National security adviser H.R. McMaster continues to purge conservatives from the ranks of the National Security Council.
On Thursday, McMaster fired Col. Derek Harvey, a renowned Middle East expert who served under Gen. David Petraeus. Neither the White House nor the National Security Council gave a reason for Harvey’s firing.
Harvey is recognized in national security circles as a brilliant Middle East strategist. The Weekly Standard (which first reported Harvey’s firing) describes him as an “out-of-the-box thinker who has shown a keen knack for identifying threats before they’ve matured.” The report then cites a passage from Bob Woodward’s 2008 book “The War Within,” which delivers an intimate look into Harvey’s remarkable background:
In the late 1980s, Harvey traveled throughout Iraq by taxicab—500 miles, village to village—interviewing locals, sleeping on mud floors with a shower curtain for a door. He [was] full of questions, intensely curious and entirely nonthreatening. After the 1991 Gulf War, when the CIA was predicting the inevitable fall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Harvey, then a major, insisted that Hussein would survive because members of the Sunni community knew their fortunes were tied to his. He was right. Months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Harvey wrote an intelligence paper declaring that al Qaeda and the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan posed a strategic threat to the United States.
In 2008, Gen. Jack Keane described Harvey as “hands down the very best intelligence analyst that the United States government has on Iraq.”
Harvey released a statement after his firing:
statement just in from Derek Harvey, fired today from NSC: pic.twitter.com/5mn1kBKk42— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) July 27, 2017
Harvey was closely involved in president Trump’s efforts to rid the National Security Council of Obama holdovers, who were suspected of leaking national security secrets to the press. After extensive research, Harvey compiled a list of suspected leakers and reportedly delivered it straight to the president, who then took his list to McMaster.
Even though President Trump asked McMaster to fire the individuals on the list, the NSC chief refused the president’s directives to get rid of the Obama holdovers. This comes as Congress continues to sound the alarm about the national security implications of a White House that can’t control the release of classified information.
And as the classified leaks continue to spill into the public domain at a record-high rate, the National Security Council remains staffed with a shockingly high percentage of holdovers from the Obama era. Reached for comment, a White House official estimated that well over fifty percent of the National Security Council staff are Obama holdovers.
He has also allowed top officials from President Obama’s White House to come and go in and out of the White House compound as they please. Robert Malley, Obama’s “ISIS czar,” who has been described as an apologist for Islamic terror groups, has met with National Security Council staff on multiple occasions.
Promotions to top positions in the NSC include Kris Bauman, who created President Obama’s West Bank security plan that endangers Israel’s sovereignty. McMaster has placed Bauman in charge of Israeli-Palestinian affairs at the NSC. In his Ph.D. dissertation, Bauman blamed sitting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “inciting” Palestinian terror and demanded that Israel engage with the Hamas terrorist group. In June, Bauman’s proposal to implement his Obama-era plan into the Trump administration was leaked to anti-Israel Haaretz.
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.