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U.S. considering sharing less intelligence with countries that criminalize homosexuality

Acting head of DNI Richard Grenell thinks the U.S. should be pushing its values on partner countries

Richard Grenell
Richard Grenell
(Sean Gallup / Getty Images)
Updated: April 23, 2020 - 9:11am

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Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell say the U.S. should be pushing to decriminalize homosexuality in ally countries.

The office that Grenell currently heads is forming a group to examine the issue and suggest possible ideas. Grenell would not confirm whether one of those ideas might be withholding intelligence from countries that criminalize homosexuality.

Homosexuality is criminalized in about 70 countries globally, primarily in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya – which are also some of the United States' main intelligence-sharing partners.

“We can’t just simply make these moral argument and expect others to respond in kind, because telling others that it’s the right thing to do doesn’t always work,” Grenell told The New York Times in an interview this week.

Grenell is the first openly gay Cabinet member and continues to prioritize anti-LGBT discrimination efforts.

In his former position as the ambassador to Germany, Grenell assembled LGBT groups from the U.S. and other countries to assist the administration’s efforts related to anti-gay laws in foreign countries. He has previously suggested that the U.S.everage foreign aid to prod countries with bans on homosexuality to change their laws.

“Ultimately, the United States is safer when our partners respect basic human rights,” Grenell said.

Though Grenell’s appointment is not permanent, he has begun work on several significant projects, including downsizing the Office of the Director of National Intelligence by sending officers assigned to his office back to their base agencies.