US President Donald Trump’s Wednesday appointment of Richard Grenell, the American ambassador to Germany, to acting director of national intelligence should not ambush foreign policy specialists.
Grenell’s meteoric rise within the US government was based on high-intensity diligence, tough diplomacy and a rapid –fire analytical assimilation of vast amounts of data to bring about brilliant policy-making changes. This troika marked his tenure as ambassador to Germany since 2018.
Just this week, Grenell tweeted that “I’ve watched as Germany has ignored long-standing US requests on NATO spending, NS2 [Nord Stream 2], a Hezbollah ban, the return of a Nazi guard, etc. Happy to debate the tactics of our shared goal - anytime. Our style is working.”
Grenell has pushed Germany to meet its NATO requirement to increase its military budget and exerted pressure on Germany not to create dependency on Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas system. Germany has drifted away from Western values over the years.
The ambassador cajoled and twisted arms in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government to secure her country's acceptance of the Nazi camp guard Jakiw Palij from Queens, New York, to Germany.
Prior US ambassadors to Germany were not able to influence a change in German government resistance to allow Palij into the federal republic. Grenell did it.
Grenell blocked Merkel’s government from sending more than $400 million in cash to Iran’s regime – the worst state-sponsor of terrorism – to circumvent American sanctions. That type of money could have been used by Iran’s regime to finance its war against Syrian civilians, Yemenites and Israelis.
He succeeded in convincing Germany’s government to ban Iran’s Mahan Air, “the airline of choice for terrorists.”
His unstoppable advocacy for Germany to outlaw the entire Hezbollah movement in the federal republic, where 1,050 Hezbollah operatives raise funds and recruit new members, helped play a critical role in a Bundestag resolution to outlaw the activities of the Lebanese Shi’ite terrorist organization in Germany.
Grenell, The Jerusalem Post first learned last year, raises a full ban of Hezbollah in conversations with all German officials. US President Trump clearly took notice of Grenell’s achievements.
The Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reporter Orit Arfa reported on Wednesday that: “One of the reasons I wanted to be US Ambassador to Germany was because I wanted to deepen and broaden the German-US relationship to the point where the German government didn’t have to think about whose side they would be on when a global crisis or situation arose—that they would innately be with the West,” said Grenell. He added that“I believe this [German President] letter of congratulations to the murderous regime in Iran should never have been drafted, thereby eliminating the chance it would be mistakenly sent.”
Grenell took Germany’s president Frank-Walter Steinmeier to task for “mistakenly” sending a letter this month to Iran’s clerical regime to honor its Islamic revolution last week.
The US ambassador was the first American envoy calling on banks to not provide accounts to Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions organizations targeting Israel.
Grenell took the lead in Europe by highlighting Iran’s genocidal antisemitism targeting Israel.
Iranian regime threats to obliterate Israel have long been played down by the Merkel administration. Merkel’s consistently defines Iran’s threats to wipe Israel off the map as merely “anti-Israel rhetoric.”
“Threatening the destruction of Israel is something that should not be dismissed, especially when the threats come from Iranian regime officials who regularly use terrorism as a weapon of intimidation. When someone shows you who they are, believe them,” Grenell told Fox News in October. Grenell said Iran’s threats are “antisemitic.”
Mojtaba Zonnour, chairman of National Security and Foreign Policy Committee in Iran’s Majlis legislature, said in October: “If Israel or America make a mistake, Israel won’t live for longer than 20 or 30 minutes.”
Last year, Major General Hossein Salami, the commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), delivered a call to obliterate the Jewish state that was publicized by the state-funded IRNA agency as well as other Iranian regime outlets.
Salami, speaking to an audience of IRGC leaders, announced, “This sinister regime [Israel] must be wiped off the map and this is no longer… a dream [but] it is an achievable goal.”
For Israel’s security and defense establishment, Grenell’s hawkish views towards Iran’s regime will be welcomed with open arms. Grenell has long been admired by Israeli diplomats and security officials for his efforts in combating all forms of terrorism.
Trump tweeted on Wednesday that "I am pleased to announce that our highly respected Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, will become the Acting Director of National Intelligence. Rick has represented our Country exceedingly well and I look forward to working with him.”
Grenell will now oversee America’s 17 intelligence agencies in the new role.
The White House said on Wednesday that “Ambassador Grenell was confirmed to his role as Ambassador by the Senate in April 2018, and he has years of experience working with our Intelligence Community in a number of additional positions, including as Special Envoy for Serbia-Kosovo Negotiations and as United States spokesman to the United Nations. “
The statement added that” He is committed to a non-political, non-partisan approach as head of the Intelligence Community, on which our safety and security depend. The President has every confidence that Ambassador Grenell will perform his new duties with distinction.”
Some critics assert Grenell lacks intelligence credentials. Grenell, however, has been immersed in intelligence and counter-terrorism matters for years. He is a veteran diplomat and foreign policy expert.
His years as ambassador to Germany coupled with his time as the longest serving US spokesman at the UN have equipped him to confront threats to the US and its allies.
Writing in the Washington Examiner, Tom Rogan, said, "In Grenell, Trump now has a smart, loyal voice to guide him on matters of national security. But the intelligence community also gets something: a leader with Trump's ear, and someone who is keen to impress. Both sides, then, can forge common ground in America's interest.”
Grenell will become the first openly gay cabinet member in the history of the US. Last year, the new intelligence director launched an international campaign to decriminalize homosexuality across the world.
Rogan, the political journalist, said that “in appointing Richard Grenell as the new acting director of national intelligence. It's bad news for Iran, Huawei.”
Grenell will continue as US ambassador to Germany. That means the political camp – and it is not minor – that supports communist China’s Huawei network for Germany, Iran’s totalitarian regime, and Vladimir Putin’s Russia Nord Stream 2 energy project for the federal republic will not be pleased.