National Security Council Reshuffle, Muslim Ban: ISIS

 

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Jan 29, 2017 (San Diego) Overnight the National Security Council was shuffled, Generally speaking, this is the kind of minutiae that really does not matter. Pay attention, this one does. The National Security Council was established in 1947 to advise the president during a crisis. The council is formed by a series of principals that advise the president from both military and intelligence perspective. The last reshuffle added the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to the Principals.

This reshuffle removes the DNI, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the regular list of attendees. It replaces them with the Chief of Staff, that be Reince Priebus and the Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist. That would be Steve Bannon. We are quoting the pertinent section.

The PC shall have as its regular attendees the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, the Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist, the National Security Advisor, and the Homeland Security Advisor.  The Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall attend where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.  The Counsel to the President, the Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget may attend all PC meetings.

Bannon has no foreign intelligence experience, or for that matter military. He is a media guy. coming from the far right wing of the Republican party. He is also suspected of being the author of the Executive orders. This is a hostile takeover and removal of expert knowledge from the center of administration, This will have dire consequences in any international crisis.

Incidentally, this was a critical issue raised by among others, Senator John McCain (R-AZ). We are linking to the rest of the document.

Muslim Ban

Yesterday we covered the local protests and the widespread effects. There was a national stay issued by a federal judge. There is a good reason for a judge to issue that stay. Regardless, the Department of Homeland security is now defying that stay.

This is from the statement:

The Department of Homeland Security will continue to enforce all of President Trump’s Executive Orders in a manner that ensures the safety and security of the American people. President Trump’s Executive Orders remain in place—prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety.

[https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/01/29/department-homeland-security-response-recent-litigation]

We are also starting to see some congressional action. This comes as no surprise to us, but Senators Linsdey Graham (R-SC)  and McCain have issued a statement regarding this. We are posting this in full.

Our government has a responsibility to defend our borders, but we must do so in a way that makes us safer and upholds all that is decent and exceptional about our nation.

It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted. We are particularly concerned by reports that this order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security.

Such a hasty process risks harmful results. We should not stop green-card holders from returning to the country they call home. We should not stop those who have served as interpreters for our military and diplomats from seeking refuge in the country they risked their lives to help. And we should not turn our backs on those refugees who have been shown through extensive vetting to pose no demonstrable threat to our nation, and who have suffered unspeakable horrors, most of them women and children.

Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism. At this very moment, American troops are fighting side-by-side with our Iraqi partners to defeat ISIL. But this executive order bans Iraqi pilots from coming to military bases in Arizona to fight our common enemies. Our most important allies in the fight against ISIL are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred. This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.

This executive order will have another effect, which both Senators point out. It is giving ammunition to the Islamic State since it proves that this war that the United States is now waging is not against them but against Islam. This only makes things more dangerous for Americans around the world.

In the meantime, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)  said that Senate Democrats are considering introducing legislation to block this executive order. He said during a press conference in New York, “This executive order was mean spirited on Americans. It was implemented in a way that created chaos and confusion ” He added, “We’re demanding the president reverse these executive orders that go against what we are, everything we have always stood for.”

“I think ultimately this ban will be struck down by the courts, but we need to put legislation on the table that Republicans could support, that overturns the ban,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told The Washington Post on Sunday. He also added: that the confirmation of General James Mattis came so fast “because he assured us that he was going to argue against the very ban he watched Trump sign. Many of us gave the president and his Cabinet a little benefit of the doubt last week. I don’t see that there’s any reason that that should continue.”



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  1. This is not a Head Fake. The Executive Orders are Shock Doctrine – Reporting San Diego

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