President Donald Trump has chosen billionaire investor Stephen Feinberg to lead his intelligence advisory board, the White House said Friday.
Trump intends to appoint Feinberg, the co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Cerberus Capital Management in New York, to chair the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, which plays a role in overseeing the intelligence community, deriving its influence from direct access to the president and his senior staff.
Among Cerberus’ holdings is the military contractor DynCorp International, which receives the vast majority of its $3 billion in annual revenues from the federal government.
The New York Times reported last July that Steve Bannon, then the White House chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, had asked Feinberg, as well as Blackwater founder Erik Prince, for proposals to send private-sector workers to Afghanistan in place of American troops.
In March 2017, Feinberg joined Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on a trip to see the new aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford in Newport News, Virginia, after it was reported that Feinberg had held discussions with the administration about a review of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Some critics at the time assailed Feinberg as ill-equipped for the role. At a Senate hearing that month, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine expressed concern that “an individual who runs a private equity firm” and doesn’t have experience in the relevant areas was being considered for the job.
The White House suggested in a statement Friday that Feinberg was well-suited for the position because of his “over 30 years of experience conducting organizational assessments, operational improvements, and complex reforms across foreign and domestic stakeholders to his position.”
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