Trump’s reshuffle: the McMaster Chronicles — Part 4

Grab yourself a cuppa and a snack as the McMaster Chronicles unfold.

Previous instalments are as follows: Parts 1, 2 and 3.

Throughout HR McMaster’s tenure as national security adviser, the main sticking point was his reluctance to refer to Islamic terrorism as such.

As far back as February 2017, conservative American pundits saw that McMaster favoured the soft-shoe approach. They had hoped President Trump would have chosen a national security adviser who would adopt a more realistic approach. On February 22, after Trump announced McMaster was his choice, Robert Spencer, in an article for PJ Media, wrote:

There have been indications that the Republican establishment has been trying to prevent Trump from affecting the sweeping reform that he has promised. This appointment could indicate that, at least for the moment, they have gained the upper hand.

A source that has asked to remain anonymous informs me of being present in August 2014 when McMaster was the featured speaker for the President’s Lecture Series at National Defense University. McMaster addressed an assembly of all the students in the colleges of the National Defense, including the National War College, the College of International Security Affairs (CISA), the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy (formerly the Industrial College of the Armed Forces), and the others.

No transcript or video is publicly available, but there was a large crowd and multiple witnesses. In his address, McMaster reportedly said: “The Islamic State is not Islamic.”

This was during the Obama regime, when that was the official policy of the U.S. government. However, President Trump has repeatedly criticized his predecessor (and his 2016 election opponent) for not being willing to name the source of jihad terror. Since he has become president, Trump has repeatedly reiterated his desire to eradicate “radical Islamic terrorism.”

If McMaster holds the view that the Islamic State is not Islamic, then he is a disastrous pick for national security adviser. He would continue the willful ignorance of the Obama administration, stifling efforts to understand and successfully counter the motives and goals of the enemy.

So, how did McMaster end up in that role? Was it because the GOPe steered Trump in that direction? Was it better to have a safe pair of hands rather than a new untested pair? That would have been a benign reason.

The truth might have been darker.

On August 8, 2017, two big stories came out about McMaster.

One had to do with leaks and the opposition by Trump/Steve Bannon loyalists to the general. Mike Cernovich called attention to a Wall Street Journal article that day:

McMaster is major source of leaks through Obama holdovers, media doesn’t want to lose this access.

However, the WSJ article was less about leaks and more about the tension in the White House at that time — as well as McMaster’s policy positions, which were in direct opposition to Trump’s (emphases mine):

The latest target has been H.R. McMaster, the three-star general who took over as national security adviser after President Trump fired Michael Flynn. Lt. Gen. McMaster has come in for abuse for favoring more troops and a new strategy in Afghanistan, for warning that Vladimir Putin is no friend of America, and for advising that Mr. Trump not precipitously withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. He also recently dismissed some NSC staff members who were brought on by Mr. Flynn and are said to be allies of Mr. Bannon.

Daniel Greenfield noticed the same thing:

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.

McMaster had claimed in April that he had his reasons for not linking terrorists to religion:

“The president will call it whatever he wants to call it,” McMaster said on ABC’s “This Week.” “But I think it’s important that, whatever we call it, we recognize that [extremists] are not religious people. And, in fact, these enemies of all civilizations, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under this fall idea of some kind of religious war.”

The darker story had to do with the allegation that McMaster was leaking information to George Soros. Roger Stone broke the story on Infowars:

I have confirmed from sources from inside the White House, the Israeli government and Israeli intelligence that the Israelis have intercepted email communications from General McMaster to George Soros, informing him of everything that’s going on inside the White House,” reported Infowars correspondent Roger Stone. “…I have double checked this with two different sources very high up in Israeli intelligence, and I actually expect the Israeli ambassador to the US to confirm this.”

This means, by implication, that McMaster is one of the primary leakers given that Soros has vast ties to the mainstream media.

It is already known that McMaster was a member of International Institute for Strategic Studies which was funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundation and another Soros-financed group.

Also, last month Israel publicly accused Soros of continuously undermining democratically-elected governments.

Soros began infiltrating the National Security Council as early as May when his operative Fiona Hill, a member of the the Council on Foreign Relations and the Soros-funded Eurasia Foundation, joined its staff.

“George Soros has penetrated the Trump White House,” Stone reported. “Soros has planted a mole infiltrating the National Security apparatus: a woman named Fiona Hill, who has a Harvard background, and has been on the Soros payroll and the payroll of the Open Society Institute.”

For those interested in the video, Stone’s discussion with Alex Jones about McMaster and Soros begins at the 9:30 mark.

Meanwhile, leftists at ThinkProgress defended McMaster against Trump supporting ‘white supremacists’.

Hmm: leaks, alleged close ties to Soros and leftist sympathisers. It’s interesting how this all fits together.

Breitbart had two scathing articles about McMaster’s policies and Dina Habib Powell’s relationship with media personalities and Obama’s people. On August 9, they reported that Powell was good friends not only with MSNBC’s Joe (Morning Joe) Scarborough but also with Valerie Jarrett. On August 10, they rightly took a verbal swing at McMaster:

Embattled national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who has reportedly been purging Trump loyalists from various national security posts and is pushing for more intervention in Afghanistan, has reportedly joined with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly to check Trump. It may be up to Kelly, who is now the new gatekeeper, to make sure that Trump gets both sides of every issue instead of getting bad information that is heavily tilted in favor of McMaster’s internationalist view that turns off working-class voters from Republican candidates. McMaster, after all, seems to care more about how the world views McMaster than defending Trump, as McMaster’s allies have gone out of their way to undercut Trump’s foreign policy agenda in outlets like the Associated Press.

On August 11, PJ Media’s David Steinberg reported that McMaster had three men running an informal PR campaign on his behalf (emphases in the original):

Deputy National Security Adviser Rick Waddell, Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Gulf States Joel Rayburn, and Yll Bajraktari, a former special assistant to the deputy secretary of defense during the Obama administration, have been coordinating an extensive public relations campaign in support of embattled National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, according to multiple sources …

This outreach reportedly coordinated by Waddell, Rayburn, and Bajraktari appeared to intensify on August 3, one day following Circa News investigative reporter Sara Carter’s publication of an article titled “A Letter From H.R. McMaster Said Susan Rice Will Keep Her Top-Secret Security Clearance.” That evening, the Heritage Foundation published a short defense of McMaster titled “5 Reasons H.R. McMaster Is the Right Leader for a Tough President.

The three targeted NeverTrump conservative organisations. The Heritage Foundation, for one, had not been on board with President Trump:

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank that has perhaps unanimously stood against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, appears an unusual outlet to offer a full-throated support of McMaster …

Indeed, allies of McMaster reportedly reached out to Heritage, the Hudson Institute, and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, perhaps among other right-leaning think-tanks. Sources say at least one of the above organizations had scheduled a private meeting with McMaster himself.

In short, McMaster appears to be banking on “NeverTrump” currents allowing him to retain his position … in President Trump’s administration. Meanwhile, accomplished national security careerists whom McMaster has fired, all of them loyal to Trump’s campaign stance on the JCPOA, are watching their reputations destroyed as “conspiratorial,” as “alt-right,” or as leakers — and with no means of rebuttal. Welcome to the swamp.

I remember when I read this. At the pro-Trump conservative site I read, the commenters strongly defended McMaster: he would not be there if Trump didn’t want him there.

Anyone who criticised McMaster was verbally shot down.

All I could think of at the time was that Trump did not have all the necessary information to hand. I kept quiet. Until recently, it had been the same with Jeff Sessions. (Sigh.)

What can’t people see? With regard to Trump, he probably did not have the time or the inclination — soft on staff matters — to peer too far underneath the surface at the time. McMaster was in place, probably made the right pro-Israel noises and went on to undermine Trump behind the scenes.

This guy was clearly a danger to Trump’s policies. Mike Cernovich could see that. So could Roger Stone. Neither would do anything to harm the United States. Yet, McMaster supporters — on the right and the left — demonised them. Throughout it all, these two men, among others, were telling the truth!

On August 15, Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) stepped in to defend McMaster. If that wasn’t a red flag, what was? CBS News reported that anti-McMaster and anti-NSC sentiment was rising. Granted, this was after Charlottesville, but it had probably been simmering most of the summer:

A White House official told CBS News that it is “disheartening” to see the uptick in verbal and online attacks on members who come from security-focused backgrounds, not political ones …

“McMaster is used to facing real bullets so verbal ones are not going to impact him,” a White House official said in regard to a sustained online campaign against him. The official noted that a statement of support yesterday for McMaster from Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, was very much appreciated.

On Monday, McCain publicly called on President Trump to defend McMaster against similar virulent and personal attacks that originated from what he described as the same alt-right groups who precipitated the Charlottesville attack.

Notice that McCain thought that ‘alt-right’ groups were responsible when it appears to have been crisis actors brought in by the Left who participated in the Charlottesville incident. That’s rather typical of him.

It is also worth keeping in mind that McCain has worked — and continues to work — against Trump in every way possible. Therefore, it is not surprising he leapt to McMaster’s defence.

On August 19, GOP backer Sheldon Adelson privately told the head of the Zionist Organization of America that he supported outing McMaster as being anti-Israel and getting him out of the NSA position. Axios had the scoop, which Breitbart picked up. From Axios:

Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson has privately told one of his allies that he supports a campaign that depicts H.R. McMaster as anti-Israel and seeks to remove him from his post as national security adviser.

In an email to Mort Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America, Adelson writes: “Now that I have talked to somebody with personal experience with McMaster, I support your efforts.”

Adelson changed his mind after he spoke with Israeli-born Oracle CEO Safra Catz:

Adelson says Catz told him about a dinner she had recently with McMaster and “it certainly enlightened me quite a bit.”

But Adelson also makes clear in his email that he doesn’t want to be publicly associated with the campaign against McMaster. (Klein never claimed Adelson was supporting it, and while he accepts funding from Adelson he is known as an independent Israel hawk who cannot be corralled, even by his major donor.)

Axios contacted the White House, where a spokesman said that McMaster is ‘remarkably pro-Israel’.

On August 20, Trump was unaware that the Navy destroyer USS John McCain (named for the senator’s father) was involved in a collision with an oil tanker near Singapore. When asked about it on the White House lawn during a brief press session, Trump responded ‘That’s too bad’. Of course, he got a lot of flak for it, but one reporter, Brian Stelter, tweeted that the full extent of the damage and missing personnel wasn’t known until half an hour later:

filled me in. He shouted Q to Trump at 8:34 ET. Collision sounded bad at the time. But the Navy didn’t announce 10 missing til 9:02

Breitbart took aim at McMaster for not having filled Trump in on the situation. They also named chief of staff John Kelly:

A source with direct knowledge of these matters tells Breitbart News that the senior staff at the White House, including National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, did not brief President Donald Trump on the collision the Navy destroyer USS John McCain had with an oil tanker near Singapore before he originally seemingly dismissed the incident saying, “that’s too bad.”

Trump later, after receiving more information on it, tweeted that he hopes for the best for the lost sailors. The collision left 10 sailors missing and another five injured …

A source with direct knowledge of these matters told Breitbart News that the original mishap from Trump that caused the “that’s too bad” flap comes because senior staff originally kept the president in the dark about the incident. The source specifically fingered new chief of staff Gen. John Kelly and embattled National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster. Kelly is a retired four star Marine General who served later as President Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security before his promotion to White House chief of staff. McMaster is an active duty three star U.S. Army Lieutenant General.

Someone no doubt got GBH of the earhole afterwards.

On August 21, Trump took McMaster’s advice and sent more troops to Afghanistan. Cernovich tweeted:

Congratulations to President McMaster!

The replies to Cernovich indicate what I wrote of concerning blind support for Trump appointees. How dare anyone criticise them: ‘I thought you liked Trump’.

John McCain chimed in to say he heartily approved (full statement in the tweet):

I commend ‘s new strategy for . We must move past last admin’s failed policy of postponing defeat.

On August 22, Trump gave a rally in Phoenix. His supporters were deeply unhappy, as Jack Posobiec pointed out (photo in the tweet):

Trump supporters carry Fire McMaster signs at Trump

One week later, Bombthrowers posted an article, ‘BOMBTHROWERS EXCLUSIVE: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster: A legend or a lie?’

The Bombthrowers piece criticised McMaster’s tour of duty in Iraq in 2005 (emphases mine):

Fresh on the heels of a successful offensive in Mosul, Iraq, the Iraqi military is now poised to retake Tal Afar, long a hotbed of ISIS and other insurgent activity. Before we pulled out of Iraq, Tal Afar, like Fallujah, had been the focal point of multiple large-scale, costly offensives to eject entrenched insurgents. In 2005, then-Colonel H.R. McMaster led the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3rd ACR) in the largest of these offensives, Operation Restoring Rights. His reputation as a brilliant military strategist rests largely on the results of that one battle. Given the widespread support for McMaster in the media and Washington establishment, it is ironic that current reporting largely fails to mention this battle or McMaster’s central role in it.

McMaster’s widely-hyped strategic acumen has been called into question by high-level military sources with personal knowledge of his conduct in the field. These sources spoke with me on condition of anonymity.

McMaster rests his laurels on the counter-insurgency strategy he claims won the Battle of Tal Afar, Iraq. But sources say McMaster ignored counter-insurgency experts and that his reckless leadership killed between 70 and 85* Americans and almost lost the battle. The battle, the sources say, was won only through a valiant rescue mission during which most of those casualties occurred.*

Until today this information has been suppressed.

Just so.

The article goes on to say that both the right and the left — from Bush II to Mother Jones — lauded McMaster as a hero. (Amazing.) But were they right to have done so?

Okay, wait a minute.

When reflexively anti-American, anti-military outlets like Mother Jones, Slate and the Washington Post offer fawning praise for a Republican military commander, the reasons underlying those plaudits deserve further investigation. When anti-American, anti-military, George Soros-funded, extreme leftist smear operations like Media Matters go to war to defend a Trump political appointee, it casts a shadow on everything about the man. When the anti-American, terrorism-supporting, Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated CAIR defends an American general, the alarm bells drown out all other sound. And officers who have witnessed his “leadership” in the unforgiving crucible of combat are now sounding the alarm.

The article explains that the official military report about the battle barely mentions McMaster. However, it does mention Lt. Col. Christopher M. Hickey as the man on the ground leading the engaged combat forces. Bombthrowers used a lengthy article on the battle, Brave Rifles at the Battle of Tal Afar, for in-depth source material:

The report is not especially critical of Hickey, but if the operation was an unqualified success, McMaster’s role presumably would have been highlighted. McMaster’s Tal Afar COIN strategy is also credited with inspiring Iraq’s 2007 “surge” operation. Yet Brave Rifles makes no such claim.

The report describes a halt in the advance to evacuate civilians that occurred little more than one day into the fight. In a “Frontline” video interview, [2] McMaster claims the pause was “about three days,” but according to Brave Rifles, it took a full week (p. 142). Officers on the ground during that battle claim that in fact the 2nd Squadron was surrounded and in danger of being annihilated. One Special Forces operative described it as a “goat fuck” (p. 142). A 1,150-strong Special Operations Group joined with other units to launch a rescue mission that would clear a path to McMaster’s beleaguered forces.

When McMaster was first appointed as NSA, I read that the Pentagon were relieved, because they did not want him. Bombthrowers’ interviews indicate why. Also note the mentions of McCain and disgraced general David Petraeus:

Other sources I interviewed say that McMaster has very few admirers in the general officer corps and was considered to be just another typical “political general.”

He has not been given any battle commands since he was promoted to general. They say he would never have made general rank without the help of David Petraeus. He was passed over twice for promotion to flag rank, and didn’t get his first star until Army Secretary Peter Geren, a former Democratic congressman from Texas, took the unprecedented step of pulling General Petraeus from a combat command and appointing him to chair the Army’s promotion board, which Geren also hand-picked.

Petraeus, of whom it has been said, “throughout his military career had worn his ambition like a strong aftershave,” saw to McMaster’s star. Then-Army Chief of Staff General George Casey concluded, “If McMaster weren’t such a smart-ass, he would have been promoted a long time ago.”

General officers require Senate confirmation both for appointment and advancement. McMaster’s Senate champion was and still is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). McCain advocated replacing Flynn with McMaster. McCain described McMaster as “a man of genuine intellect, character and ability.”

In October, Iran became a prominent geopolitical topic. Every 90 days, the United States has to renew certification that Iran is keeping up its part of the deal. The next deadline was October 15. On October 5, Breitbart reported that McMaster ‘hinted’ to Democrats that he opposed Trump’s Iran policy:

NEW YORK — H.R. McMaster, President Donald Trump’s embattled national security adviser, hinted to a small group of Democratic senators that he opposes the drive to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, according to two sources familiar with the meeting who spoke to CNN.

The sentiment seems to pit McMaster directly against Trump, who is reportedly leaning toward decertifying the deal next week, according to numerous news media accounts in recent days citing administration officials.

Breitbart reminded readers of McMaster’s ties to the Soros-funded IISS think tank, which supports Obama’s 2015 Iran deal. McMaster was associated with them from 2006 through to February 2017.

On October 6, Axios reported that McMaster appointed Mike Barry, a relative unknown, to oversee the intelligence community on the National Security Council. Barry replaced Ezra Cohen-Watnick.

Axios said not much was known about Barry, other than that Mike Pompeo recommended him. Barry and McMaster reportedly bonded as they had worked ‘in similar environments’. Barry’s position is crucial to the White House:

As special assistant to the president for intelligence programs, Barry will be crucial to the smooth functioning of President Trump’s national security team, and will be responsible for aligning the intelligence community’s policy with Trump’s priorities. Barry will also manage covert action.

Let’s hope that, as a Pompeo recommendation, Barry works out well.

On November 2, McMaster gave a press briefing on the eve of Trump’s first — and historic — trip to Asia. He played it straight and called out North Korea for ‘terrorism’:

a regime who murders someone in a public airport using nerve agent, and a despotic leader who murders his brother in that manner — I mean, that’s clearly an act of terrorism that fits in with a range of other actions.

He also did a good job of explaining economic sanctions, i.e. China towards North Korea.

I think this is the McMaster who sat with Trump in meetings and sounded as if he agreed with the president’s policies.

Trump probably never had any idea that McMaster was going behind his back.

Yet, McMaster was betraying him terribly.

On this note, the last McMaster story in 2017 was huge, although it was not widely covered beyond investigative media sites. Infowars circulated it on December 6, ‘Retired CIA Agent Claims H.R. McMaster Approved NSA Spy Job On Trump Family’ (emphases in the original):

A retired CIA officer reportedly working with Blackwater founder Erik Prince to pitch the White House on a global, private spy network which as we reported yesterday would allow the White House to circumvent and counter “deep state enemies” within U.S. intelligence agencies, is said to have made the stunning claim that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster worked with the NSA to perform surveillance on Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump, Steve Bannon and others, according to a report in The Intercept.

The former CIA agent, John R. Maguire – a Trump transition team member who works for intelligence contractor Amyntor Group, spent over two decades as a paramilitary officer – including tours in Central America working with the Contras. After retiring, Maguire hooked up with Blackwater founder Erik Prince in what has been a long and fruitful professional relationship.

From The Intercept, which is hardly a pro-Trump site, yet their article describes a coup against him (emphases mine):

[Maguire] said there were people inside the CIA who joined in the previous eight years [under Obama] and inside the government, and they were failing to give the president the intelligence he needed,” said a person who was pitched by Maguire and other Amyntor personnel. To support his claim, Maguire told at least two people that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, in coordination with a top official at the National Security Agency, authorized surveillance of Steven Bannon and Trump family members, including Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. Adding to these unsubstantiated claims, Maguire told the potential donors he also had evidence McMaster used a burner phone to send information gathered through the surveillance to a facility in Cyprus owned by George Soros.

Amyntor employees took potential donors to a suite in the Trump Hotel in Washington, which they claimed was set up to conduct “secure communications.” Some White House staff and Trump campaign supporters came to refer to the suite as “the tinfoil room,” according to one person who visited the suite. This account was confirmed by another source to whom the room was described. “John [Maguire] was certain that the deep state was going to kick the president out of office within a year,” said a person who discussed it with Maguire. “These guys said they were protecting the president.”

My word. McMaster again — this time with a burner phone relaying information directly to a Soros-owned facility?

The article says that Prince, his company, Oliver North (of Iran-Contra) and Mike Pompeo were working on a plan to get private intelligence to Trump that would bypass normal intel channels:

The sources say the plans have been pitched to the White House as a means of countering “deep state” enemies in the intelligence community seeking to undermine Donald Trump’s presidency.

The creation of such a program raises the possibility that the effort would be used to create an intelligence apparatus to justify the Trump administration’s political agenda.

Pompeo can’t trust the CIA bureaucracy, so we need to create this thing that reports just directly to him,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official with firsthand knowledge of the proposals, in describing White House discussions. “It is a direct-action arm, totally off the books,” this person said, meaning the intelligence collected would not be shared with the rest of the CIA or the larger intelligence community. “The whole point is this is supposed to report to the president and Pompeo directly.”

Whoa! This is huge.

This could also explain why Trump holds Pompeo in such high regard.

The next instalment of the McMaster Chronicles will follow soon. Thank goodness he’s gone — and not a moment too soon.

4 comments for “Trump’s reshuffle: the McMaster Chronicles — Part 4

  1. May 14, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    I’m exhausted just reading about it.

    • May 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      I know. But he could well have been a snake in the grass.

      Final part — much shorter and easier to read — coming up shortly.

      Thanks for persevering.

  2. Hereward Unbowed.
    May 15, 2018 at 12:57 am

    Fucking hell my brain hurts.

    A wonder of a work CM, the thing is, dare they even think of impeaching him and short of some tasty tapes and the president ownin’ up (unlikely) they’re stuffed and they know it.

    • May 17, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      ‘Fucking hell my brain hurts.’ Sorry!

      Re impeachment — I know, right? I agree with what you say. No one’s produced a tape or anything incriminating yet. I don’t count ‘guy talk’ on the Billy Bush one from 2005 which emerged during the campaign.

      Also recall that Trump is 100% sober 100% of the time. Anyone who thinks he could be persuaded into doing what’s been alleged from past to present really doesn’t know much about him at all.

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