Smack dab in the middle of a nationwide uproar over Donald Trump putting his long discussed Muslim ban in place, the new president has done something deeply troubling to the National Security Council.
The National Security Council is the group of high ranking officials with whom the president discusses issues of — as the body’s name implies — national security.
Among the executive orders that President Trump signed on Saturday, in sticking with his preference to governing by way of making occasional incendiary and grandiose proclamations, was an order reorganizing the National Security Council. Trump shuffled the members, ending certain offices’ perpetual involvement in the meetings while elevating other offices.
Now, guess whose presence at the meetings Trump ordered to come to an end, and guess whose presence at the meeting Trump ordered to start being a thing?
Trump’s Saturday executive order downgraded the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) on the National Security Council, at the same time elevating the effectively made up Trump administration position of former Breitbart CEO, Steve Bannon. The DNI is out, and Bannon is in.
Now, this shuffling is deeply concerning for those who are concerned with the future of the national security of the United States. The Director of National Intelligence is a position steeped in the confines of American law. Someone who serves as our nation’s DNI is fundamentally required to serve as a countering force to impulses of the president that could turn out to be destructive to the well being of this planet. Formerly, for the past decade plus, the DNI served as one of the top advisers to the president on the National Security Council.
But no more.
Replacing the DNI on the nation’s top deliberating body for issues of national security is Steve Bannon.
Bannon is about as virulent of a far right figure as could possibly be imagined. He’s the former head of Breibart News, the alt-right “news” outlet that harbors little more than a flowing spring for openly pro-Trump views. In his new role as adviser to the president, he has already made such outlandishly disturbing pronouncements as that the media should “keep its mouth shut.” Of course, should the media “keep its mouth shut,” then Bannon and friends will have plenty of leeway to work with in order to spread their “alternative facts” far and wide.
The White House offered up two reasons for the NSC shuffle. The first was that it was out of some sort of respect for the time of the DNI and of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that they be excluded from the meetings. The meetings, according to the Trump administration, did not particularly concern those now excluded from the regular gatherings.
Alternatively, a White House official told POLITICO that the change in NSC attendance lineup was out of an overall change in direction for what the NSC would be addressing.
Trump dumping the DNI from their spot on the NSC comes after he feuded with the U.S. intelligence community for months over them exposing Russia’s efforts to help his presidential campaign.
Featured Image via Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.