Politics White House quietly trims dozens of national security experts

05:45  13 february  2020
05:45  13 february  2020 Source:   latimes.com

Millions of voters’ personal information is being bought and sold on the dark web

  Millions of voters’ personal information is being bought and sold on the dark web Rhode Island and Connecticut voter information is included in a massive dataset that has been sold dozens of times, sparking fears of identity theft and fraud.As of December 2019 — less than a year before voters will elect a President — dozens of anonymous users have purchased access to the file, which included voter registration data from 27 states including Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Every president since John Adams has occupied the White House , and the history of this building extends far beyond the construction of its walls. The White House is both the home of the President of the United States and his family, and a museum of American history.

White House Logo. Share. Economy. Policy (OSTP) to provide the President and others within the Executive Office of the President with advice on the scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of the economy, national security , homeland security , health, foreign relations, the environment, and

WASHINGTON — Six days before President Donald Trump chose Robert O’Brien as his national security adviser in September, the president said the job would be simple.

Donald Trump, Robert C. O'Brien are posing for a picture: President Donald Trump speaks as National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, right, listens in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on December 13, 2019.© Oliver Contreras/Sipa USA/TNS President Donald Trump speaks as National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, right, listens in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on December 13, 2019.

“You know why it’s easy?” Trump told reporters. “Because I make all the decisions. They don’t have to work.”

As a key White House adviser, O’Brien clearly works — but he meets Trump’s other job requirements: He avoids publicity, he gets out of the way on policy decisions and he dismisses employees Trump views as meddlesome.

‘Appalling’: Hillary Clinton rips Trump over likely ouster of Alexander Vindman

  ‘Appalling’: Hillary Clinton rips Trump over likely ouster of Alexander Vindman Hillary Clinton used Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s own words to condemn President Trump for reportedly planning to remove the Army lieutenant colonel who testified during impeachment from the National Security Council. © Provided by Washington ExaminerVindman, 44, could be removed from his position as a Ukrainian expert who leads European affairs at the National Security Council as early as Friday. Although the reassignment has not been finalized, several people have criticized Trump for planning to remove Vindman. Clinton, 72, used Vindman’s opening remarks from his impeachment testimony to blast Trump.

A joint letter from declaring “no factual basis” for the move could give states suing the White House a leg up. But having nearly 60 of the country’s most prominent national - security experts tear into Trump isn’t just an embarrassment for the White House ; the declaration could also prove handy for

The White House ’s handling of security clearances has drawn repeated scrutiny. The former national security adviser Michael Flynn maintained a security clearance even after lying to the FBI about his secret conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US, while Trump’s former staff secretary

Unlike his predecessors, John Bolton or H.R. McMaster, who pursued their own agendas or tried to block some of Trump’s impulses, O’Brien has taken a wrecking ball to parts of the National Security Council, the intelligence and foreign policy hub of the White House, to satisfy a president who doesn’t trust experts, is suspicious of career government employees and acts on his own whims.

Long before O’Brien had security guards escort Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in Trump’s impeachment case, and his twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, an ethics lawyer, out of the White House on Friday, O’Brien had dismissed or transferred about 70 people, or about one-third of those employed by or temporarily assigned to the NSC, according to senior administration officials.

Trump warns on impeachment payback: 'You'll see'

  Trump warns on impeachment payback: 'You'll see' Trump showed little sign of wanting to mend fences with Democrats, saying there is "a lot of evil on that side.""Should they expunge the impeachment in the House? They should because it was a hoax," Trump told reporters on the White House before departing on Marine One.

Get Involved. Contact the White House . Share National Security Council. Office of Management and Budget. Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Get official White House briefings, statements, and remarks from President Donald J. Trump and members of his Administration.

O’Brien told a Washington think tank Tuesday that his efforts to trim the staff would conclude this week, and aides said the final cuts would involve only a few more employees. O’Brien denied that his downsizing of the NSC was an effort to dismantle what Trump has called the “deep state.”

O’Brien said his primary aim isn’t to remove career government employees and other professionals in favor of Trump loyalists. But he conceded that the realignment has increased the proportion of politically appointed staffers.

“The president is entitled to a staff that he has confidence in and that he believes will execute his policies,” O’Brien, a former Los Angeles lawyer, said to the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan foreign policy think tank in Washington.

Former NSC employees view O’Brien’s cuts as damaging the White House ability to formulate, vet and coordinate U.S. policy on a broad array of fronts — while Trump often sees the professional staff as a roadblock.

Bolton reviewing letter from White House about manuscript

  Bolton reviewing letter from White House about manuscript Former national security adviser John Bolton's team on Friday accused the White House of trying to suppress his unpublished book after word surfaced that the National Security Council had sent him a letter expressing concerns that the manuscript contained classified information. The White House has been scrutinizing Bolton's book, which is due out next month, for classified materials as part of a standard pre-publication review process. SarahThe White House has been scrutinizing Bolton's book, which is due out next month, for classified materials as part of a standard pre-publication review process.

The White House kitchen is able to serve dinner to as many as 140 guests and hors d’oeuvres to more than 1,000. At various times in history, the White House has been known as the “President’s Palace,” the “President’s House ,” and the “Executive Mansion.”

THE ISSUE: More than a year into office, the Trump administration reportedly still has dozens of officials working under interim security clearances. In some cases, individuals with interim clearances had access to the nation ’s highest level of intelligence information under President Trump

Trump “has a high degree of paranoia that he has a bloated National Security Council full of deep-state minders who are there to undermine him, not to fulfill his national security policy,” said a former NSC official who was a political appointee under Trump, but was not among those removed involuntarily and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

“It sort of reflects a Trumpified version of government, which is you don’t really need a lot of staff,” said John Gans, author of “White House Warriors: How the National Security Council has Transformed the American Way of War.”

“It’s not about getting everybody in the room,” he added. Trump, he said, prefers to say that “we’ll make the decision and everybody else can catch up.”

Foreign policy veterans warn that the size and speed of O’Brien’s cuts have left a vital part of the White House ill-equipped to respond to crises like the spreading coronavirus, which has killed more than 1,000 people in China.

Others faulted the NSC for lacking a coordinated response to Trump’s shifting calls for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria, for its rocky efforts to limit Chinese tech giant Huawei’s growing role in global telecommunications infrastructure, and for the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani in Iraq, nearly sparking a war with Iran.

Judge delays former Trump aide Michael Flynn's sentencing — yet again

  Judge delays former Trump aide Michael Flynn's sentencing — yet again U.S. prosecutors had filed a request in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on Sunday asking the judge for more time in response to Flynn's efforts to withdraw his guilty plea. Also Sunday, prosecutors asked Sullivan to confirm that Flynn's claim — that his prior defense team gave him "ineffective" representation — meant that he has waived his right to attorney-client privilege with those lawyers.That request, if approved, could open the door for prosecutors to ask Flynn's former attorneys for testimony about their work for him."The Court hereby SUSPENDS the current briefing schedule concerning Mr.

Dozens of the nation ’s most senior Republican national security officials, many of them former top aides or cabinet members for President George W But particularly striking is how many of Ms. Rice’s closest aides at the White House and the State Department, including Philip Zelikow, Eliot A. Cohen

WASHINGTON — The White House is quietly lobbying House Republicans to weaken a bill overwhelmingly passed by the Senate last week that would slap tough new sanctions on Russia for its meddling in the 2016 election and allow Congress to block any future move by President Trump to lift

Trump’s disdain for traditional process was on full display during the House impeachment inquiry as career professionals from the NSC, the State Department and elsewhere described a shadow effort led by Trump’s private attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to prioritize Trump’s personal political goals over official U.S. policy in Ukraine.

Experts who keep close tabs on the NSC say Trump relies on the country and subject experts less than other presidents have done.

“You could have the best policy-making process in the world and you still have a president who acts on impulse and flies off the handle,” said Daniel Drezner, editor of “Avoiding Trivia: The Role of Strategic Planning in American Foreign Policy.”

“Some of this flows directly from the president wanting to do what he’s told he can’t do,” said Peter Feaver, who served on NSC staffs for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

The staffing cuts have strengthened some of Trump’s most loyal Cabinet officials, especially Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, who has played a greater role in defense decisions than his predecessors, and to a lesser extent Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, who leads Trump’s efforts to use economic sanctions and trade deals to pressure other nations, according to former officials and others who study the NSC.

Trump Adviser Says He’s ‘Reforming’ Staff After Vindman Ouster

  Trump Adviser Says He’s ‘Reforming’ Staff After Vindman Ouster President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said his staff was “bloated” when he took over last year and that he plans to reduce it to about 100 people, after an aide who testified in the House impeachment inquiry was dismissed on Friday. © Bloomberg Robert O'Brien, national security advisor, stands during a news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump, and Scott Morrison, Australia's prime minister, not pictured, in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.

The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington

The National Security Council (NSC) is the President's principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials. Since its inception under President Truman, the Council's function has been to advise and assist the

O’Brien took the job as national security adviser with a promise to reduce the NSC, offering himself to Trump as the antithesis of his immediate predecessor, Bolton, a veteran brawler with strong policy views who clashed with the president on Syria, North Korea and Iran, and left on acrimonious terms.

O’Brien’s promise to shrink his own fiefdom endeared him to Trump, and to Pompeo, who was O’Brien’s boss at the State Department, where he had worked as a hostage negotiator.

The NSC was formed after World War II to synthesize and coordinate the foreign policy and intelligence agencies that report to the White House. The national security adviser is supposed to serve as an honest broker among the factionalized bureaucracies.

As threats grew more complex and Congress and the public demanded a faster White House response to crises, the NSC steadily grew, peaking at more than 200 people under President Barack Obama.

Most of the staff members are analysts on loan from the State Department and the Pentagon, but the NSC also includes specialists from the CIA and other intelligence agencies, and the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury.

The career officials are usually led by the president’s political appointees, often creating a built-in friction and frequent turf wars.

Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, flamed out quickly and later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians. He is awaiting sentencing.

McMaster, who replaced Flynn, was a retired Army lieutenant general with a chest full of combat medals and other awards. He tried to run a traditional operation, holding large meetings and giving Trump lengthy policy presentations that the president grew to resent.

Trump's deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates leaving White House

  Trump's deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates leaving White House One of President Trump's longest-serving national security aides is leaving the White House soon to become a senior adviser at the Energy Department.

Nation -states do not only challenge us as strategic competitors. Rogue nations develop weapons of mass destruction even as stateless actors engage in jihad and terrorism. We are also in an intense economic competition with nations with whom we trade freely—yet our own free and fair trade often

Sources: McMaster could leave White House 02:00. Washington (CNN) With tensions flaring A search is quietly being conducted by the Pentagon to see if there is a four-star military job suited for Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned amid controversy over his contact

Bolton, who replaced McMaster, was a Fox News pundit and Republican archconservative dating back to the Reagan administration.

He was more proactive than McMaster, and sought to block or detour some of Trump’s initiatives. He was convinced that Trump’s nuclear talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would fail, and opposed Trump’s efforts to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.

Bolton favored smaller meetings so he could control the process, making as many policy decisions as he could “so they could run a relatively normal government with an abnormal president,” said Colin H. Kahl, who served on Obama’s NSC.

O’Brien spent much of his adult life as an attorney in private practice, serving as California managing partner of Arent Fox LLP for seven years, and is not known for strong views on foreign policy or national security issues.

He advised two candidates who had more establishment backing in the 2016 Republican primary — then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas — but he later impressed Trump by leading the State Department team that secured the release of several Americans detained abroad, including evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson from Turkey in 2018.

Unlike Bolton, who has a sarcastic edge and a bushy mustache, O’Brien speaks in understated tones and wears a neat pocket square to match his tie. By most accounts, Trump, who often judges people by how they look on television, finds him easy to be around.

But like all of Trump’s advisers, O’Brien is forced to adjust his public comments to match the president’s ever-changing claims and declarations.

That was apparent this week after Trump suggested Alexander Vindman, a highly decorated active-duty Army officer who was the top Ukraine expert at the NSC before he was ordered off the White House grounds last week, should be punished by the military for testifying under subpoena in the House impeachment inquiry.

“I obviously was unhappy with the job he did,” Trump told reporters Tuesday.

“That’s going to be up to the military, we’ll have to see, but if you look at what happened, they’re going to certainly, I would imagine, take a look at that,” he added.

The Army has reassigned Vindman to the Army War College, and his brother to the judge advocate’s office. Their lawyer, David Pressman, has angrily denied that either acted inappropriately, saying they followed the chain of command and were victimized for telling the truth.

In his comments at the Atlantic Council, however, O’Brien said that he had ordered the Vindman brothers out of the White House, saying their services “were no longer needed” and suggesting they had tried to usurp the president’s authority.

“We’re not some banana republic where lieutenant colonels get together and decide what the policy is or should be,” he said.


©2020 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Data breach hits US defense agency responsible for securing combat IT .
The hack targeted a system run by the Defense Information Systems Agency.The Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, is responsible for providing IT support to combat missions, in addition to securing White House communications, according to the agency's website.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

usr: 8
This is interesting!