When the National Security Council (NSC) was started by President Truman, the goal was very simple. This elite team of foreign policy and national security experts were there to both support and advise the President of the United States. To become a member of this team was an honor and the work was to be taken seriously. As a White House source explained:
“…the function of the Council has been to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies. The Council also serves as the President’s principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies.”
The current status of the NSC is hardly a representation of the honor of the position or the important role they play in supporting President Trump. Instead of upholding their duty to support the administration they are tasked with working under, the NSC is proving to be a biased and untrustworthy leftover from the Obama White House.
With over 60% of the current members of the NSC appointed during the Obama administration, it is evident they are not willing or able to perform their actual jobs. Instead, there have been direct actions made via leaks to hurt and undermined President Trump. This not only makes the President look bad but it also pulls the focus away from the true business at hand. Members of the NSC seem not to mind letting their petty dislike for Trump ahead of national security and foreign policies.
According to Sen. James Risch (R-R.I.), a member of the Senate intelligence committee:
“The real story here is, there’s a weasel here. And that is the person who reported about this conversation. This is a person who is a traitor. They betrayed their own country. They betrayed their families and their neighbors. And when you disclose classified information, classified conversations that you have access to, it is an act of treason.”
From somewhere within the NSC, one or more members of the group leaked highly sensitive information to the press. According to a report by ex-CIA Fred Fleitz, the leaks unfolded as follows:
“Earlier this week, “current and former” officials leaked to the Washington Post that Trump had discussed “highly classified” information with Russian officials last week.
A day later, an “associate” of former FBI Director James Comey told the New York Times that Comey allegedly wrote a memo saying Trump asked him to end his investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Then a “current and a former official” — presumably the same ones who talked to the Post —revealed to the New York Times that Israel was the source of the information Trump spoke with Russian officials about.”
Leaks from within the NSC focus on exposing problems in the current White House. This type of media manipulation is not what is supposed to be happening within this trusted group. This activity goes directly against the entire purpose. Fleitz went on to explain that many members of the NSC use what is called a “memcom” to formally document conversations.
A memcom is usually an internal document and not something made widely available. It is not an official White House stance, and it is not a definitive source of information. The leak of this type of document to the press undermines the essential core of the group’s work.
This kind of activity is not safe for any members of the team. Even many who are not the biggest fans of Trump understand the danger this type of activity can put everyone in. According to former House member Dennis Kucinich:
“We need to ask questions about why is this intelligence community trying to upend the President of the United States with these leaks?
Look, I disagree with President Trump on a number of issues, but on this one, there can only be one President and somebody in the intelligence community is trying to upend this President in order to pursue a policy direction that puts us in conflict with Russia. The question is why? and who? And we need to find out.”
With some of the members of the NSC obviously not able to do their jobs and advise President Trump, it is becoming apparent that they need to be relieved of their duties. It may not be as simple as firing the members though as there are strict policies in place. Each of the members of the NSC completed the confirmation process. According to Fleitz:
“I think the lesson here is that these things are going to continue to happen until the Trump White House does a serious housecleaning.
Now under civil service rules, it’s difficult to fire them and I’m not sure they should be fired, but they can be reassigned. And people who are going to promote the president’s policies rather than undermine them — he needs to put those people in place.”
It also may not be something that can happen overnight as there is currently only a budget to replace the staff members during the new budget cycle. This is set to start in September. Fleitz went on to explain:
“Concerning positions that require confirmation, you can put in people on an interim basis. Congress has no say over it. I don’t doubt Congress will try to slow roll trying to put in confirmed people, but they can’t be blocked.
The process has to start for many, many of these positions, hundreds of them, confirmed positions. There haven’t even been nominations. Their names have to be put forward, in front of the Senate, let the Democrats play their games, we’ll have them in place in a couple of months, maybe a few months.”
Even though it may be a tedious process to move the NSC forward, it is the key to national security. There is simply no room in any of the governmental offices for employees working against the system.