Sen. Angus King of Maine is under consideration for a top intelligence post in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, Politico reported on Friday.
Biden’s transition team is reportedly considering the senator for director of national intelligence, a post overseeing the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies. King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats and sits on the Senate intelligence panel, has criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of the intelligence community, including the firing of an inspector general this year.
It is unclear how seriously King is being considered for the position. He is 76 years old and a former two-term Maine governor whose intelligence experience has been largely limited to his eight years in the Senate. King endorsed Biden and has generally backed Democratic positions and presidential candidates in the Senate, but he stays out of internal party politics.
Others who have been mentioned as potential candidates for the post have deep intelligence backgrounds, including Avril Haines, who has been deputy CIA director and deputy national security adviser, Susan Gordon, who resigned as Trump’s deputy director of national intelligence in 2019, and Lisa Monaco, a former homeland security advisor under President Barack Obama, according to the New York Times.
In a statement, King spokesperson Matthew Felling said King was focused on his current job and helping constituents during the coronavirus pandemic.
“He has spent the last eight years advocating for a depoliticized, independent intelligence community that provides decision-makers with unbiased facts so they can confront the national security challenges facing America, and he appreciates the acknowledgement of his leadership in this conversation,” Felling said.
If King was confirmed to an executive branch position, Gov. Janet Mills would get to appoint his successor in a move that could reshuffle Maine politics. A special election to fill the remainder of his term would then take place in 2022, when the Democratic governor is also up for reelection. If the replacement were interested in keeping the seat, they would have to run again in 2024.
Maine’s junior senator started his path to the job in 2012, when then-Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Republican, abruptly announced her retirement. A week later, his announcement for the race scattered a field of prominent Democratic politicians that had been gathering signatures to run, including former Gov. John Baldacci and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of the 1st District.