“The circumstances and timing – Trump’s defeat in the election immediately after President (Donald) – of Mr. Ellis’s selection, and the eleventh-hour effort to advance this placement in the last three days of this administration, are highly doubtful,” the letter read.
“Further, an attempt to position or ‘bury’ him in a highly sensitive intelligence 72 hours before the start of a new administration reveals a disturbing disregard for our national security. Therefore, this placement does not proceed. needed.”
Ellis, who worked for Rep. Devin Nunes of California, one of Trump’s staunch supporters before joining the National Security Council, already faced opposition from Democratic censors Mark Warner and Jack Reed. The two requested an investigation into the agency’s selection process in the days after Ellis was selected for the job last November.
Ellis’s selection of the agency is important because the role of general counsel at the nation’s largest intelligence agency is a civil service position, not a political role, meaning Ellis may be difficult to remove for the Biden administration.
Pelosi, who wrote that there were “irregularities” in the selection process, noted in her letter that Ellis “is a relatively recent law school graduate with a limited résumé, who was selected because of White House intervention, and It was highly contested candidate. ”
Pelosi wrote, “If Mr. Ellis goes through the traditional civil service recruitment process, I give a detailed account of the process in which one can understand how someone has chosen their qualified candidates.”
According to a Sunday statement from the Department of Defense, “The General Counsel of the Department of Defense is the sole selection authority for the posts of the General Counsel of the National Security Agency, as well as all other senior career DoD General Counsels.” “NSA directors do not select or approve candidates for the post of NSA General Counsel.”
“To be clear, Congress or the media’s interest in a particular recruitment action is not a justification under the principles and procedure of the qualification system to delay placing a selected qualified person in a position,” the statement said.
CNN’s Manu Raju, Zachary Cohen, Jeremy Herb, Oren Lieberman and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.