Trump decides Breitbart chair Bannon knows more about natsec than actual professionals

One political hack is worth one Director of National Intelligence and one Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. No, really

Official Seal of the President of the United States.

In case the first week of the White House of President Donald Trump hadn't scared you enough, alt.right news service Breitbart executive chair and now Senior Counselor to the President Steve Bannon has managed to insert himself into the United States' National Security Council.

By order of a memo signed with President Trump's custom-built minipen, Bannon has been added to the National Security Council's (NSC's) Principals Committee. The appointment means that Bannon, a political advisor, has a seat at the table equal to the Secretaries of Defence, Homeland Security, and the Secretary of State. Political operatives are usually not members of the Council.

To make room for the controversial alt.right figure valuable addition to America's defences, President Trump has taken away the permanent seats on the NSC previously allocated to the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Also shunned are the Secretary of Energy, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The Department of Energy is responsible for America's nuclear arsenal.

The Deputy Director of State will no longer be present at all meetings of the NSC; instead, the Office of Management and Budget gets to attend.

From the order, with our emphasis added:

“The PC shall have as its regular attendees the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, the Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist, the National Security Advisor, and the Homeland Security Advisor. The Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall attend where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed. The Counsel to the President, the Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget may attend all PC meetings."

Twitter account PwnAllTheThings, run by computer security expert Matt Tait, posted this summary of the changes:

However, the same account also noted that the Secretary of Energy's role is statutory, not in the gift of the presidency, and might therefore be reversed.

Several sources that aren't Wikipedia agree. For example, the Federation of American Scientists (PDF here) notes that the Secretary of Energy's statutory membership began in 2007; Cornell's Legal Information Institute has the text of US Code § 3021 here.

The first meeting of the NSC will, we're sure, be an exciting affair. Amid the chaos and criticism of President Trump's Muslim travel bans, CNN reports that the Department of Homeland Security's advice that it should not apply to Green Card holders was overruled - by Bannon and another member of Trump's inner circle, Stephen Miller. ®




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