When President Trump took office in 2017, the White House’s National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense survived the transition intact. Its mission was the same as when I was asked to lead the office, established after the Ebola epidemic of 2014. One year later, I was mystified when the White House dissolved the office, leaving the country less prepared for pandemics like covid-19.
When President Trump announced on Sunday morning that Islamic State founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died during a U.S. military operation in Syria, he thanked the Russians for their help while explaining that he kept Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the dark because he was afraid of leaks.
Footage of the US special forces raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Syrian compound reportedly consisted of overhead surveillance footage and no audio, prompting questions over the extent of the dramatic licence taken by Donald Trump in describing the final moments of one of the most wanted terrorists in the world.
President Trump acknowledged on Sunday that he discussed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with Ukraine’s president as Democrats ramped up calls for an investigation into whether he improperly pressured a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent.
Donald Trump’s promise to a foreign leader so troubled an official in the US intelligence community that it prompted the person to file a whistleblower complaint, according to multiple media reports. Speculation in Washington was at fever pitch on Thursday over which leader Trump was speaking to and what promise he made. The substance of the complaint remained a mystery.
Fueled by the growing demonization of migrants, as well as ongoing fears of foreign terrorism, the U.S. borderlands have become laboratories for new systems of enforcement and control. Firsthand reporting, interviews, and a review of documents for this story provide a window into the high-tech surveillance apparatus CBP is building in the name of deterring illicit migration — and highlight how these same systems often end up targeting other marginalized populations as well as political dissidents.
Critics of a Kremlin-linked industrial giant investing $200 million in a new aluminum plant in Kentucky say it gives Moscow political influence that could undermine national security. Pointing to Moscow’s use of economic leverage to sway European politics, they warn the deal is a stalking horse for a new kind of Russian meddling in America, one that exploits the U.S. free-market system instead of its elections.
President Trump announced on Sunday that Dan Coats will step down as director of national intelligence after a tenure in which the two were often at odds over Russia, North Korea and the president’s own attacks on the intelligence community.“I am pleased to announce that highly respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas will be nominated by me to be the Director of National Intelligence,” Mr. Trump tweeted.
One of America’s major political parties may not yet be willing to acknowledge that climate change is real, but it is already having significant effects on the U.S. military. Flooding in Nebraska and a hurricane in Florida that damaged military installations led to a recent Pentagon request of $5 billion in relief money. Now Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., are calling on the Government Accountability Office to assess military contractors’ vulnerability to climate risks.
A White House whistleblower told lawmakers that more than two dozen denials for security clearances have been overturned during the Trump administration, calling Congress her “last hope” for addressing what she considers improper conduct that has left the nation’s secrets exposed.
President Trump ordered his chief of staff to grant his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, a top-secret security clearance last year, overruling concerns flagged by intelligence officials and the White House’s top lawyer, four people briefed on the matter said.
President Trump is preparing to establish a panel to examine how climate change affects national security, and will include a White House adviser whose views are sharply at odds with the established scientific consensus that human-caused global warming poses a threat to the nation’s economy, health and security.
China’s flagship tech company Huawei is the first Chinese company to establish global dominance in a game-changing technology, namely 5G mobile broadband. Washington’s efforts to thwart Huawei’s rise simply are an after-the-fact charade by the US national security establishment to deflect blame for a catastrophic policy failure. With a wink and a nudge, the rest of the world will humor the United States, and continue to do business with the Chinese giant.
With the record-long government shutdown over President Donald Trump's demand for border wall funding now in its fourth week, an official representing the National Air Traffic Controllers Association appeared on CNN on Wednesday to issue an alarming warning: Flying is "absolutely" less safe now than it was before the shutdown began.
Reminding the world that he is, as one critic put it, "a reckless advocate of military force," the Wall Street Journal revealed on Sunday that President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton "asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran last year, generating concern at the Pentagon and State Department."
As President Trump escalated his attacks and threats against the Central American migrant caravans making their way to the U.S.-Mexico border, the Trump administration unveiled new sanctions against Venezuela and Cuba on Thursday. National security adviser John Bolton declared Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua to be part of a “troika of tyranny” and a “triangle of terror.”
John Bolton, the hawkish US national security adviser, has threatened the international criminal court (ICC) with sanctions and made an excoriating attack on the institution in a speech in Washington. Bolton pushed for sanctions over an ICC investigation into alleged American war crimes in Afghanistan. He also announced on Monday the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington because of its calls for an ICC inquiry into Israel.
A bipartisan group of more than a dozen former intelligence directors, plus retired Adm. William H. McRaven, spoke out against the president’s move. On Aug. 17, they were joined by another 60 officials, and over 170 added their names on Aug. 20. Here’s an non-exhaustive list of major figures who have voiced their support for Brennan.
President Donald Trump is increasingly venting frustration to his national security team about the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and showing renewed interest in a proposal by Blackwater founder Erik Prince to privatize the war, current and former senior administration officials said.
Two days after President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian officials offered a string of assertions about what the two leaders had achieved. “Important verbal agreements” were reached at the Helsinki meeting, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday, including preservation of the New Start and INF agreements, major bilateral arms control treaties whose futures have been in question. Antonov also said that Putin had made “specific and interesting proposals to Washington” on how the two countries could cooperate on Syria.
Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser and President Trump’s son-in-law, lacks the security clearance level required to review some of the government’s most sensitive secrets. When White House security officials granted him a permanent clearance in late May, he was granted only “top secret” status — a level that does not allow him to see some of the country’s most closely guarded intelligence, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss security issues.
The Trump administration on Monday ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian intelligence and diplomatic officers in New York and Washington and the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle, joining European allies in retaliation for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.
Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the battle-tested Army officer tapped as President Trump’s national security adviser last year to stabilize a turbulent foreign policy operation, will resign and be replaced by John R. Bolton, a hard-line former United States ambassador to the United Nations, White House officials said Thursday.
Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is resisting giving up his access to highly classified information, prompting an internal struggle with John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, over who should be allowed to see some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets, according to White House officials and others briefed on the matter.
In a letter to Mr. Tillerson last week, Democratic members of the House Foreign Relations Committee, citing what they said was “the exodus of more than 100 senior Foreign Service officers from the State Department since January,” expressed concern about “what appears to be the intentional hollowing-out of our senior diplomatic ranks.”
On Monday, as the Department of Homeland Security prepared to extend the residency permits of tens of thousands of Hondurans living in the United States, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly called acting secretary Elaine Duke to pressure her to expel them, according to current and former administration officials.
Actions by President Trump and his administration have created a historic ethics crisis, the departing head of the Office of Government Ethics said. He called for major changes in federal law to expand the power and reach of the oversight office and combat the threat. Walter M. Shaub Jr., who is resigning as the federal government’s top ethics watchdog on Tuesday, said the Trump administration had flouted or directly challenged long-accepted norms in a way that threatened to undermine the United States’ ethical standards, which have been admired around the world.
Senior officials across the government became convinced in January that the incoming national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, had become vulnerable to Russian blackmail. At the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — agencies responsible for keeping American secrets safe from foreign spies — career officials agreed that Mr. Flynn represented an urgent problem. Yet nearly every day for three weeks, the new C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, sat in the Oval Office and briefed President Trump on the nation’s most sensitive intelligence — with Mr. Flynn listening.
President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement has come under attack from elected officials across the United States and the CEOs of some of America's biggest companies. But it’s also likely to cause anger and unease at a surprising place: the Pentagon. That’s because some of the Defense Department’s top officials have already expressed their fears that a warming planet poses serious threats to the US. Defense Secretary James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee that climate change would make the world less stable and require the entire government to curb it.
President Eisenhower warned our nation during his farewell address to be very wary of the military industrial complex and its encroachment on civil society. The moment when the best interests of defense contractors start determining what is in the national security interest of our country, the tail has begun to wag the dog. This is the concern of Rand Paul, regarding the recent arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials. Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.
Israel is one of the United States’ most important allies and a major intelligence collector in the Middle East. The revelation that Mr. Trump boasted about some of Israel’s most sensitive information to the Russians could damage the relationship between the two countries. It also raises the possibility that the information could be passed to Iran, Russia’s close ally and Israel’s main threat in the Middle East.
The president was boasting of the “great intel” he receives when he discussed intelligence provided by a U.S. partner. “This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”
Donald Trump won't stop claiming that the Russia story is fake news and a hoax cooked up by Democratic sore losers. And to back up his claim he (and his White House crew) keep citing former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Yet on Friday, Clapper essentially said that the president has been brazenly misrepresenting his words and that he was no defense witness for Trump.
A photographer for a Russian state-owned news agency was allowed into the Oval Office on Wednesday during President Trump’s meeting with Russian diplomats, a level of access that was criticized by former U.S. intelligence officials as a potential security breach. The officials cited the danger that a listening device or other surveillance equipment could have been brought into the Oval Office while hidden in cameras or other electronics. Former U.S. intelligence officials raised questions after photos of Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were posted online by the Tass news agency.
The UK government was given details last December of allegedly extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow, according to court papers.Reports by Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer, on possible collusion between the the Trump camp and the Kremlin are at the centre of a political storm in the US over Moscow’s role in getting Donald Trump elected.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord told staff this week she is leaving to pursue other opportunities. McCord has led the probe into Russian election meddling. Mary B. McCord has served at the highest levels in the national security unit, either as its leader or chief deputy, for the past three years. A longtime federal prosecutor based in Washington, McCord easily won the confidence of both career lawyers and her supervisors inside the Justice Department.
HR McMaster has shown himself to be an accomplished military strategist and an adept White House infighter. People close to McMaster say that an early priority for the three-star general was to marginalise Bannon and re-empower the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and director of national intelligence, whose places on the principals’ committee of the national security council Bannon had taken. At a stroke, McMaster accomplished that this week, establishing his supremacy over the homeland security and economic councils for good measure, and cementing his alliances with joint chiefs chairman General Joe Dunford and intelligence chief Dan Coats.
Sally Yates’s tenure as the Trump administration’s acting attorney general was short-lived but eventful. A holdover from the Obama Justice Department, Yates didn’t make it two weeks before she was dismissed for refusing to defend Trump’s first travel ban. But before she departed, she warned White House counsel Donald McGahn that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had misled his superiors about his preelection conversation with the Russian ambassador to the United States. Weeks later, word of that warning leaked to the press — and Flynn promptly resigned.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Saturday signed sweeping guidelines giving federal authorities more power to aggressively detain and deport illegal immigrants, The Washington Post reports. According to the report, Kelly detailed plans in a pair of memos to hire thousands of new enforcement agents, widen the classification of immigrants who should be prioritized for removal, speed up deportation hearings and use local law enforcement to make arrests.
Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser has rejected the post days after Michael Flynn was forced to resign. Vice Admiral Robert S Harward visits Zaranj, Afghanistan on January 6, 2011. Shawn Coolman/US Marines via Reuters
hese are chaotic and anxious days inside the National Security Council, the traditional center of management for a president’s dealings with an uncertain world.Three weeks into the Trump administration, council staff members get up in the morning, read President Trump’s Twitter posts and struggle to make policy to fit them. Most are kept in the dark about what Mr. Trump tells foreign leaders in his phone calls. Some staff members have turned to encrypted communications to talk with their colleagues, after hearing that Mr. Trump’s top advisers are considering an “insider threat” program that could result in monitoring cellphones and emails for leaks.
National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said.
Michael Anton, a senior national security official in the Trump administration wrote under a pseudonym last year that Islam is an inherently violent religion that is “incompatible with the modern West,” defended the World War II-era America First Committee, which included anti-Semites, as “unfairly maligned,” and called diversity “a source of weakness, tension and disunion.”
The president named Bannon to the council in a reorganization of the NSC. He also said his chief-of-staff Reince Priebus would have a seat in the meetings. During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington, which he depicted as a city rife with unscrupulous lobbyists and corrupt career politicians. Since election day he has drawn criticism, however, by relying on lobbyists to advise his transition team, by stocking the government with potentialconflicts of interest, and by refusing to divest or publicly account for his own ethics risks.
The Obama administration has written 275 briefing papers for the incoming Trump administration: nearly 1,000 pages of classified material on North Korea’s nuclear program, the military campaign against the Islamic State, tensions in the South China Sea, and every other kind of threat the new team could face in its first weeks in office.