The California Democrat also said she was calling for a probe “into the circumstances of the NSA General Counsel selection process” by the department’s acting inspector general.
“The circumstances and timing — immediately after President Trump’s defeat in the election — of the selection of Mr. Ellis, and this eleventh-hour effort to push this placement in the last three days of this Administration are highly suspect,” the letter read.
Ellis had officially started in his role as NSA general counsel on Tuesday. CNN has reached out to Ellis and the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General.
The last-minute installation of Ellis drew considerable scrutiny because the role of general counsel at the country’s largest intelligence agency is a civil service position, not a political role, meaning it could be difficult for the Biden administration to remove Ellis.
“The combination of timing, comparative lack of experience of the candidate, the reported qualifications of the other finalists, and press accounts of White House involvement create a perception that political influence or considerations may have played an undue role in a merit-based civil service selection process,” they wrote in a letter at the time.
Before joining the Trump administration, Ellis served as the head counsel to California Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican who is one of Trump’s staunchest supporters.
Ellis then became a lawyer with the National Security Council, refusing to testify as part of the House’s 2019 impeachment inquiry. In March 2020, Ellis became the senior director for intelligence on the NSC, joining other Trump loyalists in key intelligence positions.
This story has been updated with additional information Wednesday.