(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
The US Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to confirm former Republican senator Dan Coats to be President Donald Trump's director of national intelligence.
The vote was 85-12 to confirm Coats, who also served as ambassador to Germany under former President George W. Bush. Fifty-one votes were required for confirmation.
The only Republican who voted against Coats was Senator Rand Paul, one of the Senate's leading privacy advocates, as are several of the Democrats who also voted against Coats.
Democratic Senator Ron Wyden had said he would object to Coats' nomination because he felt the office of the Director of National Intelligence had not provided the committee with enough information about how many Americans' communication records had been subjected to government surveillance.
Coats, 73, replaces James Clapper, who retired as President Barack Obama left office in January.
Coats was a member of the Senate's intelligence committee until he retired from the Senate at the end of last year. He pledged during his confirmation hearing on Feb. 28 to support a thorough investigation of any Russian effort to influence the 2016 presidential election.