Biden appoints Palestinian-American [Maher Bitar] as senior intelligence director

Middle East Monitor  /  January 25, 2021

US President Joe Biden has appointed Palestinian-American Maher Bitar as the senior director for intelligence programmes at the National Security Council (NSC), Politico newspaper reported.

Bitar served as general counsel to Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee and played a huge role in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment.

“I am thrilled to see him in his new post, though we will certainly miss him on the committee,” House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff told Politico. “I can’t think of anyone more suited to the role than Maher.”

The Georgetown University law graduate also worked as the director of Israeli Occupation-Palestinian affairs on the National Security Council under former President Barack Obama.

Bitar also received a Master of Science in Forced Migration from Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Center on a Marshall scholarship and has worked with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jerusalem.

Robert Malley, who is expected to be appointed President Biden’s special envoy to Iran, tweeted: “Can’t think of a better choice than Maher. The most professional, principled, dedicated public servant I’ve had the honour to work with, a wonderful colleague, and a dear friend.”

In August, Biden released an unprecedented “Plan for Partnership” with Arab-Americans in which he referred to the group as “essential to the fabric of our nation”.

In the statement Biden pledged to include Arab-Americans in his administration and work to fight “anti-Arab bigotry”.

Earlier this month, he appointed a Jordanian-American woman, Dana Shubat, as his senior legal affairs adviser. She joined Reema Dodin, a long-time Palestinian-American Capitol Hill aide, who was appointed deputy director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs in late November.