Posted tagged ‘McMaster’

McCain: Attacks on McMaster from “same purveyors of hatred and ignorance” as at Charlottesville

August 17, 2017

McCain: Attacks on McMaster from “same purveyors of hatred and ignorance” as at Charlottesville, Jihad Watch

(Please see also, VIDEO – H.R. McMaster: Muslim Terrorist Groups Are ‘Really Un-Islamic,’ ‘Irreligious. —  DM)

McCain, who defended Huma Abedin from legitimate questions about her Muslim Brotherhood ties by defaming those who were raising the questions as hatemongering “Islamophobes,” is now claiming that critics of NSA H.R. McMaster are all racists and neo-Nazis.

Someone should inform Senator McCain, but no one will, that there are plenty of critics of McMaster who abhor racism and Nazism, but are concerned about McMaster because of his denial and willful ignorance regarding the motivating ideology of the jihad threat, his hostility toward Israel, and his favorable stance toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. But routinely such concerns are buried under charges of “Islamophobia,” and McCain is just another functionary repeating the current acceptable political line. There isn’t any debate anymore, just demonization of opponents.

Meanwhile, President Trump should note that the defenders of McMaster include not only McCain but also Hamas-linked CAIR, and realize that this is indication enough in itself that he should be fired.

“John McCain takes on H.R. McMaster critics,” by Jeremy Diamond, CNN, August 14, 2017:

(CNN)Sen. John McCain on Monday slammed recent attacks on White House national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and called on President Donald Trump to speak out against the right-wing campaign targeting the top adviser.

“The recent attacks upon (McMaster) from the so-called ‘alt-right’ are disgraceful. Since this fringe movement cannot attract the support of decent Americans, it resorts to impugning the character of a good man and outstanding soldier who has served honorably in uniform and sacrificed more for our country than any of his detractors ever have,” McCain said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Such smear tactics should not be tolerated and deserve an emphatic response.”

“I hope the President will once again stand up for his national security adviser and denounce these repugnant attacks, which arise from the same purveyors of hatred and ignorance who precipitated the recent violence in Charlottesville,” McCain added.

McCain’s statement came as far-right leaders pushed new lines of attack against McMaster, which ranged from claims that he’s not a strong enough supporter of Israel to unfounded allegations that McMaster has a drinking problem — the latter promulgated by the far-right blogger Mike Cernovich.

The smear campaign is the latest effort by McMaster’s adversaries to undermine the national security adviser’s credibility as he has feuded internally with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, particularly over the war in Afghanistan. Bannon has privately denied any involvement in the anti-McMaster efforts, according to officials.

“The President directly expressed his support for Gen. McMaster from Bedminster last week,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said when asked if Trump had any additional comment to offer.

Trump last week expressed confidence in his national security adviser while taking questions at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, saying he “absolutely” had confidence in him.

“He’s our friend. He’s my friend. And he’s a very talented man. I like him and I respect him,” Trump said then….

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.”

Dina Habiv Powekk: McMaster’s Huma Abedin

August 11, 2017

Dina Habiv Powekk: McMaster’s Huma Abedin, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, August 11, 2017

The media had agitated for Hijazi because it served its agenda of opposing Sisi and supporting the Brotherhood. Bringing Hijazi to the White House appeared to serve the same agenda. She was meant as an object lesson to Trump that the real bad guys weren’t the Brotherhood, but the Egyptian military.

Hijazi was escorted back from Egypt by Dina Habib Powell. And Habib Powell was there sitting opposite Ivanka and Jared at the meeting with President Trump. In the media, Powell is often associated with Ivanka. And indeed, Ivanka posed with Hijazi in a widely circulated photo. But she is also so much more.

Dina Habib Powell was an influential figure in the Bush administration. The Egyptian-American immigrant had served as a gatekeeper for George W. Bush. If you wanted a job, you went through her. Barely 30, Habib Powell had more power than many of the big Bush era names you do know.

The swamp is deeper than most understand or imagine. When you come to the city of government buildings and lobbyists, it’s all around you. And if you take a wrong step, it sucks you in. The real power doesn’t belong to the politicians you elect, but to bureaucrats and staffers, to the people who, like Huma Abedin or Dina Habib Powell, are talented at knowing the right people.

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The media dubbed her the Republican Huma Abedin. She’s been one of the most powerful women in two Republican administrations. She’s friends with Valerie Jarrett. And you’ve never heard her name.

Flash back to the spring of this year.

Cameras flashed as Aya Hijazi sat next to President Trump. Media reports described her as an imprisoned rescue worker who had been released from Egypt after administration intervention.

Aya Hijazi was also the photogenic face of a campaign against the post-Brotherhood Egyptian government. If you believed the stories, Hijazi had learned French and Spanish while in prison. Photos showed her reading Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ behind bars. Snaps from that calculated photoshoot would be used to illustrate countless media sob stories about her plight in prison.

Mohamed Hassanein, her husband, received far less attention. As did the other arrested members of the Belady Foundation which had been accused of using street children in Muslim Brotherhood riots.

Aya’s cause was quickly taken up by all the usual suspects.

Hillary Clinton had met with President Sisi and called for Hijazi’s release. Rep. Gerry Connolly, the go-to guy for Muslim Brotherhood front groups, had blustered, “The Egyptian government mistakes American resolve.” Avril Haines, the former indie bookstore owner who had been appointed by Obama as Deputy Director of the CIA and Deputy National Security Advisor, despite having no relevant experience, met with Hijazi’s family and issued a statement demanding her release.

None of this meant that Hassanein and Hijazi were guilty of the charges. Politically they appeared to be closer to the left than to the Islamists. Hijazi hasn’t worn a hijab outside of her imprisonment.

But the larger question is whose interests were being served by bringing her to the White House?

In a PBS interview, Aya Hijazi challenged President Trump’s praise for Egypt’s leader. She accused him of keeping “thousands of wrongly imprisoned people” in prison. “It’s not just for fighting terrorism,” she insisted. And she made a point of correcting President Trump on the Muslim Brotherhood.

“It seemed like he had this idea that… it was at the time of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Hijazi said. “So, he was like, ‘So was your arrest — be at the time of the Brotherhood?’ And I said, no. And then he said, ‘Oh, it was at the time of Sisi.’ And he was taken aback. It seemed, like, different to what he had in mind.”

The media had agitated for Hijazi because it served its agenda of opposing Sisi and supporting the Brotherhood. Bringing Hijazi to the White House appeared to serve the same agenda. She was meant as an object lesson to Trump that the real bad guys weren’t the Brotherhood, but the Egyptian military.

Hijazi was escorted back from Egypt by Dina Habib Powell. And Habib Powell was there sitting opposite Ivanka and Jared at the meeting with President Trump. In the media, Powell is often associated with Ivanka. And indeed, Ivanka posed with Hijazi in a widely circulated photo. But she is also so much more.

Dina Habib Powell was an influential figure in the Bush administration. The Egyptian-American immigrant had served as a gatekeeper for George W. Bush. If you wanted a job, you went through her. Barely 30, Habib Powell had more power than many of the big Bush era names you do know.

Then she took on the mission of promoting America to the Muslim world at the State Department. There were cultural exchanges with Iran and money for Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. Afterward it was off to make millions through philanthropy at the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

When President Trump took office, Avril Haines was replaced by K. T. McFarland at the National Security Council. McFarland had worked at the Pentagon under Reagan and her views on Islamic terror were forthright.  “Global Islamist jihad is at war with all of Western Civilization,” she said after the Charlie Hebdo attacks. She called for profiling terrorists and an end to the big lie of political correctness.

“They have launched a guerrilla war against us in our own neighborhoods. They shout ‘Allahu Akbar, The Prophet is Avenged.’ We’re still calling it ‘workplace violence,’ ‘senseless killings’ or ‘man-caused disasters.’ Our leaders insist these are criminal acts, not acts of war.”

Of the Muslim Brotherhood, McFarland correctly pointed out that, “The Muslim Brotherhood was the godfather of al-Qaeda. The number 2 guy in al-Qaeda was Muslim Brotherhood.”

When Flynn was forced out and McMaster took over, there was no room for her views at the NSC.

At an NSC meeting, H.R. McMaster insisted that Islamic terror had nothing to do with Islam. The use of “radical Islamic terrorism” was a mistake. McFarland was in attendance.

Before long, McMaster had pushed out McFarland and replaced her with Dina Habib Powell.

Habib Powell had all the right friends. Like Valerie JarrettArianna Huffington praised the White House for bringing her in. Her ex-husband heads up Teneo Strategy: the organization created by the same man who made the Clinton Foundation happen and which employed Huma Abedin.

You could see her posing next to Huma, Arianna and a Saudi princess. You can see her photographed at the American Task Force of Palestine gala. The ATFP was originally Rashid Khalidi’s American Committee on JerusalemKhalidi was the former PLO spokesman at the center of the Obama tape scandal. And Habib Powell was there as a presenter at the Middle East Institute after a speech by the PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi.

Unlike McFarland, Habib Powell had no national security background. But though her parents were Christians, she had the “right” views on Islam. In Egypt, she had described how Bush after September 11 had, “visited a mosque, took off his shoes and paid his respects.” “I see the president talk of Islam as a religion of peace, I see him host an iftar every year.” Habib Powell had attended such an iftar dinner.

While President Trump fights to restrict Muslim immigration, back in the Bush era, Habib Powell had bragged on CNN, “Over 90% of student visas are now issued in under a week, and that is in the Middle East.”

Habib Powell has been described as the Republican Huma Abedin. And she was quoted as saying that Abedin “feels a deep responsibility to encourage more mutual understanding between her beliefs and culture and American culture.”

Within a short time, Habib Powell became the Senior Counselor for Economic Initiatives, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy and was being put forward as Chief of Staff. If Kelly doesn’t work out, the effort to move her up will resume. And then the gatekeeper will be back at the gate.

Dina Habib Powell is a deep part of the Republican establishment. Her top role at the NSC represents McMaster’s vision for our approach to Islam. And it’s an echo of the failed approach of the Bush years. Flynn made the NSC into a tool that matched Trump’s vision. McMaster is remaking it to match Jeb Bush’s vision.

The Hijazi stunt was the public manifestation of an effort to pull Trump away from President Sisi and guide him into the same old swamp of pushing democracy and political change in Egypt. There is worse taking place behind the scenes. The NSC purge of personnel who understand the threat of Islamic terrorism is not a mere political power struggle, it’s policy. McMaster is just the public face of it.

The swamp is deeper than most understand or imagine. When you come to the city of government buildings and lobbyists, it’s all around you. And if you take a wrong step, it sucks you in. The real power doesn’t belong to the politicians you elect, but to bureaucrats and staffers, to the people who, like Huma Abedin or Dina Habib Powell, are talented at knowing the right people.

When we talk about the swamp, it’s not an organization. It’s a way of life. If you’re not fighting the swamp all the time, if you don’t wake up resisting it and go to bed fighting free of it, you will drown in it.

Trump Endorsement: McMaster “A Good Man And Very Pro-Israel”

August 5, 2017

Trump Endorsement: McMaster “A Good Man And Very Pro-Israel”, Hot Air, Ed Morrissey, August 5, 2017

(Confused yet about McMaster? Please watch the videos. — DM)

The campaign to undermine H.R. McMaster may have backfired with its intended audience of one. Two former National Security Council members and some in conservative media tried to raise the alarm that the national security adviser has usurped Donald Trump on foreign policy.  Late last night, the president made it clear that McMaster’s not going to go anywhere, and that Trump’s not buying into the attacks regardless of the source:

President Trump gave H.R. McMaster a vote of confidence after the national security adviser’s rivals seized on a letter McMaster sent to his Obama predecessor Susan Rice giving her continued access to classified information.

McMaster’s letter, which his supporters said was routine, was apparently leaked to imply that the Army lieutenant general was helping Trump’s enemies. McMaster’s feud with other powerful camps inside the White House has been well-documented, and a recent spate of firings by McMaster appears to have ratcheted up tensions. But Trump issued a statement late Friday supporting McMaster.

“General McMaster and I are working very well together,” the statement read. “He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.”

Interestingly, the statement has yet to appear on the White House website. Nor has Trump tweeted about it, although he has yet to tweet about Jeff Sessions’ presser too, which is odd considering how much he publicly harangued the AG about prosecuting leakers. The statement as reported in the Fox story seems a little stiff and formal, too, as though someone wrote it for Trump for his approval. One has to see the calming hand of John Kelly in this development, the man on whom Trump now relies to lower the drama and get the administration back to business.

Still, Trump must have signed off on it, and the timing and one specific claim seem especially significant. The crescendo against McMaster was clearly intended to push the media-obsessed Trump into action, which worked — but not the way McMaster’s opponents hoped. The endorsement of McMaster’s pro-Israel stance is perhaps the strongest indication that Trump and his team want an end to the public attacks on McMaster, and that his critics may have overshot the hyperbole and conspiracy thinking. Painting him as an anti-Israel apologist for Islam was several bridges too far for any credibility.

One has to wonder now just what lies ahead for McMaster’s antagonists still remaining in the Trump administration. Instead of taking offense at McMaster’s supposed usurpation of his authority, Trump took credit for McMaster’s work and essentially put them in position of usurpers. The media-instigation tactic didn’t work, perhaps because it was soooooo obvious that Trump couldn’t help but see it coming … or Kelly, who’s likely to be another target of the tactic, explained it to the president. Get ready for a few more sudden departures over the next few weeks, unless they also suddenly make peace with McMaster.

Hugh Hewitt had a lengthy interview with the national security adviser this morning on Hugh’s new MSNBC show, covering a number of the same subjects on which McMaster was supposedly sideways with Trump. Contra the fever-swamp ramblings on McMaster, he’s no fan of the Iran deal, and tells Hugh no one should be surprised if Trump refuses to certify Tehran’s compliance in the near future, least of all the mullahocracy in charge there:

HH: Next review is in 90 days. Do you think the president is going to stay in the agreement 90 days?

HRM: Well, these reviews that come up every 90 days– these are internal reports to our Congress. And so they’re– they’re really two separate issues. Do we– do we certify that– that Iran is– is adhering to the deal? And we’re looking very hard at– at their adherence to it with– with our partners– and other signatories to– to the J.C.P.O.A. is what it’s called, the Iran nuclear deal. And then there– there’s also the question of whether or not you stay in the agreement, based on– on– on– on violations.

HH: Any prediction?

HRM: No– no– no predictions at all. I mean, we’re– we’re not prejudging this. We’re– we’re working hard at it every day. And we’re working hard on it as part of a broader approach to– to the problem of Iran, Iran’s destabilizing behavior, the humanitarian and political catastrophe they’re helping to perpetuate, along with, you know, the– those others responsible, including I.S.I.S.– and– and other ter– terrorist groups in the region. But I– I think Iran is behaving in a way that you could say is aimed at keeping the Arab world perpetually weak and enmeshed in conflict, so they can use this chaotic environment in the Middle East to advance their hegemonic aims. Their– their desire to– to dominate in the region.

HH: Should the Supreme Leader be surprised if the president withdraws from this agreement in the next six months, three months? Is it, would it be a shock to him?

HRM: You know, I don’t think it would be a shock to him or– or anybody, because the– the president has made clear that he will– he will judge whether or not Iran is– is sticking to this agreement based on the merits. And– and this president is not afraid to– to do what he sees is right for the security of the American people.

The biggest news out of this interview is how prepared Trump has become for a potential war on the Korean peninsula. A military freeze at this point is of no use, McMaster insists, because North Korea is already at the nuclear/ICBM “threshold.” The only option at this point is denuclearization, and we’re rapidly getting to a by any means necessary stage. McMaster even references the “just war doctrine” as part of their considerations:

HH: All right, let me switch if I can to North Korea, which is really pressing. And– and remind our audience, at the Aspen Institute ten days ago, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Joe Dunford, said, “There’s always a military– option. It would be horrific.” Lindsey Graham on Today Show earlier this week said– “We need to destroy the regime and their deterrent.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday, I believe, to North Korea, “You are leaving us no choice but to protect ourselves.” And then the Chairman of the Chief of Staff of the Army said, “Just because every choice is a bad choice doesn’t mean you don’t have to choose.” Are we looking at a preemptive strike? Are you trying to prepare us, you being collectively, the administration and people like Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton for a first strike North Korea?

HRM: Well, we really, what you’re asking is– is are we preparing plans for a preventive war, right? A war that would prevent North Korea from threatening the United States with a nuclear weapon. And the president’s been very clear about it. He said, “He’s not gonna tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States.” Look at the (UNINTEL) for that regime if it– if– if they have nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States. It’s intolerable from the president’s perspective. So– so of course, we have to provide all options to do that. And– and that includes a military option. Now, would we like to resolve it short of what would be a very costly war, in terms of– in terms of the suffering of mainly the South Korean people? The– the ability of– of that North– North Korean regime to hold the South hostage to conventional fire’s capabilities, artillery and so forth, Seoul being so close. We’re cognizant of all of that. And so what we have to do is– is everything we can to– to pressure this regime, to pressure Kim Jong-un and those around him such that they conclude, it is in their interest to denuclearize. And there are really I think three critical things, came out of the president’s very successful summit with– President Xi of China that were different– that were different from past efforts to work with China, which has always been, you know, the– the desire, right, to work with China– on the– on the North Korean problem. The three things that came out of that are, first of all, that North Korea, Kim Jong-un s– armed with nuclear weapons is a threat not only to the United States, not only to our great allies, Japan and South Korea, but also to China. So that’s a big acknowledgement. The second thing was that– was that, we’re, the goal– the goal of working together with them cannot be the so-called “freeze for freeze.” Where we freeze our– our– our training and then they freeze their program. Because they’re at a threshold capability now. Freeze for freeze doesn’t work anymore. Right? It’s– it’s intolerable. So the goal is denuclearization of the– of the peninsula. That’s the second big thing. The third big thing that came out of it is, China acknowledged they have tremendous coercive economic influence here. They may not have a great political relationship with Kim Jong-un. I mean, who does these days, right? But– but they recognize that they do have a great deal of agency and control over that situation. And so we are prioritizing Secretary of State in the lead obviously, prioritizing an effort to work with the Chinese. As the president has said, as the president has tweeted, right? We– we also though have to be prepared to walk down a path that assumes not as much help from China as we would like. …

HH: How concerned should the American people be that we are actually on the brink of a war with North Korea?

HRM: Well, I think– I think it’s– it’s impossible to overstate the danger associated with this. Right, the, so I think it’s impossible to overstate the danger associated with a rogue, brutal regime, I mean, who murdered his own brother with nerve agent in a p– in– in an airport. I mean– I mean, think– think about what he’s done– in terms of his– his own brutal repression of not only members of his regime but his own family.

That’s not going to make the isolationists any happier, but it’s clearly in line with Trump’s public rhetoric. This interview makes it even more clear that Trump and McMaster are on the same page — for now, anyway. While last night’s personal endorsement of McMaster should make those waging a campaign against him very nervous, McMaster shouldn’t assume that his confidence is perpetual, either.

 

 

 

A letter from H.R. McMaster said Susan Rice will keep her top-secret security clearance

August 3, 2017

A letter from H.R. McMaster said Susan Rice will keep her top-secret security clearance, CircaSara A. Carter, August 3, 2017

Almost one month after it was disclosed that former President Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice was unmasking members of President Trump’s team and other Americans, Trump’s own national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, sent an official letter giving her unfettered and continuing access to classified information and waiving her “need-to-know” requirement on anything she viewed or received during her tenure, Circa has confirmed.

The undated and unclassified letter from McMaster was sent in the mail to Rice’s home during the last week of April. Trump was not aware of the letter or McMaster’s decision, according to two Senior West Wing officials and an intelligence official, who spoke to Circa on condition that they not be named.

This is the letter from McMaster to Rice. Names, phone numbers and personal addresses have been blurred.

“I hereby waive the requirement that you must have a ‘need-to-know’ to access any classified information contained in items you ‘originated, reviewed, signed or received while serving,’ as National Security Adviser,” the letter said. The letter also states that the “NSC will continue to work with you to ensure the appropriate security clearance documentation remains on file to allow you access to classified information.”

Circa revealed in March that during President Obama’s tenure, top aides — including Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch — routinely reviewed intelligence reports received from the National Security Agency’s incidental intercepts of Americans abroad. They were doing so by taking advantage of rules Obama relaxed starting in 2011 to help the government better fight terrorism, espionage by foreign enemies and hacking threats, according to documents obtained by Circa.

In June, the House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Rice as part of the committee’s larger investigation into the unmasking of Americans under the Obama administration. Rice maintains that she never accessed the information inappropriately and has agreed to testify before the committee.

Under the law, and under certain conditions, it is common practice for some senior government officials to be given the unfettered access to classified information, and their “need to know” is waived under “Executive Order 13526 Section 4.4 Access by Historical Researchers and Certain Former Government Personnel.” But the White House officials told Circa that under the current congressional investigation, and given President Trump’s ongoing concern that members of his team were unmasked, Rice’s clearance should have been limited to congressional testimony only or revoked until the end of the investigation. Rice and Brennan have confirmed they sought the unredacted names of Americans in NSA-sourced intelligence reports, but insisted their requests were routine parts of their work and that they did nothing improper. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power also has legal authority to unmask officials.

In a June tweet, Trump called the revelation that Rice and other Obama senior officials were unmasking members of his team the “big story… the ‘unmasking and surveillance’ that took place during the Obama administration.”

“Basically, this letter which was signed in the last week of April undercuts the president’s assertion that Susan Rice’s unmasking activity was inappropriate. In essence, anybody who committed a violation as she did would not be given access to classified information,” said a senior West Wing official, who was shown the document by Circa and verified its authenticity. “In fact, they would have their security clearance and right to ‘need-to-know’ stripped.”

“The point is, is that it lowers the bar for her,” the Senior West Wing official said.

“This memo McMaster sent to Rice makes it so that she doesn’t have to prove a continuing ‘need-to-know’ to have access to classified information and in effect is a White House pardon of Susan Rice and could be used by other Obama officials who conducted targeted unmasking of the campaign as a defense,” the official added.

The White House has not responded to requests for comment.

An intelligence official told Circa “that the NSA decision to provide this level of access to the subject of several ongoing investigations and to waive her ‘need-to-know’ requirement raises serious legal, moral and ethical concerns.”

According to information obtained by Circa, dozens of times in 2016, those intelligence reports identified Americans who were directly intercepted talking to foreign sources or who were the subject of conversations between two or more monitored foreign figures.

Sometimes Americans’ names were officially unmasked; other times they were so specifically described in the reports that their identities were readily discernible. Among those cleared to request and consume unmasked NSA-based intelligence reports about U.S. citizens were Rice, his Brennan and Lynch.

Shortly after Circa released the redacted documents disclosing the change in rules, it was revealed that Power had also extensively requested permission to unmask American names in incidental foreign intercepts.

Trump reportedly thinking about making Mike Pompeo national security adviser, shipping H.R. McMaster to Afghanistan

August 3, 2017

Trump reportedly thinking about making Mike Pompeo national security adviser, shipping H.R. McMaster to Afghanistan, Washington ExaminerDaniel Chaitin, August 2, 2017

(Please see also, McMaster, On ‘Warpath,’ Purges Key Trump Allies From White House NSC. — DM)

President Trump is looking at shifting CIA Director Mike Pompeo to the White House as national security adviser, according to a report Wednesday evening.

The move would bump H.R. McMaster, the current national security adviser. McMaster, a three-star Army general, would in turn be sent to Afghanistan to command U.S. forces in that country, the New York Times reported, citing several unnamed administration officials. The move could help McMaster earn his fourth star.

Trump has reportedly expressed frustration with Gen. John Nicholson Jr., the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, because the U.S. and its allies are not “winning” the war there.

The White House shuffle, if it came to pass, would be the latest in a string of staffing changes, including the exit of Reince Priebus as chief of staff. He was replaced by John Kelly, a retired general who had been serving as secretary of homeland security.

McMaster too has overseen a National Security Council that has recently seen some people ousted.

McMaster was named national security adviser in February, replacing Michael Flynn after it was revealed he misled the administration about his communications with a Russian envoy. Pompeo, a former congressman from Kansas, was sworn in as CIA director in January, days after the inauguration.