Archive for the ‘Obama hold-overs’ category

Gorka speaks!

August 29, 2017

Gorka speaks! American ThinkerPeter Barry Chowka, August 29, 2017

(I seem to recall that we elected Donald Trump to be our president, not McMaster, Kelly, Tillerson et al. I hope President Trump remembers. — DM)

Gorka said he has not yet returned to work as an editor at Breitbart.com, where he contributed articles and served as an editor between 2014 and 2016.  With Bannon having returned to his prior role there as executive chairman, it is assumed that Gorka will follow him.  Gorka said he is still negotiating that.  He noted he is involved with working on “several initiatives” – “new organizations” that will be formed to help advance Trump’s original MAGA agenda from the outside.

Donald Trump, Gorka said, is an “insurgent.”  His inauguration on January 20, 2017 represented a “hostile takeover” – he probably should have said attempted takeover – of the Deep State government.  At this point, Gorka said, “only four real believers” (in Trump’s MAGA agenda) remain in senior levels at the White House.  He did not name them.  Meanwhile, “we have lots of people in the White House who would have been comfortable working with Hillary Clinton.”

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Recently departed deputy assistant to President Trump Dr. Sebastian Gorka appeared on Brian Kilmeade’s Fox News Radio program on Monday morning, August 28.  Free to speak his mind now, he had a lot to say about his seven-month tenure working on foreign policy at the White House, what’s going on there now, and his plans for the future.

After former White House chief strategist Steven K. Bannon left his job on August 18, it was just a matter of time before Gorka, who reported to Bannon, followed suit.  As a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser and prominent surrogate during the 2016 race, and during his tenure at the White House, Gorka stood out as a fierce and articulate defender of Donald J. Trump, regularly appearing on TV and challenging hostile hosts at CNN and MSNBC.

Gorka was born in London in 1970 to Hungarian parents and began his career as a foreign policy and anti-terrorism analyst in Hungary from 1992-2008.  He has been an adviser on foreign policy, terrorism, and Islam to various U.S. academic and defense institutions, and he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2012.  He is the author of Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War (2016).  His archived website from 2016 is here.

Gorka has been targeted by the Deep State media for his strong views that run counter to the Obama administration’s, and he has been labeled as a far-right ideologue and even a Nazi sympathizer.  However, as the left’s slings and arrows continued even after he left the White House, a detailed defense of Gorka, “The political lynching of Sebastian Gorka,” written by Michael Rubin, a self-admitted “NeverTrump,” was published on August 27 in the Washington Examiner and is recommended reading.

On Monday afternoon (August 28), Fox News emailed a news release with some of Gorka’s quotes from the interview that morning with Kilmeade.  Commenting on his resignation (others insist he was fired), Gorka said:

The fact is I knew after the Afghan speech [by President Trump on August 21] that the anti-MAGA (Make America Great Again) forces were in ascendance. Not one mention of radical Islam in that speech that was written from the president. So last week I emailed General Kelly [White House Chief of Staff], I said I wanted to meet with him today on Monday because I will be resigning effective Friday, last Friday. I spoke to him on the telephone on Friday and said that I am resigning today and I reinforced that with an email. That’s how it happened because I realized I work for Steve Bannon, he’s gone and the wrong people are at the helm of policy issues. We will right that ship from the outside but for the time being the best I can do is to be effective as a private citizen.

Kilmeade asked Gorka what he thought of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s comments on Sunday that were interpreted as critical of or distancing himself from President Trump:

I’m a bit puzzled. I don’t expect counter terrorism expertise from a former oil industry mogul, but to say that the President speech on Afghanistan shouldn’t be about radical Islamic terrorism, it should be about all forms of terrorism. Brian, I would like to hear the Secretary tell me about all the animal rights terrorists or the White Supremacists terrorists that are coming out of the Hindu Kush or Tora Bora. I’m a little bit confused by what he said because it doesn’t make any sense.

As the Fox release put it, Gorka also commented “on reports of insubordination within the White House”:

There is a broader issue here a really serious one. The GOP thinks they won the election on November 8th and they are very, very mistaken in that. Donald Trump may have been the formal Republican candidate but he wasn’t the establishment’s candidate. He wiped the floor with all the establishment candidates who never took him seriously. You know who won the election, a real-estate mogul from New York called Donald J Trump. If the GOP thinks they won the election they will be sorely disappointed and they will pay the price come the next election. So, they need to wake up and smell the coffee grinds. It’s the anti-establishment movement the people in America including the “Blue Collar” Democrats who said enough is enough; left and right have not served us well for at least 16 years. We are going to shake this town up and that is what the President is, he’s a fabulous disruptor and God bless him but the GOP needs to wake up to what happened in America on November 8th  because it’s not going to change, it’s going to get stronger.

That was it for the quotes provided by Fox News.  When I listened to the 16-minute-long recording of the interview, which is available here for streaming or downloading as an mp3 audio file, I noted some additional comments of interest.

Gorka said he has not yet returned to work as an editor at Breitbart.com, where he contributed articles and served as an editor between 2014 and 2016.  With Bannon having returned to his prior role there as executive chairman, it is assumed that Gorka will follow him.  Gorka said he is still negotiating that.  He noted he is involved with working on “several initiatives” – “new organizations” that will be formed to help advance Trump’s original MAGA agenda from the outside.

Donald Trump, Gorka said, is an “insurgent.”  His inauguration on January 20, 2017 represented a “hostile takeover” – he probably should have said attempted takeover – of the Deep State government.  At this point, Gorka said, “only four real believers” (in Trump’s MAGA agenda) remain in senior levels at the White House.  He did not name them.  Meanwhile, “we have lots of people in the White House who would have been comfortable working with Hillary Clinton.”

This comment deserves further exploration: “The Obama administration played dirty and tried to sabotage” the incoming administration.  Dr. Gorka’s final comment: “The ‘Fake News Industrial Complex’ is out of control.”

On Saturday, August 26, Gorka gave a 17-minute interview to Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125.  The interview can be streamed from this URL.  Part of Gorka’s conversation with Breitbart Washington editor Matt Boyle was marred by a poor cell phone connection.  Dr. Gorka managed to say, “We are winning and we will continue to do so.  With Steve [Bannon] back at the helm [of Breitbart News], it’s like the last scene from Star Wars.  Do you remember what Obi-Wan Kenobi said to Darth [Vader]?  ‘If you strike me down, I will be more powerful than you can ever imagine.’  The left thinks they’re winning.  They have no idea what’s coming around the corner, and it’s going to be fun.”

McMaster’s Obama (Don’t call them) Holdovers

August 15, 2017

McMaster’s Obama (Don’t call them) Holdovers, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, August 15, 2017

According to the Daily Caller, about 40 of the 250 officials on the National Security Council (NSC) are Obama administration holdovers. Their boss, H.R. McMaster, has instructed that these folks not be called “holdovers.” This might make sense from a team-building perspective. But since I’m not part of the team, they will be referred to as holdovers in this post.

The Daily Caller’s Richard Pollock and Ethan Barton profile some of them. They report that Allison Hooker remains NSC director for Korea, no backwater job given current circumstances. According to Pollock and Barton, Hooker is “an architect of former President Barack Obama’s Korean policy.” This may be a reach because they also say she joined the NSC in 2014, by which time Obama administration Korea policy was in place.

Nonetheless, President Trump has denounced Obama’s Korea policy — “strategic patientce” — in harsh terms. Thus it’s surprising to find his administration’s NSC adviser on Korea still in place more than half a year into the Trump administration.

Pollock and Barton report that McMaster’s director for South America is Fernando Cutz. He received his master’s degree in international relations from the Clinton School of Public Service in or around 2010.

The Clinton School operates on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.

According to Pollock and Barton, Cutz, who previously reported to former deputy NSC advisor Ben Rhodes, enthusiastically endorsed Obama’s Cuba policy throughout his tenure as an NSC staffer. He helped plan and organize Obama’s trip to Cuba.

Andrea Hall is another holdover who reported to Ben Rhodes. She serves as NSC’s senior director for weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and threat reduction.

Pollock and Barton cite a paper she published in December 2002, while earning her doctorate, in which she criticized the West for not doing enough for Vladimir Putin. She wrote that “Russia has received few tangible benefits from its cooperation with the United States,” and claimed that Washington was “ignoring Russian concerns.” She added:

Given that Putin has received significant criticism for his foreign policy concessions and that he has valid concerns about the Russian economy, Washington would be wise to help Russia achieve some of its goals as well in order to cement this partnership.

In fairness to Hall, this thinking does not seem inconsistent with Trump’s. Coincidentally (or maybe not), it mirrors the “blame America first” attitude of McMaster’s Israel-Palestine guy, Kris Bauman. He blamed Israel and the Bush administration for undermining the peace process by failing to recognize Hamas’ moderation.

Rear Adm. David Kriete, another Obama holdover, is NSC’s director for strategic capabilities policy and responsible for policy on nuclear weapons-related issues. According to Pollock and Barton, he was a representative to the interagency panel that wrote Obama’s 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, which reflected the former chief executive’s vision of a “nuclear-free world.”

That document received considerable criticism from conservatives. According to Pollock and Barton, “National Review” found that it “undermines the basis of the deterrent policy that has helped maintain the peace for more than 60 years.”

Pollock and Barton discuss several other holdovers. However, the four discussed above strike me as the most problematic.

Michael Anton, an NSC spokesman and author of the famous “Flight 93 Election” article, told the Daily Caller that all of the holdovers (I assume he didn’t use that word) are “stalwarts” who faithfully follow the president’s foreign and military policies. I have no reason to believe that any holdover is insubordinate.

However, the NSC can help shape a president’s foreign and military policies. That’s particularly true where, as here, (1) the president lacks experience with, or apparent in-depth knowledge of, foreign policy issues and (2) the national security adviser is extremely aggressive.

Thus, the cliche “personnel is policy” seems particularly apt in the context of this NSC staff. That’s why it’s reasonable to be concerned about some of the Obama holdovers and about McMaster’s purge of some pro-Trump staffers.

Fired NSC Aide Reveals Political Warfare Operation Targeting Trump

August 11, 2017

Fired NSC Aide Reveals Political Warfare Operation Targeting Trump, Washington Free Beacon, , August 11, 2017

Gen. H. R. McMaster / Getty Images

Higgins was fired by the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, July 21 after the memo came to McMaster’s attention as part of an internal search for leaks from the staff.

A White House official said McMaster appears to be trying to clear out anyone from the NSC staff who is outspokenly pro-Trump and has been slow-rolling the president’s directives that he disagrees with.

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A White House National Security Council official has charged that leftist opponents of President Trump are engaged in political warfare operations designed to subvert his presidency and drive him from office.

Rich Higgins, until recently director of strategic planning at the NSC, revealed the program in a seven-page memorandum produced in May that warns of a concerted information warfare campaign by the Marxist left, Islamists, and political leaders and government officials opposed to the populist president.

“The Trump administration is suffering under withering information campaigns designed to first undermine, then delegitimize and ultimately remove the president,” Higgins states.

“This is not politics as usual but rather political warfare at an unprecedented level that is openly engaged in the direct targeting of a seated president through manipulation of the news cycle,” he said.

Higgins, an Army veteran and former Pentagon official who specialized in irregular warfare and who was dismissed last month for writing the memo, said the attacks should not be confused with normal partisan political attacks or adversarial media attention.

The former aide criticized the White House for failing to counter the activities and said the political warfare attacks threaten the Trump presidency.

“The White House response to these campaigns reflects a political advocacy mindset that it is intensely reactive, severely under-inclusive and dangerously inadequate to the threat,” he said. “If action is not taken to re-scope and respond to these hostile campaigns very soon, the administration risks implosion and subsequent early departure from the White House.”

Higgins was fired by the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, July 21 after the memo came to McMaster’s attention as part of an internal search for leaks from the staff.

Higgins’s firing, along with that of two other NSC conservatives, Derek Harvey and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, has set off political infighting and charges from conservatives that National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is opposing Trump’s populist policies in favor of maintaining the policies of the former Obama administration.

Harvey, a retired Army colonel, recently complained to McMaster about the large number of officials who were kept on at the NSC from the Obama administration. He was told by McMaster that he has a “leadership problem,” according to people close to the matter.

Cohen-Watnick was senior director for intelligence programs at the NSC and ran afoul of McMaster because of his conservative views.

A White House official said McMaster appears to be trying to clear out anyone from the NSC staff who is outspokenly pro-Trump and has been slow-rolling the president’s directives that he disagrees with.

According to White House sources, Trump is said to be unhappy with McMaster and has considered dispatching him to Afghanistan.

A possible replacement is said to be CIA director Mike Pompeo, who is regarded as more of a Trump loyalist.

An NSC spokesman declined to comment.

Foreign Policy first published the memo on Thursday and quoted sources as saying Trump read it and “gushed over it.”

Higgins urged in the memo that immediate action be taken to counter what he described as a campaign of subversion reflecting “cultural Marxist” narratives used by political leftists who are aligned with Islamist groups.

“In candidate Trump, the opposition saw a threat to the ‘politically correct’ enforcement narratives they’ve meticulously laid in over the past few decades,” Higgins said. “In President Trump, they see a latent threat to continue that effort to ruinous effect and their retaliatory response reflects this fear.”

During the presidential campaign, Trump was able to break through the leftist narratives and as a result the political left regards him as “an existential threat to cultural Marxist memes that dominate the prevailing cultural narrative.”

“For this cabal, Trump must be destroyed,” he said. “Far from politics as usual, this is a political warfare effort that seeks the destruction of a sitting president. Since Trump took office, the situation has intensified to crisis level proportions.”

The opponents also include officials within the permanent government apparatus, also called the Deep State.

Other opponents are supporting the Marxist subversion, including those within government, along with “globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans.”

“Globalists and lslamists recognize that for their visions to succeed, America, both as an ideal and as a national and political identity, must be destroyed,” Higgins said.

The political warfare campaign seeks to exploit differences in society based on sexism, racism and xenophobia narratives. The program is implemented by mainstream media, and the academic community is the main driver promoting the imposition of cultural Marxism and derivatives of it.

Islamists, supporters of political Islam in the United States, also are working with leftists who they regard as having the best chance of reducing Western civilization to the benefit of Islamic supremacists. The Islamists are seeking to divide American society against itself as a way of undermining stability.

“This is the intended outcome of hostile information cum political warfare campaigns and today we see their effects on American society,” he said.

Higgins also said a complicating factor in the political warfare program is that “many close to the president have pushed him off his message when he was candidate Trump thus alienating him from his base thereby isolating him in the process.”

The political warfare follows the insurgency methods used by Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong. “In Maoist insurgencies, the formation of a counter-state is essential to seizing state power,” he said. “Political warfare operates as one of the activities of the ‘counter-state’ and is primarily focused on the resourcing and mobilization of the counter state or the exhaustion and demobilization of the targeted political movement.”

In the Marxist strategy and tactics, political correctness is being used to foster intolerance of political movements of the right and toleration of leftist movements.

The attack narratives being used are pervasive and can be seen in social media, television, and the 24-hour news cycle in all media, as well as within the foreign policy establishment. “They inform the entertainment industry from late night monologues, to situation comedies, to television series memes, to movie themes,” Higgins said. “The effort required to direct this capacity at President Trump is little more than a programming decision to do so. The cultural Marxist narrative is fully deployed, pervasive, full spectrum and ongoing.”

Information attacks against the president are carried out through overt publicity and covert propaganda and infiltration and subversion means.

The current campaign against Trump is seeking to delegitimize the president, his administration, and the vision of America he promoted as a candidate.

Key major opposition themes are that Trump is illegitimate, corrupt, and dishonest. Secondary political attacks include the notion that Russia hacked the election, Trump obstructed justice and is hiding Russian collusion, and that he is a “puppet” of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

“Adversaries utilize these interlocking narratives as a defensive political and information warfare screen that silences critics and smears supporters of President Trump,” Higgins said.

“When people in the media question the behavior, actions and decisions of the Trump administration’s opponents, they are immediately said to be ‘working for the Russians’ or ‘supporting Russian propaganda.'”

Additionally Americans who support the president are deemed “deplorable” and “racist.”

“Attacks on President Trump are not just about destroying him, but also about destroying the vision of America that lead [sic] to his election,” Higgins said.

Higgins concluded the memo by noting that defending the president is a defense of the United States. “In the same way President Lincoln was surrounded by political opposition both inside and outside of his wire, in both overt and covert forms, so too is President Trump.

“Had Lincoln failed, so too would have the Republic. The administration has been maneuvered into a constant backpedal by relentless political warfare attacks structured to force him to assume a reactive posture that assures inadequate responses. The president can either drive or be driven by events; it’s time for him to drive them.”

A Welcome Resignation at DHS

July 31, 2017

A Welcome Resignation at DHS, Power Line,  Paul Mirengoff, July 31, 2017

(Please see also, Break out the champagne: State Department officials quitting over “complete and utter disdain for our expertise.” Another pro-Islam official,  the Director of Countering Violent Extremism, leaves the Department of Homeland Security. — DM)

Selim’s resignation is evidence of a clear and welcome break by the Trump administration from Obama-era policy on countering radical Islam

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I try to write about both the good and the bad of the Trump administration, as I see things.Here’s an important addition to the good column:

George Selim, a prominent Obama administration holdover known for engaging fringe Islamic radicals, has resigned from the Department of Homeland Security. Selim left his post as director of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). . . .

A DHS source familiar with the situation. . .explained that Selim often clashed with Trump administration officials who sought to do away with the past president’s policies. Senior officials effectively quashed Selim’s efforts to maneuver Obama White House policies and strategies into the new administration, leaving a frustrated Selim with resignation as his only option.

I wrote about CVE here, describing it as a slush fund for CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, Jordan Schachtel of Conservative Review notes that Selim admitted to hosting hundreds of meetings with officials from the CAIR, an Islamic advocacy group that federal prosecutors have labeled as a Muslim Brotherhood front group that was created to achieve the ends of Hamas (a U.S.-designated terrorist organization).

The premise of CVE is that the best way to fight violent extremists is with “non violent extremist” Salafi clergy who have the most influence on them. As Daniel Greenfield has said:

What it really comes down to is paying Muslims to argue with other Muslims on social media. And hope that the Muslims we’re paying to do the arguing are the good kind of extremists, like the Muslim Brotherhood, and not the bad kind of extremists, like ISIS. Even though they’re both vicious killers.

Greenfield added:

CVE not only doesn’t fight terrorism, it perpetuates the whole reason for it by outsourcing our interaction with domestic Muslims to the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s a big part of how we got a terrorism problem in the first place. CVE’s promoters have convinced us that the best way to fight Islamic terrorism is by partnering with Islamic terrorists.

In reality, the best way to fight Islamic terrorism is not to “parse different flavors of Islam,” as Greenfield put it, but to distinguish between those citizens whose allegiance we have and those whose allegiance we do not have. However, to quote Greenfield again, CVE “rejects the idea that Muslims should be expected to show their allegiance [to the United States] and instead demands that the United States show its allegiance to them.” It thus “inverts the balance of citizenship and invests the United States in an unspoken religious debate.”

One of the consequences of this approach was the watering down the FBI’s counterterrorism training materials, including the elimination of valuable information that would help agents identify terrorists. According to Patrick Poole, this “purge” contributed to clues being missed by the FBI in major terrorism cases, including last year’s bombing of the Boston Marathon

Thus, Selim’s resignation is evidence of a clear and welcome break by the Trump administration from Obama-era policy on countering radical Islam.

Break out the champagne: State Department officials quitting over “complete and utter disdain for our expertise”

July 31, 2017

Break out the champagne: State Department officials quitting over “complete and utter disdain for our expertise” Jihad Watch

(It’s a good start, but there are many more who need to quit or be fired. — DM)

The swamp needs draining indeed. This news from the State Department, and the New York Times’ grief over it, are good signs that the U.S. is on its way back on dry land.

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We can only hope that with the departure of these failed State Department officials, their failed policies will be swept out along with them. Chief among these is the almost universally held idea that poverty causes terrorism. The United States has wasted uncounted (literally, because a great deal of it was in untraceable bags full of cash) billions of dollars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, and other countries in the wrongheaded assumption that Muslims turn to jihad because they lack economic opportunities and education. American officials built schools and hospitals, thinking that they were winning over the hearts and minds of the locals.

Fifteen years, thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars later, no significant number of hearts and minds have been won. This is partly because the premise is wrong. The New York Times reported in March that “not long after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001…Alan B. Krueger, the Princeton economist, tested the widespread assumption that poverty was a key factor in the making of a terrorist. Mr. Krueger’s analysis of economic figures, polls, and data on suicide bombers and hate groups found no link between economic distress and terrorism.”

CNS News noted in September 2013 that “according to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, ‘Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.’ One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, ‘Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.’”

Yet the analysis that poverty causes terrorism has been applied and reapplied and reapplied again. The swamp is in dire need of draining, and in other ways as well. From 2011 on, it was official Obama administration policy to deny any connection between Islam and terrorism. This came as a result of an October 19, 2011 letter from Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates to John Brennan, who was then the Assistant to the President on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism, and later served in the Obama administration as head of the CIA. The letter was signed not just by Khera, but by the leaders of virtually all the significant Islamic groups in the United States: 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Relief USA; and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

The letter denounced what it characterized as U.S. government agencies’ “use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam.” Despite the factual accuracy of the material about which they were complaining, the Muslim groups demanded that the task force “purge all federal government training materials of biased materials”; “implement a mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, U.S. Army officers, and all federal, state and local law enforcement who have been subjected to biased training”; and moreto ensure that all that law enforcement officials would learn about Islam and jihad would be what the signatories wanted them to learn.

Numerous books and presentations that gave a perfectly accurate view of Islam and jihad were removed from coounterterror training. Today, even with Trump as President, this entrenched policy of the U.S. government remains, and ensures that all too many jihadists simply cannot be identified as risks, since the officials are bound as a matter of policy to ignore what in saner times would be taken as warning signs. Trump and Tillerson must reverse this. Trump has spoken often about the threat from “radical Islamic terrorism”; he must follow through and remove the prohibitions on allowing agents to study and understand the motivating ideology behind the jihad threat.

The swamp needs draining indeed. This news from the State Department, and the New York Times’ grief over it, are good signs that the U.S. is on its way back on dry land.

“The Desperation of Our Diplomats,” by Roger Cohen, New York Times, July 28, 2017:

WASHINGTON — On the first Friday in May, Foreign Affairs Day, the staff gathers in the flag-bedecked C Street lobby of the State Department beside the memorial plaques for the 248 members of foreign affairs agencies who have lost their lives in the line of duty. A moment of silence is observed. As president of the American Foreign Service Association, Barbara Stephenson helps organize the annual event. This year, she was set to enter a delegates’ lounge to brief Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on its choreography before appearing alongside him. Instead, she told me, she was shoved out of the room.

Stephenson, a former ambassador to Panama, is not used to being manhandled at the State Department she has served with distinction for more than three decades. She had been inclined to give Tillerson the benefit of the doubt. Transitions between administrations are seldom smooth, and Tillerson is a Washington neophyte, unversed in diplomacy, an oilman trying to build a relationship with an erratic boss, President Trump.

Still, that shove captured the rudeness and remoteness that have undermined trust at Foggy Bottom. Stephenson began to understand the many distressed people coming to her “asking if their service is still valued.” The lack of communication between the secretary and the rest of the building has been deeply disturbing.

An exodus is underway. Those who have departed include Nancy McEldowney, the director of the Foreign Service Institute until she retired last month, who described to me “a toxic, troubled environment and organization”; Dana Shell Smith, the former ambassador to Qatar, who said what was most striking was the “complete and utter disdain for our expertise”; and Jake Walles, a former ambassador to Tunisia with some 35 years of experience. “There’s just a slow unraveling of the institution,” he told me….

The Deep State War on Trump’s Foreign Policy Agenda

July 28, 2017

The Deep State War on Trump’s Foreign Policy Agenda, Front Page MagazineJoseph Klein, July 28, 2017

(Please see also, State Dept. in ‘Open War’ With White HouseA State Department Gone Rogue on Iran and Feds Spends Millions on Failed Program to Combat Extremism in America. — DM)

The State Department’s own “deep state” is trying to sabotage President Trump’s foreign policy agenda. From the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Iran, Qatar and climate change, the State Department, under Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, is reported to be in “open war” with the White House. Key high level positions remain vacant as Obama holdovers “continue running the show and formulating policy, where they have increasingly clashed with the White House’s own agenda,” according to the Free Beacon. Secretary Tillerson has reportedly run interference to protect the Obama holdovers from being removed, allowing resistance to President Trump’s foreign policy agenda to flourish within the State Department.

The first casualty of this internal coup by the State Department’s deep state is Israel. The shadow of the Obama administration’s anti-Israel bias was reflected in a report the State Department released on July 17, 2017 entitled Country Reports on Terrorism 2016. It praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for reiterating “his commitment to nonviolence, recognition of the State of Israel, and pursuit of an independent Palestinian state through peaceful means.” The report referred to what it called “significant steps during President Abbas’ tenure (2005 to date) to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank under its control do not create or disseminate content that incites violence.”

The State Department report brushed aside clear evidence of a continuing barrage of incendiary rhetoric appearing on official Palestinian Authority and Fatah social media outlets and of inflammatory statements by Palestinian officials, including Abbas himself. Instead, it claimed that the Palestinian Authority “has made progress in reducing official rhetoric that could be considered incitement to violence.”

The State Department report conveniently skipped over the fact that Abbas remains committed to paying regular salaries to Palestinian terrorists imprisoned for killing Jews and to terrorists’ families. Their perfidiously named “Martyrs Fund” has a treasure chest of about $300 million dollars. That blood money comes in part from foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, some of which is contributed by American taxpayers. President Trump has spoken out against the ‘pay to slay Jews’ terrorist payments, but the State Department has turned a blind eye. Obama holdover Stuart Jones, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, is reported to have steered Secretary Tillerson into making the erroneous claim that the Palestinian Authority had ceased spending U.S. taxpayer funds to pay terrorists, according to the Free Beacon’s sources.

After reciting the litany of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis, the State Department report held Israel largely responsible:

“Continued drivers of violence included a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive.”

Just a few hours after three members of an Israeli family were massacred by a Palestinian terrorist, a State Department official tried to defend the report’s conclusions on the drivers of Palestinian violence. The official sounded like a clinical psychologist or a social worker, declaring that there is “no one single pathway to violence—each individual’s path to terrorism is personalized, with certain commonalities.” This is the same type of irresponsible rhetoric used by the Obama administration in discussing the supposed root causes of what it called “violent extremism.”

The State Department has also carried over the Obama administration’s soft pedaling on Iran. Instead of presenting options to President Trump supporting a refusal to re-certify that Iran has complied with all of its obligations under the disastrous Obama nuclear deal with Iran, the State Department took Iran’s side. It recommended twice that President Trump sign certifications of Iran’s compliance. Deprived by the State Department of any analysis to the contrary, as he had requested, the president reluctantly signed the certifications in April and July. However, he has reportedly decided to sidestep the State Department going forward and rely instead on a White House team to prepare the way for refusing to sign the certification the next time it is presented to him. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, senior strategist Steve Bannon, and deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka opposed the State Department’s recommendation.

“The president assigned White House staffers with the task of preparing for the possibility of decertification for the 90-day review period that ends in October — a task he had previously given to Secretary Tillerson and the State Department,” a source close to the White House told Foreign Policy.

Foreign Policy quoted one senior State Department, speaking on condition of anonymity, as saying, “The White House, they see the State Department as ‘the swamp.’”

The State Department is a swamp infested with Obama holdovers such as Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, the former Iran director for Obama’s National Security Council, who helped push through the Iran deal. When she moved over to the State Department during the waning months of the Obama administration, she was assigned to oversee the Persian Gulf region policy planning portfolio, which included issues related to Iran. She continued in that high-level advisory position until April of this year, when she was re-assigned to the Office of Iranian Affairs. In other words, a strong supporter of the Iranian nuclear deal with a vested interest in its continuation was on Secretary of State Tillerson’s policy planning team. Secretary Tillerson no doubt relied on this tainted team for input into his decision to recommend the first certification signing last April. Ms. Nowrouzzadeh is still working on Iranian-related issues for the State Department where she can do some damage. However, at least she is no longer part of the Secretary of State’s brain trust.

The State Department has also sought to undercut President Trump’s sharp criticism of Qatar, a major state sponsor of Islamic terrorism. The president had tweeted that Qatar funds radical Islamists, which is demonstrably true. Nevertheless, the State Department contradicted President Trump’s observation.

“We recognize that Qatar has made some great efforts to stop financing of terror groups,” said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert at the June 6, 2017 briefing. “Our relationship with Qatar is strong.”

Dana Shell Smith, ambassador to Qatar until she left in late June, who believes that Qatar is a “great country,” was another Obama holdover. She was still the ambassador when the row over Qatar erupted. The day before Heather Nauert’s news briefing extolling Qatar’s supposed “great efforts to stop financing of terror groups,” the U.S. embassy in Qatar, still led by Dan Shell Smith, retweeted the following, which was originally tweeted during the Obama administration: “U.S. supports #Qatar’s efforts in combating terrorism financing & appreciates its role in coalition against ISIL.”

These sentiments are in direct contradiction to the views expressed by President Trump. Indeed, Smith had little use for President Trump and was not shy about saying so. Stationed in an autocratic country ruled by sharia law, she tweeted in May while still ambassador: “Increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home, knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions.” Did this Trump-hater ever once think that the very idea of democracy, religious tolerance and equal rights for women are alien concepts to begin with in a country like Qatar that she called “great”?

After Smith’s departure, the State Department continued its praise of Qatar for supposedly being a partner in the fight against terrorism. In the same Country Reports on Terrorism 2016, which praised Abbas and blamed Israel for creating the conditions that fostered Palestinian terrorism, the State Department lauded Qatar for collaborating “to foster closer regional and international cooperation on counterterrorism, law enforcement, and rule of law activities.”

Finally, there is the issue of climate change. President Trump decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change because it disadvantaged America economically. However, the Paris Agreement was the pride and joy of Secretary of State John Kerry’s State Department. Obama holdovers have remained at the State Department, in a position to do mischief to President Trump’s plans to extricate the United States from the bad climate change deal.

Within the bowels of the State Department, for example, is the Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change, which, according to its website, is responsible for developing, implementing, and overseeing U.S. international policy on climate change. Its website still boasts how it led the way “in the negotiations in Paris at the 21st Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (COP21).” The website goes on to praise the Paris Agreement as the “most ambitious climate accord ever negotiated.”  This website remains operational even though President Trump has reportedly decided not to name a special envoy for climate change. The United States deputy special envoy for climate change, Trigg Talley, who served as head of the U.S. delegation for negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, remains in office, however. The opportunity for the State Department to conduct a deep state war against the president’s climate change policies is a real threat unless the Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change is completely shut down.

There are other potential pockets of resistance to President Trump’s climate change policies inside the State Department, such as the Office of Global Change. It too should be shut down or sharply curtailed.

President Trump, not State Department bureaucrats, was elected by the American people. He should have the final say on policy matters within his scope of executive authority, which includes the setting of foreign policy priorities. Deep state saboteurs within the State Department and other government agencies need to be rooted out at once and removed from positions of influence where they can do harm to the president’s agenda.

McMaster Ousts Trump Adviser who Tried to Fire Obama Holdovers

July 27, 2017

McMaster Ousts Trump Adviser who Tried to Fire Obama Holdovers, The Point (Front Page Magazine), Daniel Greenfield, July 27, 2017

(We elected Trump to be our President. But who is running the Trump administration? — DM)

But Mattis and McMaster have forced out Derek Harvey. And it’s up to President Trump to act. Or to let the McMaster-Mattis swamp control his foreign policy. And make sure it’s Jeb Bush’s foreign policy.

President Trump can reverse his decision. Just as he overruled McMaster’s bid to replace Ezra Watnick-Cohen, the guy who outed the Obama spying on Trump’s people, with the woman who drafted the Benghazi talking points. Not to mention Mattis’ plan to bring in Hillary’s Secretary of Defense and the Muslim Broptherhood’s favorite woman.

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Derek Harvey was the key figure when it came to the Middle East. He was against the Iran Deal and the funding of Palestinian Authority terror. He called out Islamic Jihad. He tried to force out the Obama holdovers running our foreign policy. 

And now he’s gone.

McMaster’s purge at the NSC continues. Flynn’s people get forced out and replaced with establishment zombies. The Obama holdovers continue to run foreign policy. The swamp is now in full control of the NSC.

This one is a really big win for McMaster. And a great loss for America. It will set back our ability to fight Islamic terrorism. Iran, Al Qaeda and the Palestinian Authority are celebrating today.

President Trump can reverse his decision. Just as he overruled McMaster’s bid to replace Ezra Watnick-Cohen, the guy who outed the Obama spying on Trump’s people, with the woman who drafted the Benghazi talking points. Not to mention Mattis’ plan to bring in Hillary’s Secretary of Defense and the Muslim Broptherhood’s favorite woman.

But Mattis and McMaster have forced out Derek Harvey. And it’s up to President Trump to act. Or to let the McMaster-Mattis swamp control his foreign policy. And make sure it’s Jeb Bush’s foreign policy.

Derek Harvey, a top Middle East adviser to President Donald Trump, has been fired from his position at the National Security Council, effective today…

Two sources tell TWS that Harvey’s departure is not a direct result of the internecine staff fighting, but he was viewed by some top Trump aides as too close to Steve Bannon

Harvey has experience as an intelligence officer, as an analyst at military commands, American embassies, and in the Defense Intelligence Agency. He’s viewed as an out-of-the-box thinker who has shown a keen knack for identifying threats before they’ve matured.

Here’s how Bob Woodward described Harvey in his 2008 book The War Within:

“In the late 1980s, Harvey traveled throughout Iraq by taxicab—500 miles, village to village—interviewing locals, sleeping on mud floors with a shower curtain for a door. He [was] full of questions, intensely curious and entirely nonthreatening. After the 1991 Gulf War, when the CIA was predicting the inevitable fall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Harvey, then a major, insisted that Hussein would survive because members of the Sunni community knew their fortunes were tied to his. He was right. Months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Harvey wrote an intelligence paper declaring that al Qaeda and the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan posed a strategic threat to the United States.”

Harvey hasn’t been afraid to call out Islamic terrorism as a threat. And he was the point man for trying to force out the Obama holdovers.

That dispute was followed by a bigger one. Bannon and Trump, according to White House officials, pressed McMaster to fire a list of Obama holdovers at the National Security Council who were suspected of leaking to the press. The list of names was compiled by Derek Harvey, a former Defense Intelligence Agency colonel who was initially hired by Flynn. McMaster balked. He refused to fire anyone on the list and asserted that he had the authority to fire and hire National Security Council staff. He also argued that many of these appointees would be ending their rotation at the White House soon enough.

Instead the holdovers forced him out. McMaster and Mattis and Obama won. Again.

Harvey has been a firm opponent of the Iran Deal. He’s not perfect on Islam, but he has emphasized the theological connection to Islamic terrorism. And he tried to halt the funding of Palestinian Authority terrorism.

Haaretz has learned that Harvey – whose appointment was reported Thursday in The Wall Street Journal – was one of the officials who earlier this week instructed the U.S. State Department to issue a statement saying it was reexamining the outgoing administration’s decision to transfer $221 million to the Palestinian Authority during President Barack Obama’s last hours in office.

A government source described Harvey as “the new Rob Malley,” referring to the former Obama administration official who was in charge of Middle East affairs at the outgoing NSC.
But while Malley’s background was mostly academic and diplomatic, Harvey spent most of his adult life either in uniform or working for the intelligence community.

Harvey has also published articles and analyses, many of them critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy in the Middle East.

Harvey called to strengthen the U.S. relationship with Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. “Why won’t President Obama talk to Egyptian President Sisi [sic]? Sisi has taken on the threat of violent, intolerant Islamic jihadism at great personal risk. Obama will reconcile with the Castro brothers and Iranian Mullahs but won’t talk to a friend like President Sisi,” Harvey wrote.

“They’re ignoring the intelligence — and I think Secretary Kerry, I hate to say it, must be smoking dope,” Harvey was quoted as saying on “Newsmax Prime.” “He is not paying attention to the intelligence and he does not understand the enemy with his statements.”

The left hated Derek Harvey for his views.

Harvey shares Trump’s belief that in order for the United States to prevail in its fight against the self-declared Islamic State, al-Qaida, their various offshoots and a variety of other groups, American officials need to declare that the country is at war with “radical Islamic extremism” or the “radical jihadist agenda” or “militant Islam” — all of which he uses interchangeably. On his blog, which has been shut down since he joined the Trump administration, Harvey argued that Obama’s failure to do so hampered the effort against such groups.

It really is past time to drain the foreign policy swamp.