President Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon now effectively heads the National Security Council which means he’s in charge of domestic and national security.
An anonymous intelligence official communicated with Foreign Policy magazine and described an unorganized, chaotic White House that’s being run without any checks and balances and no paper trail.
The official – who asked not to be named out of fear of retribution – reported that before Bannon was officially named head of the NSC’s “principals committee,” he was already calling the shots; and he did so with very little, if any, input from the staff.
“He [Bannon] is running a cabal, almost like a shadow NSC,” the intelligence official said.
Dissenting opinions are not welcome, according to the source, and there’s no paper trail of what’s happening on any level. The NSC staff can no longer review White House executive orders – which has been common practice in previous administrations.
Bannon doesn’t want a paper trail for any of the recommendations made by the NSC which are known as “summary of conclusions” (SOC). A former NSC member, Matthew Waxman, told Foreign Policy “Under [President George W. Bush], the National Security Council was quite strict about recording SOCs. There was often a high level of generality, and there may have been some exceptions, but they were carefully crafted.”
The source added that the White House failed to generate any SOCs since the new administration took over, and the lack of a paper trail helps Bannon concentrate power. The intelligence official said Bannon is on a “witch hunt” to find out who in the White House is leaking proposed executive orders to the press.
“There is zero room for dissenting opinion,” the White House source said.
There’s a very interesting twist here, and one that will be humiliating for this unorganized, childish administration. Political pundit Jonathan Alter tweeted this on January 30 – “Breaking: obscure law requires Sen confirmation for WH aide like Bannon to serve on NSC. 50 U.S. Code § 3021″
Breaking: obscure law requires Sen confirmation for WH aide like Bannon to serve on NSC. 50 U.S. Code § 3021 https://t.co/1sRQEnP3CY
— Jonathan Alter (@jonathanalter) January 31, 2017
In May, The Washington Post described Trump’s campaign as highly unstructured and run like a business, “fond of promoting rivalries among subordinates, wary of delegating major decisions, scornful of convention and fiercely insistent on a culture of loyalty around him.”
“While this may have worked for his company, it is certainly not a way to run a country,” the official said.