WASHINGTON ¬– Former national security officials are calling for the firing of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster as he steps up a purge of National Security Council officials who disagree with him but who share the foreign policy views of President Trump.
McMaster should be fired because of his “serial insubordination and personnel decisions” that “undermine” Trump, according to Frank Gaffney, who served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy under President Reagan.
McMaster has reportedly blocked an attempted purge of holdovers from the Obama administration within the National Security Council, or NSC, while removing a half-dozen key Trump loyalists, three in just the last three weeks.
Trump has apparently been kept in the dark about much of the purge of his allies in the NSC.
But as reports about it spilled into the press over recent weeks, the president, who met with McMaster on Thursday, has been considering replacing his national security adviser with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, according to the New York Times.
McMaster is increasingly out of synch with the president virtually across the board on key issues, including policies on ISIS, Syria, Russia, Afghanistan and Iran.
Sources told Politico the NSC chief has sought to “stay-the-course” on Bush and Obama policies “only to find fierce pushback from Trump himself.” Trump was particularly irate his advisers could not find a way to withdraw from Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, which McMaster supports.
“Everything the president wants to do, McMaster opposes,” a former senior official told the Daily Caller. “Trump wants to get us out of Afghanistan — McMaster wants to go in. Trump wants to get us out of Syria — McMaster wants to go in. Trump wants to deal with the China issue — McMaster doesn’t. Trump wants to deal with the Islam issue — McMaster doesn’t.” He added, “It is incredible to watch it happening right in front of your face. Absolutely stunning.”
Adding fuel to the fire, Circa reported Thursday that McMaster personally wrote a letter, without the president’s knowledge or consent, allowing Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, to keep her top-secret security clearance and unfettered access to classified information.
In June, Trump blasted the revelation that Rice was one of the Obama senior officials who unmasked the identities of members of his transition team targeted in the Russia probe, calling it evidence of surveillance on him by the previous administration and a “massive story.”
“I know that the president isn’t a big fan of what McMaster’s doing,” said a former official. “I don’t understand why he’s allowing a guy who is subverting his foreign policy at every turn to remain in place.” he added.
“Such disloyal and subversive behavior from McMaster includes undermining the President’s policies on virtually every important foreign and defense policy issue and purging staff members who support these issues, while retaining or hiring others – including large numbers of Obama holdovers – who do not,” said Gaffney in a press release from his organization, the Center for Security Policy.
His colleague, Clare Lopez, told WND, “The position of national security adviser to the president is too important to be held by someone so thoroughly at odds with both the president himself and his key national security policy positions.”
McMaster “obviously” does not agree with President Trump “on virtually any aspect of U.S. foreign policy, from Russia to the Middle East, especially Iran, Israel, or the GCC face-off against the new Islamic Jihad Axis of Iran, Qatar & Turkey,” added Lopez, who is vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy, after spending two decades in the field as a CIA operations officer and serving as an instructor for military intelligence and special forces.
Referring to the most recent analyst fired by McMaster, Lopez said, “Purging those NSC officials – like Rich Higgins – who are most knowledgeable about these issues, as well as aligned with the president, is enormously detrimental to U.S. national security and needs to be reversed under a national security adviser more in tune with President Trump’s own policy agenda.”
Former DHS frontline officer and intelligence expert Philip Haney is more than familiar with long-serving bureaucrats in the national security bureaucracy. Although highly decorated for his service, when the whistleblower tried to warn about specific terror threats, as well as the infiltration of jihadi-sympathizers within the government, he found himself under investigation by his own agency before retiring honorably last year.
Haney told WND “this is deja vu all over again” and the environment in the national security community “is very similar to what it was like under the Obama administration,” except that under the former president there was “the additional ominous awareness that any alleviating remedy was unlikely, if not totally impossible,” whereas Trump may reverse course.
As to whether the president will fire McMaster, Haney said, “My sense is that he is very aware of what is going on, and that he will do something, sooner than later.”
“President Trump is known to be an astute observer, but also known as someone who doesn’t give away a lot of clues to his what final decisions will be. He keeps people guessing,” added the DHS founding member, who is the author WND Book’s bestseller, “See Something, Say Nothing,” chronicling his experiences in the national security community.
This is how we got to the point where the president has a national security adviser who disagrees with him on virtually everything about national security.
According to Jerusalem Post managing editor and Mideast expert Caroline Glick, after previous National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned on Feb. 13, Trump, “under terrible pressure” to find a replacement, hired McMaster after a half-hour interview, and on the recommendation of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who also disagrees with the president on most key security issues.
Then, in his first meeting with entire NSC staff in February, McMaster declared the term “radical Islamic terrorism” not helpful because terrorists were “un-Islamic.”
That is the exact position taken by Obama and one repeatedly and explicitly ridiculed by Trump. It is a position that critics have noted would make the Islamic State not Islamic, by definition.
McMaster first protected the entrenched bureaucracy in the NSC, then began purging the Trump loyalists, a veteran GOP foreign policy hand told the Free Beacon.
The source said the reason McMaster didn’t want staffers using the word holdover was because “he didn’t want anyone pointing out how Obama loyalists were still in place, undermining President Trump, and leaking against him.”
The Free Beacon reported those holdover staffers are said to include “key NSC personnel who work directly for senior Obama aide Ben Rhodes, who has become a central suspect in the leaks of damaging classified information to the press.”
Indeed, the NSC has apparently leaked classified information to the press at such an unprecedented rate under McMaster, Congress issued a report warning of dire consequences.
McMaster has targeted Trump loyalists in his NSC staff purge because they largely disagree with him on every important policy, including those on Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, ISIS, climate change and Cuba.
More purges are said to be in the works.
Trump loyalists already removed or fired from the NSC:
- Derek Harvey, top Mideast adviser
- Rich Higgins, director of strategic planning
- Ezra Cohen-Watnick, senior official in the intelligence division
- Tera Dahl, deputy chief of staff
- KT McFarlane, deputy national security adviser
- Adam Lovinger, analyst and strategist
Harvey was removed by McMaster at the end of July for pushing to scrap the Iran deal, which Trump strongly wants to do. He may be reassigned to another job in the administration.
Higgins was fired last month for a memo warning of the Islamist/cultural Marxist nexus and the threat of globalists, and for urging the purge of Obama loyalists from the NSC. McMaster reportedly went on the “warpath” over the memo and fired Higgins after discovering the author by searching the NSC’s email system.
Cohen-Watnick was forced to resign last week when he reportedly lost the support of senior adviser Jared Kushner. The backing of the president’s son in law had kept Cohen-Watnick in his position when McMaster previously tried to fire him. A White House statement acknowledged his vision for the NSC conflicted with McMaster’s.
Dahl was reassigned to a position outside of the White House last month when McMaster wanted to replace her with his own appointee.
McFarlane, who had been in the NSC since the beginning of the Trump administration, was nudged out in April and offered the ambassadorship to Singapore.
Also leaving the NSC was Victoria Coates, senior director for strategic assessments, who was reassigned last week, reportedly at her request, to the Middle East peace team.
Additionally, top presidential adviser Steve Bannon was pushed out of the NSC principals committee after McMaster arrived.
Meanwhile, “top Obama officials continue to come and go in and out of the White House compound as they please,” according to Conservative Review.
That includes Obama’s “ISIS czar”, Robert Malley, who, for some reason, continues to brief National Security Council staff.
Shockingly, he reportedly even has been given the power to fire Trump loyalists on the NSC.
McMaster, Glick wrote: “[A]llows anti-Israel, pro-Muslim Brotherhood, pro-Iran Obama people like Robert Malley to walk around the NSC and tell people what to do and think. He has left Ben (reporters know nothing about foreign policy and I lied to sell them the Iran deal) Rhodes’ and Valerie Jarrett’s people in place.”
It may just as difficult to understand just why Trump hired McMaster as it is to predict whether he will keep the Army lieutenant general as his NSC chief.
The president said. “Sometimes he drives me nuts,” according to a White House official. “But there’s something about the guy I really like.”
On the other hand, now that Trump is reportedly considering replacing him with Pompeo, the president is also considering sending McMaster to Afghanistan.
That would be an ironic slap at McMaster because he has made it a personal mission to come up with a new strategy for Afghanistan and Trump hated it.
The president privately blasted McMaster’s scheme to send more troops to Afghanistan, then publicly said, “I want to find out why we’ve been there for 17 years.”