Senate Rushes To Confirm Biden’s Top Intelligence Nominee Amid Security Concerns


The Senate is set to hold a confirmation hearing for Avril Haines, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence, as soon as Friday, as Biden calls for his national security picks to be swiftly confirmed at a time of heightened insecurity.

Key Facts

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), announced Wednesday that Haines’ first nomination hearing would occur on Jan. 15 – five days before Biden’s inauguration.

Lloyd Austin and Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s nominees for Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Homeland Security respectively, are set to have their hearings on Jan. 19, as is Janet Yellen, Biden’s pick for Treasury Secretary.

Biden, in a statement on Wednesday, expressed concern about “the potential for additional violence in the coming days” and said it is “critical” that his national security nominees get “swift hearings and confirmations.”

The U.S. national security apparatus was rocked by the severity of last week’s attack and the unpreparedness of law enforcement – and extraordinary security measures are now being put in place to secure the Capitol and Biden’s inauguration.

Biden said in his statement he is being briefed by FBI officials, Secret Service and his national security advisers on threats to his inauguration and is interfacing with the Trump administration on precautions to “defend against violent disruptions and attacks.”

Key Background

Compounding matters are the recent resignations of Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger and Ryan Tully, the National Security Council’s senior director for European and Russian Affairs, leading to fears the federal government is critically understaffed at a time of heightened vulnerability.

Surprising Fact

Threats have already been made against Biden’s inauguration. An Illinois man was arrested Tuesday after leaving a voicemail for a U.S. House member threatening to stop Biden from entering the White House on Jan. 20, stating, “We will surround the motherf***ing White House and we will kill any motherf***ing Democrat that steps on the motherf***ing lawn.”

Big Number

20,000. That’s how many National Guard troops are expected, up from an initial estimate of 15,000. Photos have circulated on social media of scores of troops lodging in the Capitol.


Biden had initially intended to travel from Delaware to his inauguration in Washington, D.C. on an Amtrak train – an homage to his practice of traveling to D.C. by Amtrak during his four decades in the Senate – but those plans have been scrapped, according to CNN.

What To Watch For

The FBI has warned that armed protests are planned in all 50 states ahead of the inauguration, with one group vowing to travel to Washington to stop attempts to remove Trump from office.