Posted tagged ‘Trump appointments’

Trump Administration Taps Sheriff David Clarke for DHS Role

May 17, 2017

Trump Administration Taps Sheriff David Clarke for DHS Role, Washington Free Beacon, May 17, 2017

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – FEBRUARY 23: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke speaks as part of a pannel discussion titled “When did World War III Begin? Part A: Threats at Home” during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Trump administration tapped Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke to serve as assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security for partnership and engagement.

Clarke, a tough-talking, conservative firebrand recognized by his penchant for cowboy hats, announced the appointment during an interview with a local Wisconsin radio station Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m both honored and humbled to be appointed to this position by [DHS Sec. John Kelly], working for the Trump administration in this position,” Clarke told WISN Milwaukee.

Clarke will begin in the position in June. The position does not require Senate confirmation.

Clarke, a Trump loyalist who served as a surrogate during the campaign, was one of three black speakers who endorsed President Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention. He is a vocal proponent of gun rights with close ties to the National Rifle Association.

His name has been floated as a possible replacement to former FBI Director James Comey, but the announcement Wednesday scraps those rumors.

Clarke’s brazenness and tendency to fire-off provocative, off-hand comments have contributed to his rise as one of Wisconsin’s most controversial political figures. The law-and-order sheriff has frequently told Black Lives Matters protesters to “stop trying to fix the police, fix the ghetto” and referred to Ferguson demonstrators as “vultures on a roadside carcass.”

Clarke is also facing scrutiny for the death of a mentally ill inmate who died of dehydration at the Milwaukee County Jail after being refused water for seven days. No criminal charges have been filed, but the case is under review by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office.

The 38-year-old man was one of four people, including the newborn of an inmate, who died last year at the jail overseen by Clarke.

The sheriff will replace the current acting assistant secretary John Barsa.

President Trump’s Executive Order Could Mean Huge Gov Downsizing

March 14, 2017

President Trump’s Executive Order Could Mean Huge Gov Downsizing, Front Page Magazine (The Point), Daniel Greenfield, March 14, 2017

[T]his could be the opening for a plan to dramatically transform and downsize the government in a common sense way. Much of this will be in the hands of the OMB director. That would be Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney was a conservative congressman with a business background and a reputation as a fiscal hawk. Now his report may very well remake the government.

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The Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch is bulky title. But its potential is even bigger. Here’s why.

Section 1.  Purpose.  This order is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch by directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies (as defined in section 551(1) of title 5, United States Code), components of agencies, and agency programs.

Note the agencies part.

Sec. 2.  Proposed Plan to Improve the Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Accountability of Federal Agencies, Including, as Appropriate, to Eliminate or Reorganize Unnecessary or Redundant Federal Agencies.  (a)  Within 180 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall submit to the Director a proposed plan to reorganize the agency, if appropriate, in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency.

And…

(d)  In developing the proposed plan described in subsection (c) of this section, the Director shall consider, in addition to any other relevant factors:

(i)    whether some or all of the functions of an agency, a component, or a program are appropriate for the Federal Government or would be better left to State or local governments or to the private sector through free enterprise;

(ii)   whether some or all of the functions of an agency, a component, or a program are redundant, including with those of another agency, component, or program;

(iii)  whether certain administrative capabilities necessary for operating an agency, a component, or a program are redundant with those of another agency, component, or program;

(iv)   whether the costs of continuing to operate an agency, a component, or a program are justified by the public benefits it provides; and

(v)    the costs of shutting down or merging agencies, components, or programs, including the costs of addressing the equities of affected agency staff.

In short, this could be the opening for a plan to dramatically transform and downsize the government in a common sense way. Much of this will be in the hands of the OMB director. That would be Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney was a conservative congressman with a business background and a reputation as a fiscal hawk. Now his report may very well remake the government.

 

 

David Friedman Approved as US Amb to Israel by Senate Comm

March 9, 2017

David Friedman Approved as US Amb to Israel by Senate Comm, The Jewish PressLori Lowenthal Marcus, March 9, 2017

David Friedman

The controversial – because so ardently pro-Israel – nominee to become the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday morning.

The contentious hearing on Friedman’s nomination took place back in mid-February. Since then, Friedman and his supporters have been biting their nails, waiting for the committee to vote on the nomination.

In the month between the committee hearing and Thursday’s vote, many U.S. organizations which deal with Israel worked actively to encourage Senators to vote in accordance with those organization’s values.

J Street, the prog-elite organization highly critical of Israel and especially Israel’s security efforts, worked overtime in an effort to derail Friedman’s nomination.

Firmly pro-Israel organizations such as Americans for a Safe Israel, EMET, Iron Dome Alliance, Jews Choose Trump, ZOA, COPMA and JCC Watch hand-delivered a letter to all members of the SFRC urging them to vote in favor of the nomination.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) did not take a position on Friedman’s nomination.

The vote in favor of Friedman went almost strictly along party lines. Almost, because Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ) once again voted his conscience and refused to be intimidated by party leadership. Menendez voted “aye” when his name was announced during the roll call vote on Thursday morning. The New Jersey Senator had also voted against approving the Nuclear Iran Deal which had become a highly partisan issue.

Committee member chair Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) spoke briefly before the vote. His endorsement was read without emotion from a prepared statement. Next to speak was the ranking committee member Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), who had already announced that he was going to vote against the nomination.

Cardin said the words Friedman had used in various op-eds which were extremely negative suggested to him that Friedman would not prove to be the “unifying force” needed in the region. The Maryland Senator was also critical of Friedman’s statements in opposition to the “Two State Solution.”

Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) also spoke against Friedman’s nomination. Both Senators took umbrage at Friedman’s past written criticisms of far left organizations and members of the U.S. government, including former President Barack Obama.

The four brief statements were then followed by a roll call which resulted in the voting out, with approval, of Friedman’s nomination.

The nomination now awaits a vote by the full Senate.

Kudos to Trump for Ignoring McMaster’s Advice Against Using Term ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’

March 4, 2017

Kudos to Trump for Ignoring McMaster’s Advice Against Using Term ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’, AlgemeinerRuthie Blum, March 3, 2017

(One of the good things about being the President is that you don’t have to follow the advice of your subordinates. — DM)

mcmasterH.R. McMaster with President Donald Trump. Photo: Twitter.

Kudos to Trump for doing it anyway and reassuring us that he has no intention of emulating Obama.

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Despite his impeccable military and other credentials, US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, began his job — the one he got as a result of the resignation of Gen. Michael Flynn — with a whimper. If reports are correct, McMaster told Trump last week that he should cease using the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” so as not to alienate Muslim-majority countries allied with the United States.

There were those of us who had argued, prior to Trump’s inauguration, that the only thing Americans and Israelis had to fear about the sui generis leader, if anything, was that he would end up more like his predecessor, Barack Obama, than the “alt-right” fanatic they were making him out to be.

“He’s not a fascist, a racist or an antisemite,” I would say confidently. “But he was, up until recently, a member of the Democratic Party.”

Once Trump started announcing his picks for cabinet and other positions, however, even the die-hard Republicans who initially froze over the fact of his leapfrogging over them to head their party thawed. Not only had the real estate magnate who talks from the cuff and shoots from the hip led them to sweeping victories in the House of Representatives and the Senate, but he began appointing real conservatives to top posts, including the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Flynn, with his staunch stance against Islamists in general and Iran in particular, was among this group. But since he left almost as soon as he assumed his job, someone had to be found to replace him. That person was McMaster, and he also seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

In his 1997 book Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam — written as a doctoral thesis — McMaster examined the failure of the White House and Joint Chiefs of Staff to provide a successful plan to defeat the North Vietnamese Army.

“The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of The New York Times, or on the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, DC, even before Americans assumed sole responsibility for the fighting in 1965 and before they realized the country was at war,” McMaster wrote.

It is thus odd that his first piece of advice to Trump was to suggest he tone down his rhetoric against the West’s sworn enemies, rather than coach him on how to put it into action.

So much has changed since the Vietnam debacle, both politically and militarily, but one thing remains the same: Democracies are always at a disadvantage when fighting rogue groups and states with no morals or rules of engagement.

Even Israel, whose government and military have had no choice but to confront the often impossible task of killing terrorists without resorting to their methods, is often at a loss when it comes to asymmetric warfare. But it does not hesitate to identify and call its enemies by name.

When Obama took office in January 2009, two days after the end of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in Gaza, he made it his business to reach out to radical Islamists, rather than defeat them. This move was born out of a dim view of American power and the accompanying belief that the US was hated by the mullah-led regime in Tehran and terrorist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood with good reason.

In keeping with this policy, Obama eliminated terms such as “radical Islam” and “terrorism” from his administration’s lexicon. Indeed, the self-described “leader from behind” of the free world tried to alter reality with a pencil eraser — all the while working furiously toward inking a nuclear deal with Iran.

The electoral ouster of the Democrats was due in large measure to the above. Why, then, would Trump’s national security adviser tell him not to mention it in his address to the joint session of Congress on Tuesday evening?

Kudos to Trump for doing it anyway and reassuring us that he has no intention of emulating Obama.

For White House Counterterror Adviser, Media Attacks Are Latest Theater of Battle

February 27, 2017

For White House Counterterror Adviser, Media Attacks Are Latest Theater of Battle, Washinton Free Beacon, February 27, 2017

Sean Hannity, Sebastian Gorka during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Hosted by the American Conservative Union, CPAC is an annual gathering of right wing politicians, commentators and their supporters. (Photo by Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto) *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***(Sipa via AP Images)Sebastian Gorka / AP

Today, Gorka sits at the apex of power in the White House as an aide to White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. As deputy assistant to the president, Gorka is the key national security figure on the Strategic Initiatives Group, currently led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and made up of mainly business experts.

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World War II bomber pilots liked to say if you’re not taking flak, you’re not over the target. By any measure, Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism adviser to President Donald Trump, is in the eye of an unprecedented flak storm from liberal press outlets. The enemy fire proves he must be doing something right thing.

“Look, these attacks are just too predictable,” Gorka said in an interview. “As they say in the military, ‘you’re only taking flak if you’re over the target.'”

For Gorka, the most revealing aspect of the many column inches devoted to the criticism is that “it’s never truly about our policies or the issues that matter most.”

“It’s always personal, always ad hominem,” he said in an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “That tells you all you need to know about the other side’s true weakness. They can’t win on the merits of their case, so they ‘play the man, not the ball.'”

For the new president, Gorka is an antidote to the politically correct counterterrorism policies of the past eight years under Barack Obama.

The shift has set off controversy. Several news articles about Gorka in recent weeks were laced with personnel attacks, innuendo, and caustic comments from critics. The media assault came from the upper levels of the mainstream press including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Other lesser publications such as Politico piled on. Vanity Fair labeled him Trump’s “jihad whisperer.”

All promoted a common—and to many observers false—narrative asserting that Gorka, deputy assistant to the president and member of the new Strategic Initiatives Group, is unqualified, anti-Islam, racist, fascist, or worse.

“I would be very concerned if the likes of Politico, the New York Times, and Washington Post were not attacking me. And Trump voters would be too,” Gorka said.

Gorka said the goals for the new Trump administration’s counterterrorism program and policies are simple. “As the president said [Friday] we will ‘obliterate’ groups like ISIS and wipe the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the earth,” he said.

The media attacks prompted friends and supporters of Gorka on Capitol Hill and in the military and special operations community to voice their support.

“The bottom line is Sebastian Gorka’s work is a necessary tool for all special operations forces in developing critical thinking,” said an Army special operations officer familiar with Gorka’s counterterrorism lectures in Tampa, Florida, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The officer said Gorka has been most valuable in helping hundreds of commandos properly identify and understand the nature of the threat posed by Islamist terrorists.

“Our biggest threat we face is tied to radical Islam,” the officer said. “We teach our Special Forces how to think, not what to think. [Gorka’s] speeches have been 100 percent factual and the reason he has spoken so often is that he has been able to connect with warrant officer candidates.”

“We’ve lived the last decade and a half of war and this is our lives. Having someone like Mr. Gorka who connects with our groups, gives us a solid foundation.”

Retired Army Lt. Gen. John M. Mulholland, a career Special Forces officer, said he has known Gorka from his counterterrorism lectures.

“Seb has always been first and foremost a patriot, dedicated to this country,” Mulholland said in an interview. “He has been very supportive to us in helping us understand the threat so we can apply our capabilities to support the nation against the unconventional warfare threat, in this case, the terrorism threat.”

Mulholland, former deputy commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, said Gorka has helped special operations commandos to better understand the terrorism threat environment.

“Seb is one of those guys we always turn to to help us understand the threat, and he’s a great friend and supporter of our community and our mission and in helping us in our own endeavor to master the environment,” he added.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, former commander of the Army Special Operations Command, also praised Gorka.

“What distinguished [Gorka] was the time he took to understand how the special operations soldiers, many who had multiple tours in the fight, saw the challenges and were dealing with them,” Cleveland said. “As a result, his instruction was crisp, relevant, and a useful part of their education on how to think about today’s threats, especially terrorism.”

Gorka also took part on some occasions on the commander’s advisory group sessions that included former senior civilian and military officials and academic experts.

“These events provided outside opinion on command doctrine and organizational proposals, and I greatly appreciated Dr. Gorka’s participation,” Cleveland said.

Retired Marine Corps. Col. Raymond C. Damm, a professor at Marine Corps University, said recent news stories attacking Gorka harkened back to a period “yellow journalism.”

“They were a hatchet job based on innuendo and painting a story a way you want it to be received,” Damm said.

Damm said Gorka taught at the Marine Corps University and “he made us better because he made us think.”

“Dr. Gorka can be polarizing because he does not follow the party line,” Damm said. However, Gorka helped Marines to better understand what motivates the terrorist threat. “And I am sorry, but being nice to them is not the answer,” Damm said. “They are scary and hate us because they have been taught to hate us their entire lives.  Iron sharpens iron. Dr. Gorka made us better while he was here.”

Stephen Sloan, professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma, said he has known Gorka since the 1990s.

“Over the years, I have served as an informal adviser on his dissertation and was one of his mentors as he pursued his career,” Sloan said. “Sebastian has always impressed me as a man of integrity who has strong feelings and is willing to state them. I believe his concerns about the threat of terrorism as to what he regards to be the new totalitarianism, in part, reflects his family history. His father was imprisoned and almost killed as a result of his opposition to Soviet occupation in Hungary.”

Sloan said Gorka has strong loyalties to America and is proud of his work with the U.S. military and “is concerned about meeting threats to U.S. national security. I appreciate and respect his dedication.”

Sloan said he does not agree with some of Trump’s policies and is concerned about Gorka’s views on how to respond to terrorism. “However, even though we may disagree during this time of intense political debate, I support his right to state his opinions without being condemned,” he said.

The unusual political attacks were not confined to newspapers. On social media, a little-known counterterrorism expert, Michael S. Smith, has launched verbal broadsides against Gorka on Twitter. Smith also tape recorded a call from the White House adviser questioning why Smith was criticizing Gorka so loudly when he had never met him.

The criticism prompted Rep. Robert Pittenger (R., N.C.), chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism, an advisory group Smith said he worked for, to issue a statement of support.

“Dr. Sebastian Gorka is a friend and trusted adviser on efforts to combat radical Islamic terrorism and increase the safety and security of American families,” Pittenger said in a statement.

Pittenger said Gorka has spoken to more than 600 parliamentarians from 60 nations on how to combat terrorism financing, money laundering, and other national security topics.

“Dr. Gorka has provided expert testimony at these forums and I applaud President Trump for bringing him to the White House,” he said.

Clark Fonda, an aide to Pittenger, said he knew Smith from the caucus. “We used to reject his input regularly,” he said. “I always found him to be unprofessional and a burden to work with, but I was absolutely stunned to see he would record a phone call and distribute it to Newsweek.”

Fonda said Smith also falsely billed himself as a current adviser to the Congressional Taskforce on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare headed by Pittenger.

“He never ever contributes to what we do,” he said. “I haven’t even spoken to him in the two years I’ve been here.”

Rep. Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) also backed Gorka. “I have followed the recent press and social media attacks against Dr. Sebastian Gorka and am compelled to respond with disgust at the attempt to libel this American patriot,” Franks said in a statement.

Franks criticized media attacks falsely labeling Gorka as anti-Semitic. “Having called upon his expertise on counterterrorism repeatedly in Congress and used his analysis to inform our work, I can attest that Dr. Gorka is the staunchest friend of Israel and the Jewish people,” he said.

“Sebastian Gorka’s service to the nation, his reputation, and his national security credentials are all unimpeachable and I am thrilled he is now serving in the White House as deputy assistant to President Donald J. Trump.”

Gorka has emerged in recent years as one of America’s most outspoken counterterrorism experts. He has been a professor of military theory at the Marine Corps University as well as a vice president of the Institute of World Politics.

His military consulting work has included frequent lectures at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in North Carolina and at the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida.

He also was a national security editor at Breitbart.com and is a frequent Fox News Channel contributor.

Today, Gorka sits at the apex of power in the White House as an aide to White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. As deputy assistant to the president, Gorka is the key national security figure on the Strategic Initiatives Group, currently led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and made up of mainly business experts.

The mission of the SIG, as it is called, is to provide the White House with greater long-term strategic options in coordination with the National Security Council that normally is focused on dealing with day-to-day issues and crises. It also brings in outside experts.

Gorka came to the attention of Donald Trump in 2015 and worked with the campaign. It was Gorka who is said to have helped Trump criticize the politically correct counterterrorism formulations of the Obama administration.

Obama demanded that government abandon the use of the term radical Islam. Instead, politically correct terms were ordered in describing terrorism, including “workplace violence” for domestic attacks, and “violent extremism”—all in an effort to avoid using the word, Islam.

Trump loudly proclaimed during the presidential campaign that the threat and enemy to be countered under his counterterrorism policies and programs would be radical Islamic terrorism.

Along with his wife, Katherine Gorka, who is an adviser at the Department of Homeland Security, the Gorkas are now one of the most important power couples in Washington.

Gorka is said to have been a key advocate for the Trump executive order banning travelers from seven states linked to terrorism.

For Gorka, the current state of international terrorism, including both al Qaeda and the Islamic State, are all part of what he has termed the “global jihadist movement” a totalitarian movement not unlike the Cold War ideological foe of Soviet communism.

The 2012 book, Fighting the Ideological War, co-edited by Katherine Gorka, includes a chapter by Gorka that seeks to identify radical Islamic terror’s threat doctrine and how to attack it.

“Although we have proven our capacity in the last 10 years kinetically to engage our enemy at the operational and tactical level with unsurpassed effectiveness, we have not even begun to take the war to al Qaeda at the strategic level of counter-ideology—to attack it at its heart—the ideology of global jihad,” he wrote.

Defeating global jihadism requires clearly understanding the enemy and then attacking its ideology, he argues, something that has been lacking in U.S. government efforts.

Gorka’s bestselling book, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, concludes that despite differences among the Islamic terror groups they all share a vision of an Islamic supremacist worldview that poses a danger to western civilization.

At a recent Heritage Foundation event, “iWar: Waging Warfare in the Information Age,” Gorka said U.S. operations against terrorism for the past 16 years have been “whack-a-mole”—finding and killing terrorist leaders that are replaced by others.

Gorka said critics who call his style of aggressive counterterrorism programs and their advocates “Islamophobes” are absolutely wrong.

“Half of my students were Muslim and are on the front line and paying a heavy price, more than we are in America,” he said. “This is a war inside Islam, a war for the heart of Islam—which version will be preeminent.”

The United States needs to help western-oriented Muslim states, like Jordan and Egypt, to help defeat the radical jihadists, Gorka says.

Gorka, 46, grew up in England and was part of an intelligence unit of the British Army Reserve. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Corvinus University in Budapest. He spent four years as a member of the faculty at the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall Center in Germany.

At the White House, Gorka is working to establish new strategies and policies he hopes will shift the focus to both military and intelligence to the counter-ideological realm.

One of the first steps said to be under consideration is declaring the Muslim Brotherhood, a key element of the global jihadist movement, to be a terrorist organization.

Under Obama, the U.S. government formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood as the U.S. government’s key alternative to be supported in the war against al Qaeda and later the Islamic State. A secret directive outlining the pro-Muslim Brotherhood policy, known as Presidential Study Directive-11, could be declassified in the future as a first step in the designation of the group as a terrorist organization.

Gorka’s outspoken views on terrorism and Islam and his high profile media appearances have made him a lightning rod for liberal left news outlets.

The New York Times falsely suggested Gorka, the British-born immigrant of Hungarian émigré parents, had Nazi sympathies—despite that fact that Gorka’s father fought against both the Nazis and the Communists in Hungary.

The Post sought to portray Gorka as a minor counterterrorism specialist on the “fringes” of Washington and sought out obscure critics to denounce him. One former CIA analyst told the newspaper he was “nuts” while knowing little about Gorka.

Politico‘s profile of Gorka quoted “puzzled” security experts who criticized him for his outspoken views on Islam, jihad, and the counterterrorism views that closely align with the new president.

The Wall Street Journal quoted numerous think tank terrorism experts who said they did not believe Gorka was part of the “mainstream” of experts.

Gorka said in the interview that victory needs to be defined in the war on terrorism.

“Personally, I want the black flag of jihad to become as despised around the globe as the black, red and white swastika flag of the Nazis is today,” he said. “Then we will have won.”

Newly Installed NSA McMaster Reassures National Security Staff: No Witch Hunts Coming

February 24, 2017

Newly Installed NSA McMaster Reassures National Security Staff: No Witch Hunts Coming, Washington Free Beacon, February 24, 2017

Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster listens as President Donald Trump makes the announcement at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. McMaster will be the new national security adviser. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster listens as President Donald Trump makes the announcement at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. McMaster will be the new national security adviser. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

To help with this effort, McMaster recommended several books meant to help current White House officials understand his own foreign policy vision.

One senior White House official who spoke to the Free Beacon described the reading list as pleasantly surprising and a vast departure from the former Obama administration’s own national security vision.

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Incoming White House National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster sought to reassure senior Trump administration officials during his first “all hands” staff meeting Thursday, according to those who attended the get together and told the Washington Free Beacon that McMaster informed staffers he does not intend to pursue a major shakeup of President Donald Trump’s national security team.

McMaster, who replaced Michael Flynn following his resignation last week, plans to navigate a vast departure from the Obama administration’s foreign policy vision, according to senior White House officials who described the meeting as “reassuring.” McMaster emphasized that he will not dismantle the team that Flynn had built.

As part of his discussion with White House national security staff, McMaster recommended a comprehensive reading list that included President Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” and several other tomes by leading historians about how to get the upper hand on America’s enemies. White House staff are said to have been mostly “thrilled” when hearing about the book list.

Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about McMaster’s vision, as laid out in the Thursday meeting, expressed optimism about his appointment and pushed back on what they described as false media narratives centered around White House disarray following Flynn’s departure.

“It’s no secret we’ve had a few more all-hands meetings than we intended in our first month—but General McMaster used this event to both reassure the NSC staff and to give us the tools to continue the mission,” said one senior White House National Security Council official who requested anonymity while discussing internal White House meetings.

McMaster explicitly told White House officials that he does not aim to dismantle Trump’s foreign policy team or push out those perceived as still loyal to Flynn. These comments run counter to a recent New York Times report claiming that McMaster is pursuing a massive reorganization of the president’s national security team.

“He made it clear he wasn’t there to grind a political axe or engage in a witch hunt,” the senior White House official said. “He was there to provide leadership, including direction on how to think about the task in front of us.”

To help with this effort, McMaster recommended several books meant to help current White House officials understand his own foreign policy vision.

One senior White House official who spoke to the Free Beacon described the reading list as pleasantly surprising and a vast departure from the former Obama administration’s own national security vision.

In addition to Trump’s “Art of the Deal,” McMaster recommended reading his own book, “Dereliction of Duty,” which catalogues the mistakes that led the United States into a quagmire in Vietnam.

He also requested that White House staffers read Peter Rodman’s “Presidential Command,” which McMaster reportedly referred to as the “gold standard” in foreign policy history. Rodman was an top official in the Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and both Bush administrations.

Senior White House staff are said to have found the mention of the book “very reassuring.”

“It’s certainly encouraging to see General McMaster highlighting his legacy,” one source said.

McMaster went on to further recommend two books by Zachary Shore, a historian and international conflict expert who teaches at the Naval Postgraduate School.

One Shore book, “Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions,” was described as “a cautionary tale for the staff” at the White House. The other, “A Sense of the Enemy,” examines methods to overtake rival forces.

Lastly, McMaster recommended staff read an essay by Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan titled, “The Rhyme of History,” which tackles lessons from World War I.

Senior White House officials who took part in the meeting described the reading list as encouraging and part of an effort to restore conservative principals focused primarily on defending the U.S.’s best interests.

The mention of MacMillan’s essay in particular “suggests General McMaster does not consider the 21st century a sort of post-historical bubble, but rather that there is a great deal to be learned from history as we chart our path forward,” said one official who described McMaster as advocating a wholesale reversal from the Obama administration’s vision.

Several historians currently serve on the White House’s national security team, including Col. Derek Harvey, a former advisor to Gen. David Petraeus; Michael Anton, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, and Victoria Coates, a former top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and art historian.

Champagne time: it’s a “bloodbath” at the State Department

February 17, 2017

Champagne time: it’s a “bloodbath” at the State Department, Jihad Watch

(Next? How about the “intelligence community?” — DM)

Break out the hats and hooters: the failed State Department establishment, which has applied and reapplied and reapplied again failed policies that have been shown to be based on false analysis time and time again (Poverty causes terrorism! Islam is a religion of peace!), is finally being cleaned out. May this swamp-draining long continue.

rex-tillerson

“It’s a bloodbath at the State Department,” New York Post, February 17, 2017:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is cleaning house at the State Department, according to a report.

Staffers in the offices of deputy secretary of state for management and resources as well as counselor were shown the door Thursday, according to CBS News.

Many of those let go were on the building’s seventh floor — top-floor bigs — a symbolically important sign to the rest of the diplomatic corps that their new boss has different priorities than the last one.

The staffing changes came as Tillerson was on his first foreign trip — attending a G-20 meeting in Bonn, Germany.

“As part of the transition from one administration to the next, we continue to build out our team. The State Department is supported by a very talented group of individuals, both Republicans and Democrats,” State Department spokesman RC Hammond told CBS.

“We are appreciative to any American who dedicates their talents to public,” he added.

This week’s round of firings marks the second time State Department personnel have been cleared out since President Trump took office last month.

Four top officials were cleared out of the building at the end of January….