.
Trump called Maguire an “excellent” choice for his intelligence chief, but it is unclear how he will navigate his relationship with a President who has often been at odds with intelligence officials.
On Wednesday, The Washington Post, citing current and former US officials familiar with the matter, reported that Maguire threatened to resign should the White House try to restrict his testimony on the whistleblower complaint before Congress. Maguire responded to the report, saying, “At no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019.”
“I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now,” he said in a statement. “I am committed to leading the Intelligence Community to address the diverse and complex threats facing our nation.”
Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats praised Maguire as his successor, saying in a statement in August that Maguire has a “long, distinguished career serving the nation and will lead the men and women in the IC with distinction.”
Former US National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter, who previously worked with Maguire, told CNN in August that Maquire was a “great American and patriot” and said that he is not a partisan person.
“He’s not a lifelong intelligence official but is a lifelong national security official,” he said. “People may criticize of him for not being a lifelong intelligence guy but he is not a political hack. Nothing remotely close to it.”
David Shedd, former acting director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told CNN in August that Maguire had said in a recent conversation that he has had to do some counterterrorism coverage with the President but those interactions were “few and far in between.”
“I certainly did not get the impression he was in the Oval Office on a regular basis,” he added.
CNN’s Zachary Cohen and Manu Raju contributed to this report.