Bill Evanina, who sounded alarm on China threat, resigns as top US Counterintelligence official
Chuck Ross, DCNF
Bill Evanina, who as the U.S. government’s top counterintelligence official sounded the alarm on China’s threat to the U.S., resigned from office on Wednesday.
Evanina, who was director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), announced his resignation in a post on LinkedIn on Thursday.
“Yesterday, after 31 years in the Government, 24 in the FBI, and the past 6 years as Director of NCSC, I departed my office for the last time,” Evanina wrote.
On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Avril Haines, a former CIA deputy director, as director of ODNI.
Evanina has been director of NCSC since 2014, when he was appointed to the position by James Clapper, who served as President Obama’s director of national intelligence. Dan Coats, who was President Trump’s first intelligence director, asked Evanina to remain in the position.
Trump renominated Evanina to the position in 2018, after a shift in government policy required that the director receive Senate confirmation. The upper chamber confirmed Evanina to the position on May 6, 2020.
Evanina has come under some criticism, largely from Democrats, over his comments regarding threats posed by China and Russia to the U.S.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and other top Democrats criticized Evanina on July 24 following a statement he issued regarding threats that the two governments and Iran posed to the upcoming presidential election.
The Democrats asserted that Evanina had downplayed Russian meddling in U.S. politics by including statements about China and Iran’s malign activity. They said that Evanina created a “false sense of equivalence to the actions of foreign adversaries by listing three countries of unequal intent, motivation and capability together.”
Evanina issued another statement on Aug. 7 in which he said that U.S. counterintelligence believed that China opposed Trump’s re-election, while Russia wanted the Republican to win.
Evanina said after Joe Biden’s election win that intelligence officials had seen evidence that Chinese operatives were waging a “malign influence” campaign by cozying up to potential Biden administration officials and their associates.
“We’ve also seen an uptick, which was planned and we predicted, that China would now re-vector their influence campaigns to the new administration,” Evanina said at a cyber security summit on Dec. 2.
“And when I say that, that malign foreign influence, that diplomatic influence plus, or on steroids, we’re starting to see that now play across the country to not only the folks starting in the new administration, but those who are around those folks in the new administration.”
President Biden and Haines could seemingly have asked Evanina to stay on as director of NCSC, which would have required him to go back through the Senate confirmation process. Evanina was reportedly not asked to stay in the position.
An official with ODNI told The Daily Caller News Foundation Evanina’s departure “had nothing to do with any political disagreements.”