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Understanding the McMaster NSC Purge

Derek Harvey was a man who saw things coming. He had warned of Al Qaeda when most chose to ignore it. He had seen the Sunni insurgency rising when most chose to deny it.

The former Army colonel had made his reputation by learning the lay of the land. In Iraq that meant sleeping on mud floors and digging into documents to figure out where the threat was coming from.

It was hard to imagine anyone better qualified to serve as President Trump’s top Middle East adviser at the National Security Council than a man who had been on the ground in Iraq and who had seen it all.

Just like in Iraq, Harvey began digging at the NSC. He came up with a list of Obama holdovers who were leaking to the press. McMaster, the new head of the NSC, refused to fire any of them.

McMaster had a different list of people he wanted to fire. It was easy to make the list. Harvey was on it.

All you had to do was name Islamic terrorism as the problem and oppose the Iran Deal. If you came in with Flynn, you would be out. If you were loyal to Trump, your days were numbered.

And if you warned about Obama holdovers undermining the new administration, you were a target.

One of McMaster’s first acts at the NSC was to ban any mention of “Obama holdovers.” Not only did the McMaster coup purge Harvey, who had assembled the holdover list, but his biggest target was Ezra Watnick-Cohen, who had exposed the eavesdropping on Trump officials by Obama personnel.

Ezra Watnick-Cohen had provided proof of the Obama surveillance to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. McMaster, however, was desperately working to fire him and replace him with Linda Weissgold. McMaster’s choice to replace Watnick-Cohen was the woman who helped draft the Benghazi talking points which blamed the Islamic terrorist attack on a video protest.

After protests by Bannon and Kushner, President Trump overruled McMaster. Watnick-Cohen stayed. For a while. Now Ezra Watnick-Cohen has been fired anyway.

According to the media, Watnick-Cohen was guilty of “anti-Muslim fervor” and “hardline views.” And there’s no room for anyone telling the truth about Islamic terrorism at McMaster’s NSC.

McMaster had even demanded that President Trump refrain from telling the truth about Islamic terrorism.

Another of his targets was Rich Higgins, who had written a memo warning of the role of the left in undermining counterterrorism. Higgins had served as a director for strategic planning at the NSC. He had warned in plain language about the threat of Islamic terrorism, of Sharia law, of the Hijrah colonization by Islamic migrants, of the Muslim Brotherhood, and of its alliance with the left as strategic threats.

Higgins had stood by Trump during the Khizr Khan attacks. And he had written a memo warning that "the left is aligned with Islamist organizations at local, national, and international levels" and that “they operate in social media, television, the 24-hour news cycle in all media and are entrenched at the upper levels of the bureaucracies.”

Like Harvey and Ezra Watnick-Cohen, Higgins had warned of an enemy within. And paid the price.

McMaster’s cronies had allegedly used the NSC’s email system to track down the source of the memo. The left and its useful idiots were indeed entrenched at the upper level of the bureaucracy.

Higgins was fired.

Like Harvey and Watnick-Cohen, Higgins had also become too dangerous to the Obama holdovers. Harvey had assembled a list of names and a plan to dismantle the Iranian nuclear deal. Watnick-Cohen had dug into the Obama surveillance of Trump officials. And Higgins had sought to declassify Presidential Study Directive 11. PSD-11 was the secret blueprint of Obama’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Pete Hoekstra, the former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, linked PSD-11 to the rise of ISIS and called for its declassification.

Replacing Harvey is Michael Bell. When the Washington Post needed someone to badmouth Dr. Gorka, they turned to Bell: the former chancellor of the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University. Bell suggested that Dr. Gorka was an uneven scholar. And Dr. Gorka was accused of failing to incorporate other perspectives on Islam.

The pattern has never been hard to spot.

McMaster forced out K.T. McFarland from her role as Deputy National Security Advisor. Slotted in was Dina Habib-Powell.

McFarland was an Oxford and Cambridge grad who had worked at the Pentagon for the Reagan administration. Dina Habib-Powell had no national security background. She was an Egyptian-American immigrant and former Bush gatekeeper whose pals included Huma Abedin and Valerie Jarrett.

Powell, who has been described as the Republican Huma, said that Abedin “feels a deep responsibility to encourage more mutual understanding between her beliefs and culture and American culture.”

When visiting Egypt, Habib-Powell had assured the locals of how Bush, after September 11, “visited a mosque, took off his shoes and paid his respects.” "I see the president talk of Islam as a religion of peace, I see him host an iftar every year,” she gushed.

K.T. McFarland had written that “Global Islamist jihad is at war with all of Western civilization.”

It’s not hard to see why McMaster pushed out McFarland and elevated Habib-Powell.

Habib-Powell had attended the Iftar dinner with members of Muslim Brotherhood front groups. You can see her photographed at the American Task Force of Palestine gala. The ATFP was originally Rashid Khalidi’s American Committee on Jerusalem. She was there as a presenter at the Middle East Institute after a speech by Hanan Ashrawi. Her achievements under Bush included cultural exchanges with Iran, as well as cash for the Palestinian Authority and for Lebanon after the Hezbollah war with Israel.

While President Trump fights to restrict Muslim immigration, at his side is the woman who had once bragged on CNN, “Over 90% of student visas are now issued in under a week, and that is in the Middle East.”

But that is typical of the McMaster revamp of the NSC. It’s populated by swamp creatures who oppose the positions that President Trump ran on. And who are doing everything possible to undermine them.

President Trump promised a reset from Obama’s anti-Israel policies. McMaster picked Kris Bauman as the NSC’s point man on Israel. Bauman had defended Islamic terrorists and blamed Israel for the violence. He had urged pressure on Israel as the solution. Ideas like that fit in at McMaster’s NSC.

Meanwhile Derek Harvey, who had tried to halt Obama’s $221 million terror funding prize to the Palestinian Authority, was forced out.

This too is part of the pattern. As Caroline Glick has pointed out, the personnel being purged in the McMaster coup “are pro-Israel and oppose the Iran nuclear deal.”

When Adam Lovinger urged that “more attention be given to the threat of Iran and Islamic extremism,” his security clearance was revoked. Robin Townley was forced out in the same way.

Meanwhile, McMaster sent a letter to Susan Rice, Obama’s former National Security Adviser, assuring her that the NSC would work with her to “allow you access to classified information.” He claimed that Rice's continued access to classified information is "consistent with the national security interests of the United States."

Why does Susan Rice, who is alleged to have participated in the Obama eavesdropping on Trump people, need access to classified information? What national security purpose is served by it?

The same national security purpose that is served by McMaster’s purge of anyone at the NSC who dares to name Islamic terrorism, who wants a tougher stance on Iran, and who asks tough questions.

And the purge of reformers and original thinkers is only beginning.

The latest reports say that McMaster has a list of enemies who will be ousted from the NSC. And when that is done, the NSC will be a purely Obama-Bush operation. The consensus will be that the Iran Deal must stay, that Islam has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism, that we need to find ways to work with the aspirations of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that Israel must make concessions to terrorists.

If you loved the foreign policy that brought us 9/11, ISIS, and billions in funding to terrorists from Syria to Libya to the West Bank, you won’t be able to get enough of McMaster’s brand new NSC.

And neither will America’s enemies.

The swamp is overflowing. The National Security Council is becoming a national security threat.


  1. Anonymous7/8/17

    The obvious question is; why Doesn't Trump get rid of him?

  2. D.D.Mao7/8/17

    There has been concern about the number of Generals being appointed to the current administration and the need for greater civilian control. Yet we have a President who has no military background and shows ignorance of the basic rules of government and military procedure. He has also shown he is out of his league in any knowledge of implementing any domestic and international policy initiatives. He has alienated the experienced foreign policy personnel that new administrations rely on and instead his major civilian advisors thus far have been his son in law Jared Kushner, daughter Ivanka, Paul Manafort and Steve Bannon. He gets his information through watching television, has the attention span of 15 seconds and his incisive tweets are counter productive to anything he did positive. His need to be loved forces him to go out on campaign style rallies to his base and has cabinet meetings that are reminiscent of dictators going around the table being praised. As witnessed by the current special prosecutor investigation he is neither making judicious decisions on his own nor getting sound advice. Not to mention even Republican members of Congress are distancing themselves from him.

    I am neither advocating nor defending Gen. McMasters nor any of the others mention in Daniels article. I'm only saying the President better get some veteran foreign and domestic policy experts that can give sound advice along with an experienced diplomatic corps. If he believes he was under pressure the pass six months just wait until that 3 a.m. phone call comes through.

    1. Anonymous9/8/17

      .... WHO M. Albright, Gov. Richardson, John Kerry, HRC... 3 Am happened 1983, AMERICA STILL SUFFERS FROM NO PRINCIPLED MORALITY FOREIGN POLICY, for there can EXIST NO MANTRA OTHER THEN, we are the EXPERTS.. that's why we are still in DANGER.

  3. Maybe this info should be sent to the President.

  4. Excellent article but needs some correction where you write 'the National Security Council is becoming a national security threat' because, the NSC is a national security threat.

  5. Anonymous7/8/17

    What does McMaster have on Trump that he didn't have on Obama?

  6. Infidel7/8/17

    Thanks, excellent article.

  7. Anonymous7/8/17

    So where is Trump in all this?

  8. The only guy in the West Wing who gets it is Bannon.

    1. He's a neo Nazi White Nationalist. Help yourself, pal.

  9. Anonymous8/8/17

    Guess Mr. Trump is already becoming a Lame Duck.

  10. It is hard to believe that there are just so many traitors in high places. Please do a column Daniel to tell us why he can not see who is who . He needs people like Mueller so overtly traitorous and malicious, on an Aeroplane charter with a drop off in the Atlantic.

  11. I sent Trump two emails (via Whitehouse.gov) urging Trump to immediately fire H.R. McMaster, calling him the Deep State raptor who is denuding the NSC of any pro-American, anti-Islam personnel who could defend this country. I do not know if the emails ever made it to Trump’s desk or to his attention. I received boilerplate acknowledgements that may mean nothing. We cannot be sure if the person who monitors public emails to the White House and is responsible for passing them on is an Obama holdover or a McMaster tool.

  12. Why? Why? Why? That is my ultimate question. Is it that McMaster and the Obama holdovers all believe that Islam is a religion of peace deep in their souls, and that America will be a better place once Islam is woven into our culture? What other explanation is there? Getting communists entrenched in our government had a singular & purposeful outcome..turning America into a Communist Country. The spies and those doing the entrenching were true believers. The conforming and cooperating bureaucrats were too stupid to see or believe this was so. It was not as easy to tell a communist from a non-communist. But with this situation? C'mon! How do they not realize what they are doing? I read tons of articles telling What is happening, but it is Why, that is what I want to know. (Aside from Anti-semitism. That I know is a belief system and a motivator for some. Take the Tillerson State Department statement made last month regarding Israel. Lies and facts that are blatantly backwards is what all of that is. When I heard it I was like Who wrote that bullsh-t? and anti-semite?) But are these people, some of whose ancestors helped build America, like McMaster and his ilk truly wanting to change the face of this country?

  13. Anonymous8/8/17

    First Cernovich, now you Daniel? I don't understand this recent McMaster smear campaign. Do you think he is anti Israel ?

    1. Smear?
      Is there something inaccurate in this article?

  14. Then why aren't they removed all at once? Who is allowing them to stay if they against the Trump agenda?

  15. Man, seeing all of this in one place is making my ears spin. What in the world is Trump doing?

  16. Just a common 'tater8/8/17

    Based upon some rather interesting stuff I have come across over the years, there are a few long standing problems in DC that goes back many years, traceable to the FDR administration. Maybe even further?

    1. Discounting on the ground info in favor of high tech info. This may or may not be related to the State Department view of the world, but the Pentagon types have tended to disregard info from the people at the front. This happened in Viet Nam (TET), Korea (involvement of Chinese army near the Yalu, 1950-51), and very famously, Arnhem in Operation Market Garden. Summary: Front area Intelligence to High Level Planners, "Hey, the lower level people at the front and locals say that (fill in name of enemy formation) is located at (fill in location)and this will affect (fill in name of operation or units involved)." High level planners to front line Intell, "Our sources say that (fill in name of enemy formation) is located at (fill in name of a location farthest from actual location) so don't worry, continue as planned and directed."

    2. FDR appointed many far left people, including admirers of Lenin and Stalin, in the State Department. Since then, the OSS, followed by CIA and other State Department functionaries have been in a world of their own. Anyone that tries to drain the swamp ends up in trouble or dead.

    The only way Trump will be able to come out of this alive and the US better off is for him to start firing en mass, starting with the NSC and State Department. There is enough support in the military for that to get cleaned out after state, followed by DOJ, then Military. Trump needs to clean up by the end of the year or this administration will fail. Session has been compromised, possibly Tillerson. He needs big bulldozer to clean out the debris, not a broom and dustpan.

    Great expose, Sultan, keep up the good work. Send a copy of your column to Mr. Trump and his close advisors.

  17. I usually agree with your articles/opinions. And you may be right this time. However, I served with McMaster. He is a decorated soldier, and a patriot. I never saw any signs of personal ambition or a "me first" attitude that is seen in many career military officers. He struck me as intelligent and hard working, loyal to his friends, soldiers, unit and country. I saw him speak his mind, sometimes forcefully, to his superiors more than once. I don't think he would be awed by the president or swayed by political hacks.The man you describe in your article is not the man that I knew. I hope that he is still the man I knew back in the day.

  18. D Leeper8/8/17

    Tom Cotton recommended McMaster. What does he think of McMaster's behavior?

  19. One commentator asked: "The obvious question is; why Doesn't Trump get rid of him?" There's a notion going around that Trump's children have been threatened, or that McMaster or someone else has "something" on Trump that is saying his hand.

  20. Anonymous8/8/17


  21. http://www.algemeiner.com/2017/08/08/why-do-anti-israel-textbooks-continue-to-thrive/

  22. All during the Obama Administration, men who had solid security experience noted the removal of all references to Islamic terrorism from training manuals and exercises. Reading this makes me wonder what role McMasters played over the years. He gives me the creeps.

  23. Poor Trump doesn't know who to trust and has too many other things to do, such as deregs, to get to McMaster, whose stars T tends to trust. If he'd ever been in the Army he'd know better.

  24. Gary Sack8/8/17

    This bothers me so, so, much. Why does Trump keep McMaster? A bad guy who won't be loyal and carry out Trump's agenda...or is our view of Trump not correct?

  25. It does seem that Trump is being played for a fool. He needs to pay attention to advice from Ms Conway, sirs Bannon, J.Sekula, N Gingrich, J.Bolton and a few others.

  26. Trump has been under attack 24/7 since he announced he was running. Yet, everyone wants to act like he's helpless. Anyone who messes with him goes down. They are not going to get him out of office unless they have him killed. The media is terrified of him, and he has literally upset the big wheels in Hollywood. Even that nut owner of Facebook, who has walls and 25 bodyguards day and night, thinks he can run for President. As far as experienced foreign policy experts. Name one. They all suck. In Nam we knew TET was coming in 68, but the so called experts didn't know anything. There are no experts he can turn to. DC has been compromised for years. I defy anyone else to take what this man has taken for a solid year and remain standing. Still, everyone wants to say he's an idiot or a dummy. Yet, no one can imagine that what he wants people to think. Korea can't even kick its own butt. It's another side track to try to derail Trump. It won't work. He's done a lot of good that never gets reported. But medicated aging stars like Ashley Judd get news because someone at the airport didn't know who she was and called her sweetheart. So she had to make a selfie and tell the people at the airport who she was and how she was offended. Those are the people Trump is up against. Idiots and rich old creeps who are dug in like ticks and want to protect their money. He's not dumb. He's smarter than most people know. Generals...there are no generals with real combat experience. How many generals did you see in Nam? If we had any real war generals, they would wipe out our enemies to the last person. Too many restrictions. His tweets and outbursts. No one cares but the media. We needed someone who won't play ball with the DC Cartel and we got him. After the mid-terms there will be very few Democrats left and a lot of Republicans who won't help the people will be gone, too. Polls are all made up, or Hillary would be our President. This is great stuff.

  27. Anonymous9/8/17

    This is the most depressing thing I've read in weeks. Deep State wins.

  28. Anonymous10/8/17

    I'm speechless. As the other anonymous said, Deep State wins. I trust Trump's good intentions and his love of this country, but I'm beginning to wonder if he's now just a rudderless, beaten man. How can any of what Daniel outlines even be possible? Sigh.

  29. Anonymous11/8/17

    What did Mr. Greenfield write about traitors a while back?
    Why do traitors never prosper?
    Because when traitors prosper none dare call it treason.
    The US federal government is run by Moslem collaborating traitors.

  30. “While opposition to President Trump manifests itself through political warfare memes centered on cultural Marxist narratives, this hardly means that opposition is limited to Marxists as conventionally understood. Having become the dominant cultural meme, some benefit from it while others are captured by it; including ‘deep state’ actors, globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans.”

    Higgins committed D.C.'s Original Sin: He Told the Truth.

  31. This is truly terrifying, and has all the usual Greenfield stamp of truth all throughout.
    Here In England, we turn to this site and others like it to get the truth-sure as hell we won`t get it from Europe or the BBC.
    When McMaster replaced Flynn in February, I well remember the BBC praising this "sensible" appointment.And now I see why.
    Bannon remains the canary in the marsh swamp. Hope to God that he can hold his breath long enough to deal with Obama reheats, rehashes and boil in the bag fakes.
    Noted McMaster get glowing refernces in a Steve Hilton book-he is very much a Buddhist green kind of liberal rebel who can confuse and deceive as he did under Camerons UK government until a few years back...a wrong` un.
    Come on Donald-get that marsh arab gas measured and drain the place before the Mosquitos bite...get the meaning eh?

  32. Anonymous16/8/17

    Alisa, you comment was beyond informative... Thank you so much ! You have an excellent grasp on things. This helped me connect dots. Grateful cousin across the pond.


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