Frank Gaffney: President Trump May Be ‘Undermined by His Own Subordinates’ After Strong UN Speech

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 20, 2017:

Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney joined SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily to review President Trump’s address to the UN General Assembly.

Kassam asked if Trump’s strong words against Iran during the speech presaged the end of the Iran nuclear deal.

“This is the question,” Gaffney replied. “Action is not so much what one needs to wonder about. I think there will be action. The question is, is it action consistent with what the president said yesterday?”

“This has been what’s so frustrating, I know, to all of us listening to this program and part of the Make America Great Again movement, is the president is being repeatedly and in fact serially undermined by his own subordinates,” he explained.

“He makes these speeches, or he makes these pronouncements, or he tweets the sorts of things that are redolent of the campaign, and what he stood for, and what he promised – only to have H.R. McMaster, or Jim Mattis, or particularly Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, almost immediately sallying forth and saying, ‘Well, what the president really meant to say was exactly the opposite,’” Gaffney lamented.

“In this case, of course, we have Rex Tillerson sitting down with the so-called ‘Perm 5 Plus One,’ which is U.N.-speak for the gang that put together this Iran deal – I call it the ‘Obama bomb deal’ – plus the Iranian foreign minister. Obviously, the pressure is going to be intense, not just from the Iranians but from the Europeans, to walk back from what the president said,” he warned.

“I pray that Rex Tillerson won’t do it because I think the president got it exactly right. This is a defective deal. It is an embarrassment to the United States that Barack Obama perpetrated it – and, by the way, that Republicans in Congress enabled him to get away with imposing it upon the rest of us. We need to get out from that thing right away. I think John Bolton had that exactly right, and I commend everyone his alternative approach. I hope that’s what Rex Tillerson will be promoting, but I don’t hold my breath on it,” said Gaffney.

Kassam mentioned the argument advanced by French President Emmanuel Macron that the North Korean crisis makes the case for keeping the Iran deal alive because Iran’s nuclear ambitions are now held in check by the kind of oversight North Korea has never received.

“Rubbish,” Gaffney snorted. “This is forgetting the actual lessons of all of this, of course, which are that indeed we made a deal with the North Koreans that was supposed to prevent them from getting the bomb, not unlike we’ve done with the Iranians, and it did not work out.”

“To the contrary, we’ve now got them with not only atomic weapons and missiles with which to deliver them, but now it appears a hydrogen bomb,” he argued. “The so-called ‘strategic patience’ of the Obama administration, unfortunately, followed on the heels of incompetence and malfeasance under both the Clinton administration that made that deal with the North Koreans, and the George W. Bush administration, so there’s a bipartisan fault here. This is not a model to be extolled or held up as the way to deal with Iran.”

Kassam found President Trump’s strong condemnation of socialism to be the most remarkable and encouraging moment of his speech, especially given that a majority of the nations in the UN General Assembly consider themselves socialist to some degree.

“It was tough love, without probably the love,” Gaffney quipped. “The president was laying out the hard truth, and it was incredibly important that he did so – and that he did so to the socialists in that place.”

“Not only are there large numbers of socialists, or communists for that matter, in the UN I mean, it basically is a socialist enterprise. It’s all about redistribution of wealth and power under the auspices of successive socialists, including the guy who is currently running it – the Secretary-General is an old socialist from Portugal. These are people who, I believe, actually think this is the way of the future, so it was very important,” he said.

“But again, it has to be backed up. Let me just say, I think in addition to not having his subordinates undermine him – which they do again, and again, and again, without any consequences – we also have to take actions, Raheem,” he told Kassam.

“I mean, it’s one thing to be telling the North Koreans and ‘Rocket Man’ that you’re toast if you think about pursuing with those hydrogen bombs threats to us. It’s another to actually put into place the capabilities to assure that everybody understands that that’s not an empty threat,” he stressed.

“The rhetoric has been more or less good,” Gaffney judged. “I think you’re absolutely right that the MAGA movement was heard, and brought back ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ That’s a twofer. One, it’s important in its own right to be calling the enemy what it is, and also that it demonstrates how important the base is. We need to make sure the president is hearing us all the time. I know that he does through your channel, but we need it more elsewhere. In this case in particular, we have got to make sure that we are backing up with credible military capabilities the rhetoric that the president is using.”

Kassam turned to Gaffney’s recent blog post, “Freedom’s Friends Must Denounce, Not Dignify, the SPLC and CAIR.”

“We’ve been talking a lot, and rightly so, about what’s being done to freedom of speech – arguably sort of the foundational freedom in our Constitution and for our republic,” Gaffney said.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center and Islamist Muslim Brotherhood sharia supremacist groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR, have been making – I’m sorry to say even under this administration, under a Republican-controlled Congress – great strides to try to impose the kind of restrictions you’re very familiar with, of course, on your side of the pond,” he said, referring to speech codes in the United Kingdom, where Kassam resides.

Gaffney said these speech restrictions “are designed to basically promote sharia blasphemy restrictions: you must not give offense, particularly to Muslims.”

“The Southern Poverty Law Center has been central to that agenda. They have been working assiduously to defame people who speak the truth about these sorts of issues,” he charged.

“Rod Rosenstein, amazingly, went to what was billed as a civil rights conference in Birmingham last week and gave a speech,” Gaffney said, referring to the Deputy Attorney General. “It was mostly about civil rights, but by his presence, he dignified an event that was holding up both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Council on American Islamic Relations. They had speakers, they were participants in this program, they were considered to be just great champions of civil rights – when, in fact, they are trying to take away that key civil right of freedom of expression. It’s scandalous.”

Of the recent revelations that President Trump appears to have been correct about the Obama Justice Department wiretapping Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign, Gaffney said, “I think what we’re seeing dribbling out slowly, inexorably, is evidence that the Obama administration was engaged in political warfare.”

“I mean, ‘dirty tricks’ doesn’t begin to describe it,” he said, describing the Obama administration’s conduct as “political warfare that makes Nixon’s plumbers in Watergate look like pikers.”

“These were people that were using the instruments of the State, the Deep State if you will – the intelligence community, the law-enforcement community, and of course the National Security Council, Ben Rhodes and his whole disinformation operation and political warfare capabilities – to destroy those like Donald Trump and his campaign that they feared might actually prevent them from having a third term,” Gaffney charged.

“This is why it’s so important to get to the bottom of this, and not be distracted by these deflections, and misinformation, and special prosecutors who are off on a red tear to get us away from the reality that Barack Obama and his minions are Watergate on steroids,” he said. “We need to know the full truth of it.”

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern

LISTEN:

Why Obama Really Spied on Trump

Obama had to spy on Trump to protect himself.

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, Sept. 20, 2017:

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

Last week, CNN revealed (and excused) one phase of the Obama spying operation on Trump. After lying about it on MSNBC, Susan Rice admitted unmasking the identities of Trump officials to Congress.

Rice was unmasking the names of Trump officials a month before leaving office. The targets may have included her own successor, General Flynn, who was forced out of office using leaked surveillance.

While Rice’s targets weren’t named, the CNN story listed a meeting with Flynn, Bannon and Kushner.

Bannon was Trump’s former campaign chief executive and a senior adviser. Kushner is a senior adviser. Those are exactly the people you spy on to get an insight into what your political opponents plan to do.

Now the latest CNN spin piece informs us that secret FISA orders were used to spy on the conversations of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.  The surveillance was discontinued for lack of evidence and then renewed under a new warrant. This is part of a pattern of FISA abuses by Obama Inc. which never allowed minor matters like lack of evidence to dissuade them from new FISA requests.

Desperate Obama cronies had figured out that they could bypass many of the limitations on the conventional investigations of their political opponents by ‘laundering’ them through national security.

If any of Trump’s people were talking to non-Americans, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) could be used to spy on them. And then the redacted names of the Americans could be unmasked by Susan Rice, Samantha Power and other Obama allies. It was a technically legal Watergate.

If both CNN stories hold up, then Obama Inc. had spied on two Trump campaign leaders.

Furthermore the Obama espionage operation closely tracked Trump’s political progress. The first FISA request targeting Trump happened the month after he received the GOP nomination.  The second one came through in October: the traditional month of political surprises meant to upend an election.

The spying ramped up after Trump’s win when the results could no longer be used to engineer a Hillary victory, but would instead have to be used to cripple and bring down President Trump. Headed out the door, Rice was still unmasking the names of Trump’s people while Obama was making it easier to pass around raw eavesdropped data to other agencies.

Obama had switched from spying on a political opponent to win an election, to spying on his successor to undo the results of the election. Abuse of power by a sitting government had become subversion of the government by an outgoing administration. Domestic spying on opponents had become a coup.

The Democrat scandals of the past few administrations have hinged on gross violations of political norms, elementary ethics and the rule of law that, out of context, were not technically illegal.

But it’s the pattern that makes the crime. It’s the context that shows the motive.

Obama Inc. compartmentalized its espionage operation in individual acts of surveillance and unmasking, and general policies implemented to aid both, that may have been individually legal, in the purely technical sense, in order to commit the major crime of eavesdropping on the political opposition.

When the individual acts of surveillance are described as legal, that’s irrelevant. It’s the collective pattern of surveillance of the political opposition that exposes the criminal motive for them.

If Obama spied on two of Trump’s campaign leaders, that’s not a coincidence. It’s a pattern.

A criminal motive can be spotted by a consistent pattern of actions disguised by different pretexts. A dirty cop may lose two pieces of evidence from the same defendant while giving two different excuses. A shady accountant may explain two otherwise identical losses in two different ways. Both excuses are technically plausible. But it’s the pattern that makes the crime.

Manafort was spied on under the Russia pretext. Bannon may have been spied on over the UAE. That’s two different countries, two different people and two different pretexts.

But one single target. President Trump.

It’s the pattern that exposes the motive.

When we learn the whole truth (if we ever do), we will likely discover that Obama Inc. assembled a motley collection of different technically legal pretexts to spy on Trump’s team.

Each individual pretext might be technically defensible. But together they add up to the crime of the century.

Obama’s gamble was that the illegal surveillance would justify itself. If you spy on a bunch of people long enough, especially people in politics and business, some sort of illegality, actual or technical, is bound to turn up. That’s the same gamble anyone engaged in illegal surveillance makes.

Businessmen illegally tape conversations with former partners hoping that they’ll say something damning enough to justify the risk. That was what Obama and his allies were doing with Trump.

It’s a crime. And you can’t justify committing a crime by discovering a crime.

If everyone were being spied on all the time, many crimes could be exposed every second. But that’s not how our system works. That’s why we have a Fourth Amendment.

Nor was Obama Inc. trying to expose crimes for their own sake, but to bring down the opposition.

That’s why it doesn’t matter what results the Obama surveillance turned up. The surveillance was a crime. Anything turned up by it is the fruit of a poisonous tree. It’s inherently illegitimate.

The first and foremost agenda must be to assemble a list of Trump officials who were spied on and the pretexts under which they were spied upon. The pattern will show the crime. And that’s what Obama and his allies are terrified of. It’s why Flynn was forced out using illegal surveillance and leaks. It’s why McMaster is protecting Susan Rice and the Obama holdovers while purging Trump loyalists at the NSC.

The left’s gamble was that the Mueller investigation or some other illegitimate spawn of the Obama eavesdropping would produce an indictment and then the procedural questions wouldn’t matter.

It’s the dirty cop using illegal eavesdropping to generate leads for a “clean” case against his target while betting that no one will look too closely or care how the case was generated. If one of the Mueller targets is intimidated into making a deal, the question of how the case was generated won’t matter.

Mueller will have a cooperative witness. And the Democrats can begin their coup in earnest. It will eventually turn out that there is no “there” there. But by then, it’ll be time for President Booker.

There’s just one problem.

If the gamble fails, if no criminal case that amounts to anything more than the usual investigational gimmick charges like perjury (the Federal equivalent of ‘resisting arrest’ for a beat cop) develops, then Obama and his allies are on the hook for the domestic surveillance of their political opponents.

With nothing to show for it and no way to distract from it.

That’s the race against the clock that is happening right now. Either the investigation gets results. Or its perpetrators are left hanging in the wind. If McMaster is fired, which on purely statistical grounds he probably will be, and a Trump loyalist who wasn’t targeted by the surveillance operation becomes the next National Security Adviser and brings in Trump loyalists, as Flynn tried to do, then it’s over.

And the Dems finally get their Watergate. Except the star won’t be Trump, it will be Obama. Rice, Power, Lynch and the rest of the gang will be the new Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Mitchell.

Once Obama and his allies launched their domestic surveillance operation, they crossed the Rubicon. And there was no way back. They had to destroy President Trump or risk going to jail.

The more crimes they committed by spying on the opposition, the more urgently they needed to bring down Trump. The consequences of each crime that they had committed spurred them on to commit worse crimes to save themselves from going to jail. It’s the same old story when it comes to criminals.

Each act of illegal surveillance became more blatant. And when illegal surveillance couldn’t stop Trump’s victory, they had to double down on the illegal surveillance for a coup.

The more Obama spied on Trump, the more he had to keep doing it. This time it was bound to pay off.

Obama and his allies had violated the norms so often for their policy goals that they couldn’t afford to be replaced by anyone but one of their own. The more Obama relied on the imperial presidency of executive orders, the less he could afford to be replaced by anyone who would undo them.  The more his staffers lied and broke the law on everything from the government shutdown to the Iran nuke sellout, the more desperately they needed to pull out all the stops to keep Trump out of office. And the more they did it, the more they couldn’t afford not to do it. Abuse of power locks you into the loop familiar to all dictators. You can’t stop riding the tiger. Once you start, you can’t afford to stop.

If you want to understand why Samantha Power was unmasking names, that’s why. The hysterical obsession with destroying Trump comes from the top down. It’s not just ideology. It’s wealthy and powerful men and women who ran the country and are terrified that their crimes will be exposed.

It’s why the media increasingly sounds like the propaganda organs of a Communist country. Why there are street riots and why the internet is being censored by Google and Facebook’s “fact checking” allies.

It’s not just ideology. It’s raw fear.

The left is sitting on the biggest crime committed by a sitting president. The only way to cover it up is to destroy his Republican successor.

A turning point in history is here.

If Obama goes down, the left will go down with him. If his coup succeeds, then America ends.

***

DID SUSAN RICE SPY ON TRUMP OFFICIALS FOR MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD?

Also see:

Trump’s America-first UN speech was the best of his presidency

President Donald Trump speaks during the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, September 19, 2017. Mary Altaffer | AP Images

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, Sept. 19, 2017:

President Trump delivered the most America-first speech of his presidency in front of the United Nations Tuesday morning in New York City. It was a no-holds-barred address that shined a light on the threat posed by the enemies to the free world, such as Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and the global “radical Islamic terror” groups. Trump’s language adopted the “peace through strength” philosophy popularized by former President Ronald Reagan, and his promotion of American exceptionalism is sure to fire up the base that elected him president.

Trump took a 180-degree turn away from the Obama administration’s soft posture and rhetoric on Iran and radical Islam. He promised to hold accountable the terrorist regime in Tehran and separated the Iranian people from their fundamentalist rulers, demanding that the regime “stop supporting terrorists” and “begin serving its own people.”

He castigated the nuclear deal with Iran, which was negotiated by the Obama administration along with the P5+1 world powers. Trump said that the world would see “very soon” America’s future position on the deal. He has until October 15 to decide whether the U.S. will cancel its involvement in the nuclear accord or remain in the deal for another 90 days.

After taking a brief hiatus from identifying the threat that is the global jihadist movement, President Trump again warned of “the Islamic extremist” threat that continues to menace the free world across the globe. “We will stop radical Islamic terrorism, because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation and, indeed, to tear up the entire world,” Trump declared.

“No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles,” Trump said of the “depraved regime” in North Korea. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” Trump added of dictator Kim Jong Un, promising never to settle for anything less than a de-nuclearized Pyongyang.

Attacking the ideology of the Maduro regime in Venezuela, the president stated: “The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.” He said that the U.S. would not sit idly by while “the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.”

Moving to Syria, Trump described the Assad dictatorship that rules Damascus as a “criminal regime.” He went on to discuss how Assad uses horrific methods in bombing his own countrymen and is seemingly indiscriminate about whether they are men, women, or even innocent children.

On Tuesday morning, Trump delivered a Reaganesque, America-first speech that is sure to fire up conservatives and his base of support. In front of their representatives, he took direct shots at the rogue regimes of the world. Time will tell whether President Trump can make good on the best speech of his presidency with the needed policy outcomes to follow through on his rhetoric.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.

***

TRANSCRIPT  – Remarks by President Trump to the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly

State Department Waging “Open War” on White House

Gatestone Institute, by Soeren Kern, 

  • “It’s not clear to me why the Secretary of State wishes to at once usurp the powers of the Congress and then to derail his boss’s rapprochement with the Israeli government.” — Foreign policy operative, quoted in the Washington Free Beacon.
  • Since he was sworn in as Secretary of State on February 1, Rex Tillerson and his advisors at the State Department have made a number of statements and policy decisions that contradict President Trump’s key campaign promises on foreign policy, especially regarding Israel and Iran.
  • “Tillerson was supposed to clean house, but he left half of them in place and he hid the other half in powerful positions all over the building. These are career staffers committed to preventing Trump from reversing what they created.” — Veteran foreign policy analyst, quoted in the Free Beacon.

The U.S. State Department has backed away from a demand that Israel return $75 million in military aid which was allocated to it by the U.S. Congress.

The repayment demand, championed by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was described as an underhanded attempt by the State Department to derail a campaign pledge by U.S. President Donald J. Trump to improve relations with the Jewish state.

The dispute is the just the latest example of what appears to be a growing power struggle between the State Department and the White House over the future direction of American foreign policy.

The controversy goes back to the Obama administration’s September 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Israel, which pledged $38 billion in military assistance to Jerusalem over the next decade. The MOU expressly prohibits Israel from requesting additional financial aid from Congress.

Congressional leaders, who said the MOU violates the constitutional right of lawmakers to allocate U.S. aid, awarded Israel an additional $75 million in assistance in the final appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017.

Tillerson had argued that Israel should return the $75 million in order to stay within the limits established by the Obama administration. The effort provoked a strong reaction from Congress, which apparently prompted Tillerson to back down.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) “strongly warned the State Department that such action would be unwise and invite unwanted conflict with Israel,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Speaking to the Washington Examiner, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) added:

“As Iran works to surround Israel on every border, and Hezbollah and Hamas rearm, we must work to strengthen our alliance with Israel, not strain it. Congress has the right to allocate money as it deems necessary, and security assistance to Israel is a top priority. Congress is ready to ensure Israel receives the assistance it needs to defend its citizens.”

A veteran congressional advisor told the Free Beacon:

“This is a transparent attempt by career staffers in the State Department to f*ck with the Israelis and derail the efforts of Congressional Republicans and President Trump to rebuild the US-Israel relationship. There’s no reason to push for the Israelis to return the money, unless you’re trying to drive a wedge between Israel and Congress, which is exactly what this is. It won’t work.”

Another foreign policy operative said: “It’s not clear to me why the Secretary of State wishes to at once usurp the powers of the Congress and then to derail his boss’s rapprochement with the Israeli government.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) and President Donald J. Trump (right) on February 1, 2017. (Image source: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

Since he was sworn in as Secretary of State on February 1, Tillerson and his advisors at the State Department have made a number of statements and policy decisions that contradict Trump’s key campaign promises on foreign policy, especially regarding Israel and Iran.

August 10. The State Department hosted representatives of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), an umbrella group established by the Muslim Brotherhood with the aim of mainstreaming political Islam in the United States. Behind closed doors, they reportedly discussed what they said was Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and the removal of all Israeli control of the Temple Mount and holy areas of Jerusalem. Observers said the meeting was part of larger effort by anti-Israel organizations to drive a wedge between the Trump administration and Israel. The USCMO includes a number of organizations, including American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which promote “extreme anti-Israel views” and “anti-Zionist” propaganda, and which support boycotts of the Jewish state.

July 19. The State Department’s new “Country Reports on Terrorism 2016” blamed Israel for Palestinian Arab terrorism against Jews. It attributed Palestinian violence to: “lack of hope in achieving statehood;” “Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank;” “settler violence;” and “the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount.” The report also characterized Palestinian Authority payments to the families of so-called martyrs as “financial packages to Palestinian security prisoners…to reintegrate them into society.”

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) called on the State Department to hold the PA accountable in State Department Country reports: “The State Department report includes multiple findings that are both inaccurate and harmful to combating Palestinian terrorism…. At the highest level, the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership incites, rewards, and, in some cases, carries out terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis. In order to effectively combat terrorism, it is imperative that the United States accurately characterize its root cause — PA leadership.”

June 14. Tillerson voiced opposition to designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, saying that such a classification would complicate Washington’s relations in the Middle East. During his confirmation hearings on January 11, by contrast, Tillerson lumped the Brotherhood with al-Qaeda when talking about militant threats in the region. He said:

“Eliminating ISIS would be the first step in disrupting the capabilities of other groups and individuals committed to striking our homeland and our allies. The demise of ISIS would also allow us to increase our attention on other agents of radical Islam like al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and certain elements within Iran.”

June 13. During testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tillerson said he had received reassurances from President Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinian Authority would end the practice of paying a monthly stipend to the families of suicide bombers and other attackers, commonly referred to by Palestinians as martyrs. One day later, Palestinian officials contradicted Tillerson, saying that there are no plans to stop payments to families of Palestinians killed or wounded carrying out attacks against Israelis.

May 22. Tillerson sidestepped questions on whether the Western Wall is part of Israel, while telling reporters aboard Air Force One they were heading to “Tel Aviv, home of Judaism.” Asked directly whether he considers the Western Wall under Israeli sovereignty, Tillerson replied: “The wall is part of Jerusalem.”

May 15. In an interview with Meet the Press, Tillerson appeared publicly to renege on Trump’s campaign promise to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:

“The president, I think rightly, has taken a very deliberative approach to understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all interested parties in the region, and understanding what such a move, in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have.”

Tillerson also appeared to equate the State of Israel and the Palestinians:

“As you know, the president has recently expressed his view that he wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine. And so I think in large measure the president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process.”

Critics of this stance have argued that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would, instead, advance the peace process by “shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”

March 8. The State Department confirmed that the Obama administration’s $221 million payment to the Palestinian Authority, approved just hours before Trump’s inauguration, had reached its destination. The Trump administration initially had vowed to freeze the payment.

In July 2017, the Free Beacon reported that Tillerson’s State Department was waging an “open political war” with the White House on a range of key issues, including the U.S.-Israel relationship, the Iran portfolio, and other matters:

“The tensions have fueled an outstanding power battle between the West Wing and State Department that has handicapped the administration and resulted in scores of open positions failing to be filled with Trump confidantes. This has allowed former Obama administration appointees still at the State Department to continue running the show and formulating policy, where they have increasingly clashed with the White House’s own agenda.”

A veteran foreign policy analyst interviewed by the Free Beacon laid the blame squarely on Tillerson:

“Foggy Bottom [a metonym for the State Department] is still run by the same people who designed and implemented Obama’s Middle East agenda. Tillerson was supposed to clean house, but he left half of them in place and he hid the other half in powerful positions all over the building. These are career staffers committed to preventing Trump from reversing what they created.”

Notable holdovers from the Obama administration are now driving the State Department’s Iran policy:

Michael Ratney, a top advisor to former Secretary of State John Kerry on Syria policy. Under the Trump administration, Ratney’s role at the State Department has been expanded to include Israel and Palestine issues. Ratney, who was the U.S. Consul in Jerusalem between 2012 and 2015, oversaw $465,000 in U.S. grants to wage a smear to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office in 2015 parliamentary elections, according to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Ratney admitted to Senate investigators that he deleted emails containing information about the Obama administration’s relationship with the group.

Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., a career foreign service officer who serves as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Shannon, the State Department’s fourth-ranking official, has warnedthat scrapping the Iran deal would lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. “Any effort to step away from the deal would reopen a Pandora’s box in that region that would be hard to close again,” he said. His statement indicates that Shannon could be expected to lead efforts to resist any attempts to renege or renegotiate the deal; critics of the deal say that Iran’s continued missile testing has given Trump one more reason to tear up his predecessor’s deal with the Islamist regime.

Chris Backemeyer is now the highest-ranking official at the State Department for Iran policy. During the Obama administration, Backemeyer made his career by selling the Iran deal by persuading multinational corporations to do business with Iran as part of an effort to conclude the Iran nuclear deal.

Ratney, Shannon and Backemeyer, along with Tillerson, reportedly prevailed upon Trump twice to recertify the Iran nuclear deal. The Jerusalem Post explained:

Washington was briefly abuzz on the afternoon of July 17 when rumors began to circulate that President Trump was eager to declare that Iran was in breach of the conditions laid out in the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA).

Those receptive antennas were further heightened given the previous signals sent. After all, the State Department already released talking points to reporters on the decision to recertify Iran. The Treasury Department also had a package of fresh sanctions on over a dozen Iranian individuals and entities ready to announce to appease the hawks who were eager to cut loose from the deal.

But Trump didn’t want to recertify Iran, nor did he want to the last time around in April. That evening, a longtime Middle East analyst close to senior White House officials involved in the discussions described the scene to me: “Tillerson essentially told the president, ‘we just aren’t ready with our allies to decertify.’ The president retorted, ‘Isn’t it your job to get our allies ready?’ to which Tillerson said, ‘Sorry sir, we’re just not ready.'” According to this source, Secretary Tillerson pulled the same maneuver when it came to recertification in April by waiting until the last minute before finally admitting the State Department wasn’t ready. On both occasions he simply offered something to the effect of, “We’ll get ’em next time.”

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone InstituteFollow Soeren Kern on Twitter and Facebook

Also see:

America’s Unelected ‘Deep State’ Pushes Hidden Agenda, Says Judicial Watch Panel

The U.S. Capitol Building is lit at sunset in Washington on Dec. 20, 2016. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo)

Epoch Times, by Joshua Philipp, Sept. 17, 2017:

A group of career politicians often referred to as the “Deep State” or the “permanent government” is pushing an agenda that goes against the Constitution and U.S. law, while also selectively leaking information to manipulate public perception.

These were among the claims from a panel of experts in a Sept. 15 video from the conservative, nonpartisan watchdog group Judicial Watch, which followed its publication of a report that exposed the unelected government of the United States often referred to as the Deep State. [CJR – Be sure to read that report!]

According to Judicial Watch, the Deep State is a bureaucracy of permanent officials in branches across the U.S. government who share a common far-left agenda, and use their positions to selectively enforce or block actions based on their own interests. Being in unelected positions, the Deep State is able to continue its activities regardless of who the sitting president is.

Key Issues

Diana West, journalist and author of the book “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character,” said during the panel that the Deep State represents “unconstitutional powers, exercised by strange, illegitimate branchlets of the U.S. government that are in no way restrained by the balance of powers.”

The Deep State came to the surface during the presidential campaign, mainly to challenge Donald Trump, and it has continued to operate relatively in the open while trying to undermine Trump’s presidency.

A few key issues appear to have irked the Deep State, West noted, which are Trump’s positions on immigration, national trade and tariffs, radical Islam, his bid to end wars not fought over American core interests, and the restoration of American sovereignty.

These issues are typically not on the table during political debates of government candidates belonging to the establishment. She said, “These issues have essentially been taken from us by the powers that always seem to be, they were settled, and then along came Trump.”

She noted that these issues provide clues to the ideology of the Deep State: “[The Deep State] shows itself to be fanatically globalist and anti-nationalist. It is interventionist. It favors mass immigration and even open borders. It supports free trade.” She said the Deep State also appears to support radical and political Islam.

Its policies, she said, “are building blocks of a Socialist ‘paradise.’” Members of this permanent structure appear to exist not just among Democrats but also among Republicans, she said.

“During my own campaign coverage, I was able to find striking similarities between the beliefs of mainstream, anti-Trump Republicans and the programs set forth in a 1932 book called ‘Towards Soviet America,’” she said, referring to the 1932 book written by William Foster, who was chairman of the Communist Party USA, which is believed to have operated under the auspices of the Soviet Union.

White House as ‘Enemy’

Dr. Sebastian Gorka, former Deputy Assistant to the President who only recently left his job in the White House, shared his own experiences with the Deep State from his position in the Trump Administration.

“I’ve seen the worst of the worst, the first seven months, of how the bureaucracy responded to the administration of Donald J. Trump,” he said, noting that within the government, the Deep State operates overtly, in plain view.

“It was in our faces. It was arrogant. It was right there in the surface of our policy discussions at the White House,” he said. “This is not just a reaction to a New York mogul who became president. This has been brewing for decades, truly decades.”

Among the ways the Deep State has reacted to the Trump presidency is with selective leaks to the media. Gorka noted there were 125 national security leaks in the first 126 days of the Trump administration, and at least 60 of those leaks were of “serious national security matters.”

Gorka explained one of his own encounters with the Deep State, noting that as a former professor he has taught many young men and women in the national security field. When he entered the White House, he wanted to bring over some of his students who were now members of the intelligence community.

“I identified the three best individuals, and requested—as a deputy assistant to the president—that these people be detailed over to me at the White House to work on key projects of importance to Steve [Bannon] and the President,” he said.

“In the six months I was in office, not one of those people was detailed over to me from an unnamed sister agency,” he said.

Not only were the individuals not moved, as requested, but Gorka said he later discovered, “not only did the sister agency stop their detailing, every single individual was taken off their current duty roster and punished, and put into menial tasks.”

“Why?” he said. “Because the seventh floor of that agency, to quote a senior individual, ‘looks at the White House as the enemy.’”

The ‘Shadow Government’

While Gorka did not name the agency, he did mention the “seventh floor.” It has long been known that individuals on the seventh floor of the State Department operate what the FBI has referred to in its reports as “The Shadow Government.”

The FBI described The Shadow Government in a 2016 report on the investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It stated “There was a powerful group of very high-ranking STATE officials that some referred to as ‘The 7th Floor Group’ or ‘The Shadow Government.’” It said the group met every Wednesday afternoon to discuss public information requests and “everything CLINTON-related to FOIA/Congressional inquiries.”

The FBI gave a partial list of individuals who regularly attended meetings of The Shadow Government that included former Secretary of State John Kerry and his Chief of Staff and Director of Policy Planning Jonathan Finer, Deputy Chief of Staff Jennifer Stout, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom, Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield, and an individual referred to only as “Kennedy.” Several other names were redacted.

The FBI report also noted the group changed protocols on how documents on Clinton were released, and noted the group “did have control of the release process for the approximately 30,000 emails, or 52,455 pages related to the CLINTON FOIA request, and it was decided to be a rolling release.”

The permanent bureaucrats on the State Department’s seventh floor also have a notorious reputation among members of the U.S. intelligence community, who refer to them as “bow ties,” “Mandarins,” and “Black Dragons.”

The Black Dragons were described in a 2010 report from geopolitical intelligence company Stratfor as “a powerful element within the State Department that is averse to security and does its best to thwart security programs.”

Anti-American Agenda

Todd Shepherd, an investigative reporter at the Washington Examiner, said the Deep State violates a basic duty of the American government, sharing information with the people.

“Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principle that government is the servant and not the master of the people,” Shepherd said, “it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled, unless expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees.”

“The people, in delegating that authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is good for them not to know,” Shepherd said. “The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.”

James Peterson, senior attorney at Judicial Watch, noted the Deep State aggressively blocks freedom of information requests on select information. In his own experience, they have continued to selectively block information regardless of who the sitting president is.

“The permanent state, the Deep State, the bureaucracy is intent to remain, and is planning to,” Peterson said.  In spite of efforts through the courts to obtain information, Peterson said, “it is difficult at each stage.”

Gorka noted that the functions of the Deep State go against the Constitution and its guidelines on the structures and functions of government. Government agencies, he said, are supposed to work for the White House, which is supposed to represent the American people. He noted, “they co-opt the media into being willing or unwitting agents in a very selective flow of information.”

In these agencies, “you are there to serve the interests of the President who has been duly elected by the electoral college, which represents the American people,” he said, and noted the Deep State’s view that a presidential administration is its enemy “leads to very, very dangerous things.”

“The philosophical underpinnings of what put Donald J. Trump into the White House is sovereignty—that a sovereign nation is a healthy nation. And the swamp vehemently, philosophically disagrees with that,” he said.

In the government today, Gorka said, there are a large number of people who have already been in power for many years, and believe they’ll still be in power regardless of the sitting president, and so they play by their own rules. He noted, “That’s not democracy, and that’s not the American way.”

CJR: Interestingly, the core value of Sovereignty is being heavily used now in the talking points by White House spokespersons. Also mentioned by Gorka are the “Sherpas” that guide the new cabinet appointees into each agency. Go to 42 min. in the main video where Gorka dramatically turns to the camera and addresses the “good guys” in the audience on the importance of having your people in place in these roles before you undertake a political insurgency such as Trump’s.

***

He are some shorter clips:

When will Congress finally debate our strategy in Middle East?

Whitney Hunter mourns the loss of her husband. Army Sgt. Jonathon Hunter was killed in Afghanistan during an attack on a NATO convoy. | Chris Bergin | AP Images

Conservative Review, by Daniel Horowitz, Sept. 14, 2017:

The only thing worse than not having a strategy in the Middle East is sending our troops into harm’s way indefinitely without a strategy or even an understanding of who we are fighting and who we are supporting. The lack of concrete guidance from Congress has allowed the war on terror to drift and self-immolate.

Over the past few decades, our foreign policy has operated much like our domestic policy — it has been an utter failure. Much like domestic government programs, our foreign policy is completely backward and harms our national interests, but we continue to perpetuate the same policies because of the incumbent powers and special interests in charge.

Moreover, we are called upon to further bail out and treat the endless symptoms of those policies, rather than reviewing the source of the problem. Much like federal intervention in housing, education, and health care, our nation-building in Baghdad and Kabul have become too big to fail, even though the region has changed completely since the original mission.

It is in this vein that Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., offered an amendment to the defense authorization bill (NDAA), in order to inject a much-needed debate over our involvement in the Middle East after 15-16 years of failure. Sen Paul’s amendment would sunset the twin authorizations of military force (AUMF) Congress originally granted the president for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The amendment was defeated 61-36.

Some conservatives might not want to carte blanche remove reauthorization without proposing a new one refocusing our military’s priorities. However, even those who opposed Rand’s tactic or are concerned that he might not be tough enough on the true threats of Iran and North Korea, must agree that the time has come to update the AUMF and finally force a national debate on what we are doing in the Middle East.

The world has changed immensely over the past 15 years — Iraq and Afghanistan in particular

Let’s put the original debate over our investment in those two theaters on the shelf for a moment. The authorization of military force in those two countries was clear: kicking out the Taliban in Afghanistan and removing Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Fifteen years later, we have a muddled mess in Afghanistan and a complete opposite dynamic in Iraq than the one that originally involved our military.

While the 2001 AUMF also tasked the president with destroying the terrorists behind 9/11, between regime changes, changes in terrorist organizations, and multiple civil wars between various groups (all enemies to the U.S. but not all posing equal strategic threats) the entire geo-political structure has changed so much. The time has come to properly articulate on paper what and who we are fighting or supporting, as well as a strategy to place our interests first.

The notion that a 15-year-old AUMF for the removal of Saddam would now suddenly authorize the endless use of the military to prop up an Iranian-puppet government in Baghdad is unconscionable. The Pentagon has no understanding of who we are fighting for, who we are fighting against, how the ground will be held, and why it is in our interests (and not harming our interests).

Afghanistan is no better. Trump recently announced a mini troop surge, but as we noted at the time there is still no clear strategy as to how we put the country together after 16 years of failure with just 4,000 more troops (when 150,000 coalition troops and others have failed for 1,300 years).

If anyone has answers to these questions, now is the time to air them out through a national debate. We have spent several trillion dollars in those two countries only to hand over the Middle East to Iran and waste our time in the mud huts of the Hindu Kush while Iran, Turkey, and Qatar pose greater threats and North Korea can hit U.S. soil with nukes. This debate must not be off limits.

Also of importance is the fact we stand at a crossroads in both theaters. The Taliban controls more territory than ever and the Afghani government is more corrupt (and Islamist) than ever. Ironically, they are already negotiating with the Taliban.

This is no longer about 9/11, and while technically any fight against the Taliban is covered by the 2001 AUMF, shouldn’t Congress have a new debate with so many changes on the ground?

In Iraq, we are now at the point where ISIS (which, for argument’s sake, let’s say is covered by the AUMF against terrorism) is on its last legs. And almost all of the territory vacated by them has been handed over to Iranian proxies on the tab of our military.

So yes, we are following the 2001 AUMF to fight terrorists, but doing so is arguably only benefitting the bigger threat — Iranian hegemony and Hezbollah (which has a vastly greater network in the Western Hemisphere than any other jihadist organization). Iran was certainly more behind 9/11 than Saddam Hussein and also harbored terrorists.

Mattis and McMaster have prevented our soldiers from fighting Iranian proxies and downright view them as allies in the theater, just like Obama did. Thus, we are now fighting in Iraq on behalf of a government that should be an enemy under the first AUMF, in order to fight a new enemy that is on the decline and not included in the 2002 AUMF.

Furthermore, the Kurds may very soon declare independence, but our government is declining to support the only ally in Iraq and is kowtowing to the Iranian puppets in Baghdad. Are we going to continue supporting the Iranian-backed government that is not only an enemy of the U.S. in its own right but whose hegemony over Sunni areas will continue fueling Sunni insurgencies that we will continue refereeing with our military?

Shouldn’t we just support the Kurds and allow them to take as much land as possible while leaving our military out of the Iranian-Sunni fight? I have my views on this issue, but we at least need a robust debate to air out these concerns as we stand at a critical crossroads.

The founders had great wisdom in vesting war powers with Congress

This is not about tying the hands of the commander in chief, this is about empowering him with clarity of mission and the united resolve of the people.

Our founders vested the power to declare war in the hands of the legislature, not only to preempt an imperial presidency but as part of the social contract of consent-based governance — that such an important decision should have the buy-in of the people as expressed through their elected representatives.

In the words of James Madison, they wanted “strict adherence” to the “fundamental doctrine” that the power of “judging the causes of war” (not the actual execution) be “fully and exclusively vested in the legislature.”

A declaration of war, or at least the crafting of an AUMF, allows the entire representative body of the people to raise the important questions about all aspects and strategy of the mission. If Congress votes to pass a resolution, it serves as a definitive guide for what success looks like. This further serves the purpose of rallying the country behind a defined mission, because public support is always needed to achieve such victory.

Yet, we are stuck with a dynamic — much like with failed domestic programs — where the rent-seekers in government and failed military leadership are perpetuating the failing and rudderless status quo.

Clearly, the president himself doesn’t feel comfortable with what we are doing in the Middle East, but nonetheless feels compelled to simply “stay the course” because of the endless threats and arguments regarding “destabilization.”

The American people are left out in the cold while their representatives, and even the president, aren’t controlling the priorities of our military engagements. This is not consent-based governance. This is why it’s so important for the administration to send Congress a new request updating the AUMF.

Some have criticized Sen. Paul for trying to yank the AUMF without a new replacement. Fine, let’s propose one, but propose one we must. In the meantime, pursuant to the War Powers Act, the president can always act swiftly to respond to an immediate short-term threat.

Does this make me a pacifist? Just the opposite. We have certainly laid out a list of priorities and DOs and DON’Ts that should guide a new AUMF.

PJ MEDIA EXCLUSIVE: Gen. McMaster Sparked a Row With the Israeli Delegation at a White House Meeting on Hezbollah

H.R. McMaster (Rex Features via AP Images)

PJ MEDIA, BY DAVID STEINBERG, SEPTEMBER 12, 2017:

During the week of August 27, an Israeli delegation met with members of the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House to discuss the current threat to Israel by the terror group Hezbollah.

Israel believes this threat is currently dire. This meeting preceded a two-week long Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) exercise to rehearse for possible war with Hezbollah. The Jerusalem Post described this exercise, which commenced on September 4 and is ongoing, as the IDF’s largest in 20 years.

Hezbollah has been a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997. However, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster reportedly brought NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism Mustafa Javed Ali to the White House meeting with Israel. Ali, a McMaster appointee, is described by a senior administration source as being “opposed to Hezbollah’s designation as a terrorist organization.”

What then transpired at the meeting has been confirmed to PJ Media by several administration sources, by members of non-governmental organizations involved in national security, and by a source within the Israeli government.

The Israeli delegation demanded that Mustafa Javed Ali leave the room.

This demand was made despite the clear likelihood that Ali would later be privy to the meeting’s materials and discussion. As such, sources speculated that Israel intended the demand to serve as a message to President Trump that McMaster’s behavior has constituted a subversion of Trump’s stated Middle East policy.

Mustafa Javed Ali, second from right, attending West Point’s 2015 Senior Conference. The conference was described as having focused on “unconventional approaches to counterterrorism.”

None of the several sources were aware if Trump had been made aware of the incident.

As has been widely reported, Trump’s Chief of Staff General Kelly has instituted tight restrictions on information and contacts reaching the president. Additionally, Kelly has been said to be working closely with General McMaster on issues related to the flow of information within the administration.

Friction between General McMaster and the Israeli delegation did not end with Israel’s demand that Ali leave the room.

Sources reported that McMaster went on to explicitly dismiss the Israelis’ specific concerns about Hezbollah.

In particular, the Israelis expressed concern that the “safe zone” currently being established within Syria — an idea that had been vociferously supported by Hezbollah’s sponsor, Iran — would immediately become a safe zone for Hezbollah to operate.

McMaster was said to “blow off” this major Israeli concern, and to be “yelling at the Israelis” during the meeting.

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For months, General McMaster has been under fire regarding his personnel decisions from Trump voters and the large majority of Americans who support Israel. McMaster has fired or otherwise removed all NSC appointees who strongly supported President Trump’s Middle East campaign platform.

Trump had repeatedly promised that his administration would reject the Bush/Obama policy of denying the doctrinal Islamic roots of terror, most notably expressed by Trump’s willingness to declare jihadist attacks to be “radical Islamic terrorism.” Indeed, Trump honored this pledge early in his term via the many appointees to the NSC brought on by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and others.

Under McMaster, however, all of these voices have been removed from the NSC in what has been described as a “purge.”

In their stead, McMaster has astonishingly welcomed figures such as Kris Baumanand Robert Malley to his NSC. Bauman’s and Malley’s careers have been so objectively subversive to the Trump agenda on Israel that McMaster might as well have appointed Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.

Mustafa Javed Ali in attendance at former President Obama’s 2010 White House Iftar Dinner. Ali worked within the FBI at the time. Per a source: “No Muslim reformers or liberals were welcome at those events.” (List of expected attendees available at link.)

Little information has previously been public about McMaster appointee Mustafa Javed Ali. Regarding Israel’s demand that he leave the meeting, a source claimed:

Israel possibly knows more about Javed Ali than [the Trump administration] does.

Earlier this year, Ali was rumored to have caused the cancellation of a scheduled talk to the NSC by Ayaan Hirsi Ali on account of her “Islamophobia.” Mrs. Ali, who escaped to the Netherlands from Kenya after fleeing a forced marriage, violence, and being a victim of female genital mutilation, is now an activist exposing Islamic doctrine. She has lived under 24/7 protection since 2004, when a Muslim murdered Dutch film director Theo van Gogh for making a film with Mrs. Ali that criticized Islam. A five-page note threatening the same fate for Ali was left pinned to van Gogh’s chest with a knife.

Sources within the Trump administration have confirmed to PJMedia that this rumor about Mustafa Javed Ali was correct: Mrs. Ali had been invited to speak to the NSC. She was later disinvited due to Javed Ali’s interference.

On August 11, Mrs. Ali published a Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing Trump for “losing focus” on his terrorism campaign pledges. Within the op-ed, she chose to mention only the “most charitable” criticism being floated about General McMaster:

Some administration critics have blamed the loss of focus on Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who became White House national security adviser in February. The most charitable formulation of this criticism is that military men who slogged their way through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have an aversion to the argument that we face an ideological opponent, as opposed to a series of military problems.

But I put the responsibility on Mr. Trump. With regard to radical Islam, he simply seems to have lost interest.

Yet senior administration sources are far less charitable about McMaster and his appointee Mustafa Javed Ali. As mentioned above, they described Ali as taking the breathtaking position that Hezbollah should not be a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization. They described Ali as holding the same view regarding the Muslim Brotherhood.

They claimed Ali’s work within the NSC essentially amounts to him attempting to prevent the Trump administration from using any of the means at its disposal to target Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood as organizations. They claimed Ali advocates only targeting such groups’ identifiably “violent” members, and ignoring all other elements of their activities that may be subversive of U.S. interests.

These are recognizable as Obama-era policies — the “smart set” foreign policy strategies behind the Obama administration’s disastrous “Countering Violent Extremism” programs. This is the thinking that marched the Middle East to bloody catastrophe: a half-million dead in Syria.

Yet General McMaster appointed Ali as NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism, and purged the NSC of voices supporting President Trump’s Mideast agenda. Then McMaster reportedly sat Ali in front of an Israeli delegation visiting the White House to share its concerns about Hezbollah.

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I have previously reported here at PJMedia of an extensive public relations push — coordinated by administration supporters of General McMaster — to encourage conservative outlets and think-tanks to reject claims that McMaster is antagonistic to Trump’s foreign policy and to the State of Israel in general. That push was remarkably successful: an online search for critical McMaster stories from the right will reveal such articles virtually halted in mid-August.

The broader questions of President Trump’s continued silence are more difficult to read. None of the sources contacted for this article believe the president has fundamentally shifted his thinking.

Trump likely understands he would not have defeated Hillary Clinton without stating “radical Islamic terrorism.” Yet sources could offer only speculation as to how Trump intends to win his Middle East agenda while saddled with a National Security Council subversive to those goals.