Six months into Joe Biden’s presidency, the intelligence community still can’t quite escape politics.
Biden made his first formal remarks to staff at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Tuesday – an address at a moment of quiet but profound change for a workforce that was buffeted by the fierce political winds of the Trump era.
After four years of bitter criticism by former President Donald Trump, who accused the intelligence community of “Nazi”-like practices and said top leaders should “go back to school,” the intelligence community has sought to quietly return to business-as-usual under a decidedly more conventional president.
And Biden, in turn, has vowed to never politicize the intelligence community’s work, installing senior leaders who are seen as far less overtly partisan than either of Trump’s final two national intelligence directors.
“You’ve served the American people no matter which political party holds power in Congress or the White House,” Biden told staff at the ODNI. “It’s so vital, so vital that you are and should be totally free of any political pressure or partisan interference. It’s basic. And I want to be absolutely clear that my administration is getting us back to the basics.”
“I’ll never politicize the work you do. You have my word on that,” he added.