Trump Names NatSec Figures to Top National Security Posts

Trump Names Bellicose Figures to Top National Security Posts | Advocate of Snowden’s execution picked to run CIA

President-elect Donald Trump has named a handful of picks for top positions in his incoming cabinet, tapping former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for the position of National Security Adviser, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R – AL) to Attorney General, and perhaps most controversially of all, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R – KS) to director of the CIA.

Flynn was a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), who in 2014 claimed he was forced into retirement for questioning President Obama’s narrative on the war on terror. Flynn has subsequently run a lobbying firm which was believed to be lobbying on behalf of Turkey’s government.

Flynn backed Trump throughout the campaign, and supported his position on NATO, saying that the US can and should insist on reciprocity from other member nations as a condition for military support.

Flynn’s position on US-Russia relations is somewhat less certain, as he’s been labeled “Russia-loving” by critics, but also has written that Russia is part of a major “global axis” of nations and forces arrayed against American interests. In appearances on RT, he has called for the US and Russia to “work together,” but a lot of the allegations of him being in league with Russia are likely focused on him agreeing with Trump on NATO, as NATO is loudly opposing any US rapprochement with Russia.

Rep. Pompeo is seen as likely to be an even more contentious pick, heading from the House Intelligence Committee into the CIA. Pompeo is an outspoken advocate of NSA surveillance, who has called for the execution of whistleblower Edward Snowden for making the surveillance known to the American public. He has also called for ending the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, saying after the election that he “looked forward” to destroying the deal.

Pompeo’s position on Syria is likely to loom large in his appointment, as he is said to be in favor of ending the CIA’s arming of Syrian rebels, but was also an eager supporter of a direct US military attack on Syria‘s government in 2013. Trump is planning to end the rebel arming scheme, but doesn’t appear to want to impose regime change in Syria either, instead talking up focusing the fight on ISIS.

Pompeo generated further controversy in 2013 by claiming that leaders of America’s Muslim minority are all “potentially complicit” in terrorist attacks because they don’t spend enough time publicly condemning those attacks. He followed this up with demands that all American Muslims “refute terrorist theology.”

Pompeo is seen as being put in charge of the Trump Administration’s effort to roll back reforms made at the CIA in recent years. The reforms include a number of moves made in response to the 9/11 report’s statements on the intelligence gaps.

Sessions is also seen as eager to make major changes at the Justice Department as the new Attorney General, with cracking down on immigrants likely to be a major focus for him. Sessions is also seen as a right-wing hardliner who identifies with his former position as a prosecutor and will be eager to aggressively enforce laws.

Sessions’ nomination has been criticized by many, including the NAACP, who Sessions previously condemned as an un-American group teaching anti-American values. Sessions was also accused of calling both the NAACP and the ACLU “Communist-inspired” groups.

Flynn was always expected to get a significant role like the National Security Advisers, while Sessions had previously been mentioned as a possible Defense Secretary before being put in the Justice Department. Pompeo is the most surprising of the three appointments, as he had not been widely reported to be in the running for anything.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • yvgenyschuss

    You fools who believed that Trump was going to be a nice guy and antiwar.

    • outer_rl

      Nice guy – no. Antiwar – yes, and it’s looking increasingly clear that he is anti-war.

      • Sarastro92

        Yeah… by promising to attack Iran and hiring maniacs all screaming for the same thing… Sure. Anti-war my foot.

        • outer_rl

          He hasn’t promised to attack Iran. Clinton did.

          • Sarastro92

            “”With Iran, when they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little
            boats and they make gestures at our people that they shouldn’t be
            allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water,” Trump said to loud
            cheers.”

            http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/295273-trump-i-would-shoot-at-confrontational-iranian-ships

            Furthermore, he promises to rip up the Iranian Nuclear Agreement… and then what?

          • outer_rl

            As I said – no where in your link does he say he would break the Iran deal.

            Saying he would shoot at Iranian gunboats – very clever campaigning strategy, and it puts him under no obligation to actually follow through.

            Clinton on the other hand threatened to nuke Iran –
            http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2016/day010316.html

          • Sarastro92

            The question was attacking Iran.

            But yes (if you cared to look), Trump promised
            in a speech to the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC
            in March, that his “Number-One priority” would be to
            “dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”

            http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-iran-idUSKBN13427E

          • outer_rl

            It took the entire AIPAC conference to pressure him into saying that, and he’s still using weasel words. Trump has repeatedly praised Iran for fighting ISIS, saying he would cooperate with them to destroy ISIS. He isn’t going to undermine cooperation with Russia by starting a fight with Iran.

          • He went to the AIPAC conference on his hands and knees ready to offer them anything they wanted — not for their support, but just to grab a few votes from people who don’t pay attention.

            He has repeatedly said everything under the sun, depending on what he thinks whoever he’s trying to impress at the moment wants to hear. It would be a mistake to assume any more complexity or sturdiness of character to him than that indicates.

          • outer_rl

            Yes and no. Like Clinton, he went to AIPAC both for votes, for funding, and in the hope of depriving the opponent of votes and funding.

            However, also like Clinton, if you want to see the real point of view, look at what they say that isn’t popular. See the opinions they put forward that clash with the opinions of their audience and which cost them support.

            In Clinton’s case, you can see her support for free trade agreements and her naming Henry Kissinger as a personal friend and an inspiration. She lost significant support in the primaries especially for this. It shows this really is the way she sees the world, and if she came to power, she would put a lot of effort into seeking international agreements on free trade, plus her foreign policy would be Kissingeresque – lots more coups, lots more scheming, manipulation, use of petty violence and treachery to advance US power.

            In Trump’s case, his condemnation of the Iraq war in front of the Republican convention had him booed, and his calls for better relations with Russia made him open to severe attacks form the Democrats for being a threat to national security. It means this is what he really believes in. Likewise, when he declared that ISIS is worse than Assad, and that even Iran is helping to fight ISIS, that was not winning him votes or support, and earned him more opponents in the elections. It shows that we can expect from a Trump presidency.

          • You must have found a REALLY good source of high-quality crack.

          • outer_rl

            If all you’ve got is one line insults unrelated to the subject at hand, you might want to switch to Twitter.

          • And if all you’ve got is a fantasy Trump with an at best tenuous basis in reality, you might want to put down that glass pipe and start paying attention.

          • outer_rl

            You still haven’t made an argument.

          • I know I haven’t made an argument. An argument presupposes propositions with which to argue on the basis of fact and logic, not just crack-addled fantasies of being able to telepathically know the “real” Trump and what he will do.

          • outer_rl

            Argument doesn’t require telepathy, it just requires a level of literacy you don’t have.

          • YOU are the one claiming that when he says something you agree with, “it means this is what he really believes in” and that “it shows that we can expect from a Trump presidency,” where when he says something you disagree with, oh, he doesn’t really mean THAT.

            Argument requires logic. You’ve brought none. Go get some and bring it here, THEN we can have an argument. Until you do so, I’m just going to dismiss you as dotty because that’s what the evidence points to.

          • outer_rl

            That’s okay, I’ll leave you to your illiterate wingeathon.

          • Have a nice day then.

          • musings2

            Trump voters are like children of an alcoholic hoping daddy will finally come home sober and stop beating them. Promises, promises. Guess they have to experience their own bout of hope and change disappointment.

          • outer_rl

            Good thing is, Trump is a non-drinker.

        • Every day and every action taken by the Trump administration in progress must be measured. Donald Trump is clearly talented is offering hope to both sides. I think it is likely that he will betray the anti-war movement. Between Justin Raimondo and Thomas Knapp and the rest of the anti-war.com crew I imagine we will have a critical take no matter the direction Trump takes.

  • Idiotland

    What a surprise. It’s over before it even began.

    • outer_rl

      Why? It sounds like his picks are indeed people who will deescalate the anti-Russian paranoia, and end the jihad against the Syrian government.

      • Sarastro92

        And then attack Iran. Great.

  • Does Justin even f**king read these things on his own damn website?

    • Pearlbuck

      You mean that stuff about Hillary vowing to put a no-fly zone in Syria and demonizing Putin?

      • Ark Ark

        so the neocons didn’t get their war with Russia, but they might now get the consolation prize of bombing iran after Trumps big strong macho men rip up the Iran deal and start to demonise them like it’s 2006/07 all over again.

        • dieter heymann

          Throughout history religions have been either the cause or the grease of wars. With regards to Persia/Iran it was Zoroastrianism vs. Buddhism then vs. Roman gods, then vs. Christianity. Later it became Islam vs. Christianity which is still the grease of US vs. Iran.
          Today it is Christian nukes against (non-existing) Muslim nukes (in Iran), not democratic nukes vs. theocratic nukes.

        • outer_rl

          Why do you think he’ll break the Iran deal? He never said he’d break it in the campaign – even though there was huge pressure on him to say he would.

          • Sarastro92

            He certainly did… all the time..

          • outer_rl

            Can you share a link – I know he said it was a “bad deal” – but I can find nothing saying he would break it.

          • Ark Ark

            Just buttering up the Israelis or does he mean it ? his picks for his foreign policy team indicates he means it imo.

            http://www.timesofisrael.com/donald-trumps-full-speech-to-aipac/

            “My number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran”

          • outer_rl

            His rivals were openly saying they would “tear up” the Iran deal. He isn’t exactly the shy and retiring type – why is he wincing his words? He has openly praised Iran for fighting Isis.

          • Ark Ark

            mincing his words ?

            “My number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran”

          • outer_rl

            Yes, that’s weaker than “I will tear up the deal”

          • Ark Ark

            because he said it was a terrible deal on the campaign and now pretty much all of his appointments want to see an end to it.

            His CIA pick literally came out (after getting the job I believe?) and said he couldn’t wait to tear it up, why would he contradict his new boss right after getting the job ?

        • Sarastro92

          Exactly…

        • Pearlbuck

          And you know what? If, in the end, that was the choice we had, I’m confident that we lucked out.

    • John_Smith001

      We are still in the hope phase, reality comes soon enough. Whether it will be a better reality or more of the same remains to be seen.

    • Justin cares more about domestic policy issues like immigration than foreign policy issues. This is unfortunately what paleoconservatives like Justin believe. This is why Justin prefers Trump.

      Evidence: Justin bashes Gary Johnson, Justin is against immigration, Justin is anti-Muslim, etc.

      Justin’s antiwar rhetoric is used more as a tactic to bash Obama/Clinton (who he oppose mostly because they’re open-border leftists.)

      • outer_rl

        Obama and Clinton are hawks. There’s no sign Trump will start any wars.

        • Sarastro92

          Other than promising to attack Iran and hiring screaming hawks who have vowed to do the same thing

      • I don’t do Twitter. All I know is that during most of the Obama and Bush years Justin was one of the best foreign policy writers alive and now he seems to have taken total leave of his senses. Maybe I should have seen this coming but I seriously did not and it’s extremely disappointing. I really believed he was better than this. You live, you learn.

    • dieter heymann

      No. He is the most gullible reporter alive.

  • TellTheTruth-2

    The question will be: Can Donald Trump turn Republic hawks into doves? If he cuts them off from the Ziocon war mongers, he might be able to do it.

    • Adriaan de Leeuw

      sadly the neocon fools see things like the Syrian conflict as there way of getting the second coming of Christ to happen the ISIS hordes sweeping down from the North Golan Heights)over the Plains of Armageddon 35 miles to the south on their way to Jerusalem! A Neocon Christmas Present!

  • Sarastro92

    Flynn’s “real crime” was to expose the fact that Clinton- Obama were
    funneling weaponry to jihadi terrorists in Syria– Nusra (aka al Qaeda)
    and Isis. This salient fact seems to have eluded most commentators— for obvious reasons

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/asia/item/20943-u-s-intel-obama-coalition-supported-islamic-state-in-syria

    No one in his right mind wants to import tens of thousands of refugees from
    Clinton- Bush- Obama genocidal wars in the Middle East… just take a
    look at conditions in Europe. If you’re so interested in helping these
    poor people, stop colluding with ISIS to depose Assad and start a major
    reconstruction program in all the nations the US destroyed in the Middle
    East.

    Sessions, on the other hand, is unfit to serve because he supports voter suppression tactics.

    • Adriaan de Leeuw

      Of course if it wasnt for the US funding Al Nusra who split and brought us ISIS as well there would be no Refugee Crisis in Europe and if they hadnt done the same in Libya there would have been no crisis from there no Bengazi either! We should remember though this is a bi partisan effort Look at “John McCain in Syria” google it for the photos! and go way back to Afghanistan under Reagan or before! Interference has caused much suffering and endless years of Warfare the Current Iranian Crisis goes back to WWII the US Britain and Russia invaded a neutral country (Germany wasn;t the ONLY country that did it) The overthrow of an Elected Iranian Government and installing of a Dictatorship was the first black operation of the CIA, Truman had refused to allow it, IKE allowed it! All these things that the Us has done have caused serious repercussions in the region and I am just touching the sides here!

      • Sarastro92

        You’re absolutely correct. Flynn was reacting to the proximal cause of the Syrian crisis which was engineered by Obama- Clinton and then Kerry.

        And yes, the 25 year-long nonstop genocidal rampage throughout the ME was and is very much a bipartisan venture for US global hegemony (The Wolfowitz Doctrine)

    • outer_rl

      I agree with the sentiment, but at the same time, tens of thousands isn’t actually a very large number when your country has a population of hundreds of millions.

      • Sarastro92

        Take a look at the streets of Paris
        https://ixquick-proxy.com/do/spg/show_picture.pl?l=english&rais=1&oiu=http%3A%2F%2Fcare4calais.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F10%2FMigrants-Paris-3.jpg&sp=7b5767d066b065e0710dd5b8b7cd2d45

        Do we need this? The massacres there and in Germany.

        Areas in major cities throughout W Europe are too dangerous for anyone to enter… In any case, these are token gestures. We in the US Surely don’t need this kind of burden and mayhem.

        NO MORE WAR and begin reconstruction.

        • outer_rl

          Link not working.

          But on the point – No they really aren’t, I live an area of Europe with a high muslim population, and there is nothing like a “no go area”. The USA has a far, far higher crime rate and far more violent murders than Europe. Most of the violent crime in Britain is drunk teenagers knifing each other on the streets of Glasgow, not muslims.

          • Sarastro92

            Try Stockholm. And Parisian neighborhoods.

          • outer_rl

            France has the same crime rate as the UK. Which is far lower than the US. You are far more likely to get shot by criminals in America than by Muslims in Britain, France, or anywhere else in Europe.

    • musings2

      Excuse me, but it seems two Bushes involved us in Mideast wars. Clinton was about the breaking up of Yugoslavia mess, in which he bombed Belgrade (which most of us have forgotten, but which is graven on Putin’s heart like Calais was on the heart of Bloody Mary).

      • Sarastro92

        You must have missed the news. Killary (not Bill… led the charge in Libya and Syria, while also voting to support the Iraq and Afghanistan ventures.

        As a matter of record though, Bill pave the way for Dubya by sanctions (that killed a half million Iraqi kids) and no-fly zones in Iraq. He also (with his wife) were staunch defenders of the attack on Iraq and deposition of Saddam.

        • musings2

          The Secretary of State cannot act independently. She had to act on the orders of President Obama. Attributing independent agency to her is a mistake. Surely Kerry has never been portrayed as exercising independent agency –

          Do you really think Gulf War 1, led by Bush Senior came without sanctions? Bill Clinton merely upheld his policies. They are on very good terms today, too.

    • Alvaro Trentini

      Are you talking about having identification when voting?

      • Sarastro92

        No. I’m talking about so few polling booths it takes hours to vote. I’m talking about purging the polling rolls indiscriminately in black wards… I’m talking about aggressive challenges to voters at the polling booths themselves.

        Many of these provisions were struck down by the courts in 2016… read the decisions yourself if you’re so interested.

  • Ark Ark

    looks very much like the crazy faction of the war party just returned to washington, those “we’re real macho men, we get stuff done” kind, the Dick Cheney republicans, if you will, the “We’re real men and we’re gonna roll our sleeves up and rip the Iran deal up”

    Obama and his democrats favoured “smart power” (which was dumb) these guys are unabashed believers in overt dumb power.

    with war hawks in all the key positions then they’ll have Trumps ear on all the major events, they’ll be feeding him tall tales every single day. I’d say war with iran just got a whole lot more probable.

    The neocons can breathe a sigh of relief, even when they lose, they win.

    • outer_rl

      Why do you think they’re going to rip up the Iran deal? I see no signs of that.

      • Ark Ark

        the republicans have been itching to get into power and do this, remember the Iran letter that even Rand Paul signed ? it’s those folks who are now in power. Of course they’re going to scrap the deal, they’ll blame the iranians for it of course, they’ll claim they breached the deal somehow.

        becoming ever clearer now that Trump rode the wave of anti war/anti establishment sentiment to propel himself into power, not because he was a real agent of change.

        sorry, it’s just how i’m seeing it right now, hope i’m dead wrong (wound’t be the first time)

        • outer_rl

          Trump’s a better manger than Obama, he won’t let his advisors rule the roost like Obama did. He was under a lot of pressure to say he would scrap the Iran deal, but he never did so. That is no accident. He isn’t planning any war.

          • Ark Ark

            putting pro war officials in key positions isn’t a good sign though, they can manipulate, steer, cajole Trump in a certain direction. You can’t trust these people, he’s obviously compromised with the GOP on some of these guys, a big mistake imo.

            In an ideal world he’d have got on the phone to Ron Paul where foreign policy appointments are concerned.

            Have you seen the video of Trump sat at his desk advocating the overthrow of Gadaffi ? it won’t be that hard to sway him imo.

          • outer_rl

            Lots of us changed our minds over Gaddafi, the CIA launched a massive campaign of disinformation to instigate that war. The advisors he has hired are militarists and authoritarian, but they are anti rebel, anti Isis, pro Russia. That’s the best we can hope for, for now.

  • bob balkas

    All or almost all politicians [and clergy, of course] fear and hate democracy; so, i did not expect Trump to be democratic.
    His top political enemies in US should not this.

  • MANlMAL

    Well, what a surprise! Who will break the news to Justin Raimondo?

    • outer_rl

      The news that Trump is going to make peace with Russia and stop arming jihadis in Syria? Anyone can do that.

  • musings2

    “a handful of picks (sic)” is it? Rhymes with…

  • Bastiat

    So much for “draining the swamp”! Donald Trump has an utter contempt for the Constitution and individual rights.

  • Panco Nietzsche

    Flynn’s craziness should be held in check by his good new buddy, Mike “Yellow Cake” Ledeen.

  • David S

    Clearly he hasn’t properly identified the swamp his supporters wanted drained. He keeps dipping his “bucket” into it to fill his cabinet.

  • jdbaird

    Hopefully none of Trump’s advisors read this site because I don’t want to give them any ideas, but at least he hasn’t appointed John Bolton to anything. I would lose what little hope I have.

  • I heard he may put in John Bolton someplace. Bolton is gross. I’m starting to get Bush de ju vu

  • Peter Mo

    Listen to Youtube videos of Mike Pompeo speaking on Iran.
    He is advocating the Iranians rise up against Iranian leadership and within a month of a Republican in the White House he is certain the Democrats will join in supporting Israel attacking Iran.
    The guy is mad, unhinged and a huge threat to world peace if Trump gives him a free hand. His other positions viz. Russia, Middle East are complete opposite to what Trump has been saying. e.g. The Middle East being better off with US involvement. Trump’s take is that US politicians would have done better going to the beach.