The National Security Council is becoming a national security threat.
Several Obama holdovers who led initiatives at odds with President Donald Trump’s foreign policy remain on the staff of National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.
About 40 of the National Security Council’s (NSC) 250 officials — nearly one in six — are Obama administration holdovers, according to TheDCNF’s analysis. The holdovers include NSC directors for Korea, China, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Eastern Europe, Israel-Palestine, South America, North Africa and sub-Sahara Africa. Holdovers also advise on weapons of mass destruction, counterterrorism, non-proliferation, arms control, defense policy, immigration, and homeland preparedness.
It’s been common practice in previous administrations to retain holdovers from an outgoing administration, and nearly all are on loan from other federal agencies. But current and former administration officials tell TheDCNF they are concerned that so many Obama era holdovers are still working at NSC eight months into the Trump administration.
“The problem is the allegiance they have to their former administration and their position and stances on national security,” said Col. James Waurishuk (Ret.), a 30-year veteran senior intelligence official and a former NSC official. “It’s crazy when they represent pretty much 180 degrees of what Trump is trying to do.”
Some blame McMaster for the holdovers. “He has protected and coddled them,” alleged one former NSC staffer who requested anonymity.
H.R. McMaster has fired this week — Rich Higgins, Derek Harvey, and Ezra Cohen-Watnick — who “are pro-Israel and oppose the Iran nuclear deal, positions that Trump holds.” He won’t allow Islam to be blamed for Islamic terrorism. He supports Iran deal. He fires Trump supporters but keep Obama holdovers.
Breitbart News reports:
Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick wrote Wednesday evening that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster is purging pro-Israel staff from the National Security Council (NSC), turning the administration against President Donald Trump’s policies.
In a Facebook post, Glick noted that “all of these people” whom McMaster has fired this week — Rich Higgins, Derek Harvey, and Ezra Cohen-Watnick — “are pro-Israel and oppose the Iran nuclear deal, positions that Trump holds.”
She noted that the firings were the latest evidence that NSA McMaster is “deeply hostile to Israel and to Trump”:
According to senior officials aware of his behavior, he constantly refers to Israel as the occupying power and insists falsely and constantly that a country named Palestine existed where Israel is located until 1948 when it was destroyed by the Jews.
Many of you will remember that a few days before Trump’s visit to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו and his advisers were blindsided when the Americans suddenly told them that no Israeli official was allowed to accompany Trump to the Western Wall.
What hasn’t been reported is that it was McMaster who pressured Trump to agree not to let Netanyahu accompany him to the Western Wall. At the time, I and other reporters were led to believe that this was the decision of rogue anti-Israel officers at the US consulate in Jerusalem. But it wasn’t. It was McMaster.
And even that, it works out wasn’t sufficient for McMaster. He pressured Trump to cancel his visit to the Wall and only visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial — ala the Islamists who insist that the only reason Israel exists is European guilt over the Holocaust.
Frontpage Mag by Daniel Greenfield
Just like in Iraq, Harvey began digging at the NSC. He came up with a list of Obama holdovers who were leaking to the press. McMaster, the new head of the NSC, refused to fire any of them.
McMaster had a different list of people he wanted to fire. It was easy to make the list. Harvey was on it.
All you had to do was name Islamic terrorism as the problem and oppose the Iran Deal. If you came in with Flynn, you would be out. If you were loyal to Trump, your days were numbered.
And if you warned about Obama holdovers undermining the new administration, you were a target.
One of McMaster’s first acts at the NSC was to ban any mention of “Obama holdovers.” Not only did the McMaster coup purge Harvey, who had assembled the holdover list, but his biggest target was Ezra Watnick-Cohen, who had exposed the eavesdropping on Trump officials by Obama personnel.
Ezra Watnick-Cohen had provided proof of the Obama surveillance to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. McMaster, however, was desperately working to fire him and replace him with Linda Weissgold. McMaster’s choice to replace Watnick-Cohen was the woman who helped draft the Benghazi talking points which blamed the Islamic terrorist attack on a video protest.
According to the media, Watnick-Cohen was guilty of “anti-Muslim fervor” and “hardline views.” And there’s no room for anyone telling the truth about Islamic terrorism at McMaster’s NSC.
McMaster had even demanded that President Trump refrain from telling the truth about Islamic terrorism.
….Another of his targets was Rich Higgins, who had written a memo warning of the role of the left in undermining counterterrorism. Higgins had served as a director for strategic planning at the NSC. He had warned in plain language about the threat of Islamic terrorism, of Sharia law, of the Hijrah colonization by Islamic migrants, of the Muslim Brotherhood, and of its alliance with the left as strategic threats.
…. As Caroline Glick has pointed out, the personnel being purged in the McMaster coup “are pro-Israel and oppose the Iran nuclear deal.”
…The latest reports say that McMaster has a list of enemies who will be ousted from the NSC. And when that is done, the NSC will be a purely Obama-Bush operation. The consensus will be that the Iran Deal must stay, that Islam has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism, that we need to find ways to work with the aspirations of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that Israel must make concessions to terrorists.
Three reasons why President Trump met with H.R. McMaster on Thursday :
By Dave Boyer – The Washington Times – Thursday, August 3, 2017
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster met with President Trump Thursday amid his purge of Trump loyalists from the White House national security council, a heated debate about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan and a report that he allowed former Obama administration aide Susan E. Rice to keep her security clearance.
Gen. McMaster sent a letter to Ms. Rice in April giving her unfettered and continuing access to classified information and waiving the “need-to-know” requirement on anything she viewed or received during her tenure as President Obama’s national security adviser. A copy of the letter was obtained by Circa; Mr. Trump reportedly was not aware of Gen. McMaster’s action.
The topic of Ms. Rice has been a particularly sore spot for Mr. Trump, who was angered to learn that she unmasked the identities of Trump transition aides in conversations with Russian officials. The president has called it “a massive story.”
Gen. McMaster also has come under increasing fire from conservatives this week after Bloomberg reported that he concluded Ms. Rice did nothing wrong with the unmasking.
The head of a conservative group called for Gen. McMaster to be fired, citing the leaks Thursday of transcripts of Mr. Trump’s phone conversations with foreign leaders.
“The only option President Trump has is to clean house at the National Security Council, starting at the top with General McMaster,” said Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning. “The threat posed to the country by the National Security Council leaking requires immediate and swift action.”
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Conveniently, documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library and won’t be available to the public for the next five years.
Via Judicial Watch:
The NSC will not fulfill an April 4 Judicial Watch request for records regarding information relating to people “who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.”
The agency also informed Judicial Watch that it would not turn over communications with any Intelligence Community member or agency concerning the alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election; the hacking of DNC computers; or the suspected communications between Russia and Trump campaign/transition officials. Specifically, the NSC told Judicial Watch:
Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library. You may send your request to the Obama Library. However, you should be aware that under the Presidential Records Act, Presidential records remain closed to the public for five years after an administration has left office.
President of Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton had this to say about the breaking news, “Prosecutors, Congress, and the public will want to know when the National Security Council shipped off the records about potential intelligence abuses by the Susan Rice and others in the Obama White House to the memory hole of the Obama Presidential Library. We are considering our legal options but we hope that the Special Counsel and Congress also consider their options and get these records.”
Read the full report by Judicial Watch here.
A White House source estimates more than 60 percent of employees at the National Security Council are not Trump administration appointees, but career officials who were appointed to the White House from other agencies under the Obama administration.
The source said there are “whole departments” at the NSC with only one Trump appointee.
“I think the lesson here is that these things are going to continue to happen until the Trump White House does a serious housecleaning,” said Fred Fleitz, a former CIA and Bush administration official.
“Now under civil service rules, it’s difficult to fire them and I’m not sure they should be fired, but they can be reassigned. And people who are going to promote the president’s policies rather than undermine them — he needs to put those people in place,” he added.
The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment on whether it would reassign or appoint new NSC officials anytime soon.
…Fleitz believes it is those career officials assigned to the NSC under Obama who leaked Trump’s conversation with Russian officials to former Obama officials and media outlets.
“I understand there was something called a memcon, a memo of conversation, that was written on it, and I suspect that that document may have reached people in these various agencies who had been put in place, promoted by the Obama administration, they’re Obama loyalists, and they’re just aching for information that they can use to undermine this president,” he said.
“At the NSC, there’s no confirmation process, people can be let go immediately, and new people can be brought in,” he added.
But a major problem for the Trump administration is that there is no budget to bring in new people at the NSC until September, when the new fiscal year starts, the White House source said.
But compounding the problem is that there are also hundreds of political positions currently unfilled at departments that interface with the NSC, such as State and Defense.