National Security

McMaster’s Obama holdovers, a second look

Featured image I’ve been critical of H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, and I continue to have reservations about him. However, I now believe that one of my posts on the subject was unfair and needs to be revisited. The post in question discussed Obama administration holdovers on McMaster’s staff. It was based on an article in the Daily Caller by Richard Pollock and Ethan Barton. Throughout the post, I tried »

McMaster’s Obama (don’t call them) holdovers

Featured image 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 »

Left-wing Dem backs McMaster [UPDATED: Media Matters weighs in]

Featured image Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, voiced his support for H.R. McMaster today. He attributed criticism of the national security adviser to the Russians. “They may not like his policies, what he’s advocating with the administration, or they may just be seeking to sow further discord among Trump administration officials, feeling that that would weaken the administration,” he opined. Schiff should know about trying to »

Is DOJ Going Soft On Leaks?

Featured image This morning on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about the administration’s determination to stop leaks, including criminal leaks that damage national security. The key question here is whether DOJ is willing to go after reporters who publish classified information in violation of the Espionage Act. As Scott has written, there is no obstacle under current law to prosecuting reporters and editors. But Rosenstein seemed »

When Bush begged the Times

Featured image Yesterday in “Is the Times a law unto itself?” I wrote that President Bush begged then New York Times managing editor Bill Keller not to publish the Pulitzer Prize-winning story by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau disclosing the existence of the National Security Agency’s Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP). Bush made his plea at a meeting with Keller, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. and then Times Washington bureau chief Philip Taubman »

McMaster’s supporters push back

Featured image National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster came in or criticism after he fired three staff members, all of whom are strongly pro-Israel and forceful opponents of the Iran nuclear deal. I gave voice to some of that criticism here. McMaster’s supporters are pushing back. Among them, at least for the time being, is President Trump. Hugh Hewitt characterizes McMaster’s critics as “a tiny slice” of “the alt right” and a »

McMaster purges pro-Israel, anti-Iran deal Trump loyalists

Featured image National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has fired three staff members in recent weeks. The three are Ezra Cohen-Watnick, senior director for intelligence; Derek Harvey, the NSC’s top Middle East adviser; and Rich Higgins, director for strategic planning. All three were aligned with Steve Bannon. Michael Warren of the Weekly Standard discusses the purge here. Glenn Thrush and Peter Baker of the New York Times discuss it here. Neither the Standard »

An attack by Trump “on the whole LGBT community”?

Featured image That’s how (minus the question mark) Steven Petrow, a gay Washington Post columnist, characterizes President Trump’s decision to reinstate the ban on transgender people in the military. This characterization tells us plenty about what’s wrong with leftist identity-politics. The question of whether transgender people should serve in the military is first and foremost a decision about how best to defend America militarily. The purpose of our armed forces is not »

Understanding the Awan connection

Featured image Scott wrote today about the “Awan connection” — a scandal, finally getting some attention, that involves House staffers with ties to Pakistan who are accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network. Interest in the scandal has been reinforced by the arrest of Imran Awan Monday evening as he was about to board a flight to Lahore, »

Trump resisters in robes, Part Two

Featured image The Fourth Circuit’s decision in the temporary travel ban broke new ground when it comes to judicial activism. I wrote about the decision in a post called “Trump Resisters in Robes.” John wrote about it in a post called “An Affront to the Rule of Law.” For additional criticism of the decision, I recommend this piece by Hans von Spakovsky and this one by David Rivkin and Lee Casey. Von »

About that DHS “draft report”

Featured image The AP breathlessly reports that a “DHS report disputes threat from banned nations.” The headline is false. The document in question isn’t a DHS report; it’s a draft document (as the story acknowledges) that someone in DHS leaked to the AP. The document in question is a three-pager that’s apparently based solely on open-source material. It may be something an anti-Trump bureaucrat threw together in order to embarrass the president »

German defense minister reinforces Trump’s reservations on NATO

Featured image President Trump sent his “A Team” to Europe to demonstrate America’s commitment to NATO. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Vice President Mike Pence all traveled to a major conference in Munich for that purpose. However, key European officials, along with honorary European John McCain, used the occasion to vent over Trump. Apparently, the Europeans would rather grandstand to their domestic audiences and demonstrate their moral »

Notes on Flynn’s ouster

Featured image I have a few thoughts about the resignation of Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn. First, I’m calling it an “ouster” because it appears to be the result of a campaign against him. Indeed, Eli Lake calls it a “political assassination.” Lake quotes Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House intelligence committee, as follows: “”First it’s Flynn, next it will be Kellyanne Conway, then it will be Steve Bannon, then it will »

Trump’s immigration order: myths and realities

Featured image Reasonable people can disagree about the wisdom of the Trump administration’s immigration order [NOTE: And the way it was implemented arguably left much to be desired]. But before agreeing or disagreeing, it’s important understand what the order does and does not do, and how it compares to recent policy. David French does a good job of separating the facts from the hysteria. For the hysteria, French cites the usual suspects: »

NATO general echoes Trump’s critique of NATO

Featured image Donald Trump has been criticized for declaring NATO obsolete. In my view, the truth of Trump’s statement depends on what he meant by “obsolete.” If Trump meant that NATO is no longer useful, I think he is wrong. If Trump meant, as he seemed to, that NATO needs to be revised and restructured, I think he is right. I’m not the only one. Michael Birnbaum of the Washington Post reports »

Trump acknowledges Russian election-related hacking efforts [Update: media dishonesty ensues]

Featured image President-elect Donald Trump was briefed today by senior intelligence officials who laid out their case regarding Russian cyber-intrusion into American politics, especially the recent presidential election. After the meeting, Trump acknowledged that Russia hacked the Democrats. He also said that Russia attempted to hack the Republicans. Here is his statement: I had a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the Intelligence Community this afternoon. I have tremendous respect »

GOP Senators bring clarity to the Russia election hacking debate

Featured image Yesterday, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on Russian hacking especially as it pertained to last year’s presidential election. Paul Kane, a liberal at the Washington Post, gives this account: Senate Republicans walked a tightrope Thursday trying to show their toughness against Vladi­mir Putin’s Russia without undermining the legitimacy of President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in November. Again and again during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Russian »