Cowl up or coup – no matter Trump does within the Pentagon can’t be good

Donald Trump has now cleaned up several senior civil servants in the Pentagon and replaced them with a handful of bootlicking loyalists. None of Trump's new henchmen are up to the jobs they now hold, and these abrupt personnel changes are as destabilizing for the Pentagon as they should profoundly affect the country. Here are the Cliff's Notes on the personnel changes.

Newly installed

Assistant Secretary of Defense: Christopher Miller, a combat veteran who became right-wing speaker
Chief of Staff: Kash Patel, a former employee of Devin Nunes who was part of the White House National Security Commissioner (NSC) and worked to discredit the investigation against Russia
Deputy Undersecretary of State for Politics: Brig retired. General Anthony Tata, whose appointment to DOD was canceled earlier this year after being exposed as a racist, Obama-hating conspiracy theorist
Undersecretary of State for Intelligence Defense: Ezra Cohen-Watnick, an ally of Michael Flynn and a former NSC employee who allegedly provided Rep. Nunes with information that Trump's communications, incidentally, were taken away by US intelligence agencies that carried out foreign surveillance
General Counsel, National Security Agency: Michael Ellis, also a former Nunes and NSC employee (he allegedly provided information to Nunes with Cohen-Watnick and later forwarded Trump's Ukraine call to the Super Secret Server) who now holds one of the most powerful legal positions in the US Intelligence Community

Resigned / Forced

Secretary of Defense: Mark Esper
Under-Secretary of State for Defense for Intelligence: Joseph Kernan
Deputy Under Secretary of State for Politics: James Anderson

It's unclear what Trump is up to with his newly appointed team of loyal loyalists and disinformation specialists, but nothing good can come of it. One theory – and again it's a theory – is that some kind of cover-up is going on. Nunes coupled with abuse / mistreatment of intelligence and For so many of these players, knowing exactly what happened during Trump's tenure at the NSC is central. And whatever happened to Trump, Russia, Flynn and Nunes, the other intelligence agencies (CIA / FBI) ​​probably know far more than what has been publicly disclosed. Something just doesn't feel right with all of these Nunes / NSC Insiders deployed in powerful positions at the last minute.

Another possibility, which seems equally far-fetched and yet not out of the realm of the era, is for Trump to attempt to orchestrate a coup. Four retired stars General Barry McCaffrey told MSNBC on Wednesday that he had full confidence that the military leadership would never agree to unconstitutional orders, but he also said Trump's intentions were very worrying.

"If I were a CIA officer trying to understand what is going on in a third world country and I saw this pattern of behavior, I would say the strong man is trying to take over government and oppose an election "said McCaffrey. "And I think you are playing with that idea in the White House."

This is all mere guesswork, but Trump's erratic moves in these uncertain times justify the kind of guesswork that would not serve any purpose under normal circumstances. In this case, we need to keep track of all of Trump's next steps as we may have only seen the tip of the iceberg.

As McCaffrey said: "I've been shot many times and killed almost a few times. I am not an alarmist. I stay cool under pressure. Mark me alarmed. "

Addendum: I'm going to add some of these tweets from Bill Kristol (I know, but I think his sources are very relevant here.) They were originally written by community member Joe Pac. The idea of ​​completely taking over U.S. intelligence from Trump loyalists, with DNI Ratcliffe already in place and a potential Reel / Wray downfall, is terrifying. Another thing to look for is whether Trump is trying to replace General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who is a Senate-approved position.


3. Re Miller, Patel, Tata, Cohen-Watnick, Ellis (New General Counsel at NSA): "No one is remotely qualified for their job." But WH doesn't care. Together with Ratcliffe at DNI, we are getting closer to controlling the Trumpists or trying to control the "power departments".

– Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) November 11, 2020


5. The removal of Reel from the CIA and / or Wray from the FBI would of course be key. Together with Ratcliffe from DNI and Cohen-Watnick, who oversee the entire Pentagon-Intel structure, we would then have almost unhindered control of the Trumpists over our intelligence services and everything that goes with it.

– Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) November 11, 2020

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