President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum Saturday that removed the nation’s top military and intelligence advisers as regular attendees of the National Security Council’s Principals Committee, the interagency forum that deals with policy issues affecting national security.
The executive measure established Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon as a regular attendee, whereas the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence will be allowed to participate only “where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.”
“This is unusual,” John Bellinger, an adjunct senior fellow in International and National Security Law at the Council on Foreign Relations and former legal adviser to the National Security Council, wrote on Saturday.
“Unusual” is not the word I would have used. But I can’t think of the right word. What’s the word that signifies “Holy shit these people are going to massively screw up the planet?” But that’s not even strong enough.
“In the Bush administration, Karl Rove would not attend NSC meetings,” Bellinger said. “According to former Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, President Bush did not want to appear, especially to the military, to insert domestic politics into national security decision-making.”
With his permanent seat at the NSC meetings, Bannon has been elevated above the director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, who was not offered an open invitation.
“The CIA Director is typically invited to NSC and Principals Committee meetings,” Bellinger said, though he added that President Barack Obama’s list of invitees to such meetings did not include the CIA director.
It had already been reported thatÂ Bannon, trust fund brat and felon by proxy son-in-law Jared Kushner, and anagram Reince Priebus comprised an informal “shadow national security council” that “sits atop the Trump transition teamâ€™s executive committee and has the final say on national-security personnel appointments.” And the State Department has already been relieved of senior management. So our foreign policy is now firmly in the hands of fools and amateurs, with no grown ups around to spoil the fun.