Key White House official advocated for ‘limited use of military force’ in North Korea

Fred Fleitz, left, and national security adviser John Bolton, right. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, AP, Getty Images)

Yahoo News, by Hunter Walker, June  6, 2018:

WASHINGTON — In a book published just three months ago, Fred Fleitz, the recently appointed chief of staff of the White House National Security Council advocated the “limited use of military force” against North Korea, whose leader President Trump will meet in Singapore next week.

Fleitz also described the president’s top national security adviser, John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as believing the U.S. must “soon” use force against North Korea. It’s a stark contrast from the president’s optimism about the possible outcome of the summit with Kim Jong Un:

“There are some conservative experts who believe the North Korean government is so corrupt, malevolent and obsessed with taking over the South that it is pointless to negotiate with it. These experts include Ambassador John Bolton, who believes regime change is the only solution to the North Korean threat and that it is vital that the U.S. use force soon to end this regime before the costs of doing so and the risks to the U.S. homeland become unacceptable,” Fleitz wrote.

Fleitz offered these views in his book “The Coming North Korea Nuclear Nightmare,” published on March 8, exactly one day before the White House announced that Trump would hold talks with Kim, the first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

Kim’s family has led a brutal regime in the country since it was founded after World War II. America and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations and have technically been in a state of war since the outbreak of the Korean War, which ended in 1953 with an armistice rather than a formal peace treaty. Tensions between the two nations have increased in recent years as North Korea made advances in its nuclear weapons program and threatened to attack the U.S.

The comments in Fleitz’s book are particularly noteworthy given both his position in the administration and his long association with Bolton. Fleitz, who has been described as a Bolton loyalist, was named as the NSC chief of staff and executive secretary late last month. When Bolton was an undersecretary of state under President George W. Bush, Fleitz was his chief of staff. Fleitz has also served as a CIA analyst, made frequent appearances on Fox News, and worked as a senior vice president at the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank notable for its strident warnings about Islamic expansionism. The Center for Security Policy published Fleitz’s book on North Korea.

In his description of Bolton’s position, Fleitz wrote that the national security adviser knows an American strike against North Korea could lead Kim to launch attacks on other countries in the region, including American allies South Korea and Japan, and, even potentially on the United States itself. Still, Fleitz said both Bolton and Trump think it’s worth the risk.

“Bolton concedes that attacking North Korea could result in deadly North Korean attacks against regional states, but he believes such attacks are inevitable if the world allows North Korea to complete its nuclear weapons and missile programs. President Trump has made statements suggesting that he also may hold this view,” Fleitz wrote.

Yahoo News contacted the White House to ask if the characterizations of Bolton’s positions in Fleitz’s book were accurate and whether the views he described reflect administration policy. National Security Council spokesperson Garrett Marquis responded by simply saying Bolton and Trump are united in their approach.

“President Trump’s policy is Mr. Bolton’s policy. There is no daylight between them,” said Marquis.

Bolton, who has a well-established reputation as a foreign policy hawk, became Trump’s top national security adviser in April, the third person to hold that position since Trump took office in January 2017.

Bolton was considered a hard-liner on North Korea and skeptical about the summit, which was briefly canceled before being reinstated. He was reportedly not going to attend the meeting, but top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Wednesday that he will be there. The White House did not respond to questions from Yahoo News about whether Fleitz will also be at the meeting with Trump and Kim.

While different officials and ideas rapidly fall in and out of favor in the White House, Fleitz’s book sheds light on what exactly Bolton and his allies could be pushing for on one of the most crucial foreign policy issues facing the Trump administration.

Fleitz also discussed one of the more controversial North Korea strategies that has been considered by the Trump administration — a so-called bloody nose strike. In February, there were multiple reports White House officials were clashing over whether or not to launch a limited strike against North Korea that would get the country to reconsider its nuclear weapons program. White House officials subsequently denied considering the idea. However, Fleitz said sources told him the plan was considered and remains on the table.

“Although the bloody nose strategy was supported by many conservatives, Trump officials began to deny its existence in mid-February 2018, probably in response to the negative publicity it received and concerns raised by South Korean officials. … The author is skeptical about those denials,” Fleitz wrote, adding, “This strategy is consistent with what President Trump told a senior foreign policy expert (relayed by this expert to the author) during a December 2017 meeting: that [former National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster] and [Secretary of Defense James Mattis] favored some kind of limited attack on North Korea. … Although some Trump officials … always opposed the bloody nose strategy, the author believes this was and continues to be a Trump administration policy option for dealing with North Korea.”

Fleitz shared his own views on North Korea in the book. He makes a lengthy indictment of President Obama’s North Korea policy, which he dismisses as “dithering” and “disinterest[ed].” The previous administration’s policies “significantly worsened the threat from the rogue state by giving it eight years to develop advanced missiles and nuclear weapons with almost no opposition from the U.S. and the international community,” he writes.

Fleitz also criticized South Korean President Moon Jae-in as “a liberal politician who favors a more conciliatory approach to North Korea.” The U.S. faces “difficulties” when “relying on South Korean President Moon,” he wrote.

The president was dealt a “bad hand” by Obama, Fleitz wrote, and praised Trump for making “the best of a difficult situation.” He argues that Trump’s campaign of “maximum pressure” that included stiff economic sanctions and threats of “fire and fury” was successful, encouraging North Korea to come to the negotiating table.

Fleitz suggested that, when it comes to North Korea, there are two major “sobering questions” facing Trump.

“Are there ways to use military force to contain or roll back North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs without sparking a war? What is the actual purpose of North Korea’s nuclear and missile efforts? Deterrence? Blackmail to extort concessions? Or as a means to one day force the reunification of the Korean Peninsula on Pyongyang’s terms?” asked Fleitz.

Fleitz was unambiguous in his answer to the latter question.

“My view is that North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs are offensive in nature, not a deterrent and not simply blackmail tools,” Fleitz wrote.

Rather than a tool to extract foreign aid, Fleitz said he viewed the weapons as an arsenal North Korea “will one day use to force the reunification of the Korean Peninsula on its terms and expel American forces from the region.”

On the question of whether America can use force to deter North Korea’s nuclear program without sparking a catastrophic conflict, Fleitz offered a more nuanced answer. In the end, he recommended what he described as “limited” military action.

According to Fleitz, “before the U.S. considers military action, every option short of war must be fully explored and exhausted.” But, somewhat contradictorily, he repeatedly dismissed the idea negotiations would yield meaningful results.

“The Kim family’s 70-year legacy of tyranny, belligerence, corruption and criminality, coupled with its iron grip on power controlling North Korea makes negotiating a meaningful nuclear agreement with the Kim regime difficult, if not impossible,” wrote Fleitz.

The likely outcome of negotiations, he wrote, is “cutbacks or halts in its missile and nuclear programs that Pyongyang has no intention of implementing.” For Fleitz, anything short of full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula “amounts to appeasement.” He described overtures North Korea made during the Winter Olympics, which were held in South Korea earlier this year, as “a propaganda ploy and a charade.”

“If diplomacy and sanctions fail … my recommendation is that President Trump consider carefully calibrated, limited use of military force to change the dynamics of the North Korea situation and compel it to negotiate the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Fleitz wrote. “This limited use of force could include declaring a missile no-fly zone over North Korea, shooting down any missiles Pyongyang tests, a naval blockade and stopping and searching North Korea ships for WMD-related cargo.”

While he said Bolton hopes to see “regime change” in North Korea, Fleitz did not directly state his own view on that possibility. But he noted “many experts believe the only real solution to the threat from North Korea’s nuclear program is regime change.” Fleitz also discussed “the idea of letting China take out the Kim regime or invade North Korea.” He described the prospect of war as a “horrifying thought given the massive loss of life that would occur if North Korea was to attack South Korea, especially Seoul, with its huge artillery arsenal, missiles, chemical and biological weapons as well as nuclear weapons.”

“A major outbreak in hostilities could also include North Korea attacking U.S. bases in the region and Japan,” Fleitz added.

If anything, Fleitz is more pessimistic about North Korea’s ability to retaliate than other experts. Due to the reclusive nature of the Kim regime, it’s difficult to verify the extent of North Korea’s weapons program. However, Fleitz seems to take the view that the country will be imminently capable of striking the U.S. with a nuclear weapon. He cited one estimate that “a military conflict with North Korea by 2020 could result in 8 million dead in North and South Korea, Japan and the U.S., due to North Korean nuclear strikes against Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland.”

Fleitz’s recommendation of “limited” military action is based on a belief that it “hopefully” would not spark a counterattack against the U.S. or even South Korea. He predicted carefully calibrated measures would “change the policy assumptions of North Korea’s leadership by demonstrating that America now has a decisive president who will use — and will escalate — military force to protect the security of the United States and its allies.” Fleitz acknowledged that “the U.S. cannot be sure whether limited military action would result in North Korean retaliation and escalation.” Still, Fleitz argued that “limited military action is a risk worth taking” to avoid a future war with a nuclear North Korea.

Victor Cha is a policy expert on North Korea who was Trump’s original pick to be ambassador to South Korea. The White House did not submit his nomination after he expressed opposition to a potential bloody nose strike. In a phone conversation with Yahoo News, Cha said he believes Fleitz’s description of Bolton’s views is accurate and said he was “not surprised” to hear it, given some of the national security adviser’s past statements. Cha noted the more hawkish approach to North Korea “was sort of where we were in 2017,” before Kim’s Olympic overtures and the plans for talks with Trump.

“I think if this summit fails spectacularly we could end up going back to those sorts of things,” Cha said.

While Cha doubted that Bolton supported the summit, he said the national security adviser was unlikely to oppose Trump’s wishes.

“Bolton is a smart man,” Cha said, adding, “He knows that if the president wants to do a meeting he’s not going to get in the way.”

In the meantime, Cha predicted Bolton’s “influence will be felt” mainly through the national security adviser resisting attempts to “lift the sanctions too early.”

And if the meetings with Kim don’t reach a successful conclusion does Cha see Bolton and his team pushing for a military solution in North Korea?

“I don’t know. I mean I just don’t know,” Cha said. “It’s impossible to say.”

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Also see:

In Support of Fred Fleitz and the Real Target (Frank Gaffney)

Written by Diana West at her blog on June 3, 2018:

 

To understand the campaign of slander and smear against Fred Fleitz, late of the Center for Security Policy, now chief of staff in the National Security Council under John Bolton, it is important to understand that in the concentric circles that array themselves around Washingon’s power centers there are to be found National Security Hawks and National Security Subversives. Until November 8, 2016, the National Security Subversives ranged closest to and inside the hubs of power; after November 8, 2016, National Security Hawks began to trickle into that most powerful hub, the Trump White House.

This terrifies the Subversives. To understand why, let me explain why I call them “Subversives.” It is because their policies, their programs, are subversive of the Constitution of the United States; the sovereignty of the United States; which naturally means the continued existence of the United States as a nation-state with controlled borders (including an immigration policy designed to improve the nation-state), overriding interests, and a dedication to the primacy of its own citiizens. Hewing to Marx, not our Founding Fathers, Foreign Policy Subversives are best understood as globalists who see the United States as an integral and also subordinate part of an international political system to be run, not governed, by elites like themselves. In their eyes, We, the People, are just subjects, not citizens, members of contending “identity”-groups to which they will redistriibute benefits, or not.

Quite unexpectedly, the Trump Counter-Revolution of 2016 gave the National Security Hawks in Washington new hope. By “National Security Hawks,” I don’t mean to specify “neocons” or interventionists, which is how we have come to understand this term. Indeed, most neocons and interventionists have worked hand in glove with National Security Subversives. In the context of the campaign of slander and smear against Fred Fleitz, I am thinking of National Security Hawks as those who hold a variety of opposing, even clashing, foreign policy viewpoints; however, as a group, loosely confederated or not, we all seek to defend and protect America first.

Yes, it’s the old struggle — patriots vs. globalists, nation-staters vs. Marxists, anti-communists vs. communists — over our nation’s character. Will our nation re-discover itself as a republic under the US Constitution after all (the National Security Subversive nightmare) or will it further integrate (disappear) into the socialist suprastate run, not governed, by unaccountable legions of  bureacrats guided by global, not national, interests?

As vanquished as the globalists believed the nation-staters to be — I think they forgot about us after winning the ideological war in the Cold War at home  — they were pitched into disarray as this struggle entered a new phase in 2016.

Their tactics to regroup unmask them as Subversives as much as anything else. That is, these are not regular, old “liberals” putting forth their competing set of ideas to win elections next time. As Subversives, President Trump’s main opposition sows chaos, disrupts, “resists,” and tries to sabotage the president and harm those associated with him: Witness the ruinous, punitive campaigns of personal and financial destruction masquerading as a legal process operated by the Special Counsel and glossed by his Special Media. They attempt to commandeer the “information battlespace,” not debate in the public square, with a form of propaganda the historical record shows us originated in the Kremlin to be disseminated by Marxist agents. I refer especially to the communist practice of branding all anti-communists, especially the patriot who loves his country, as “fascists” and “Nazis.” Just check back issues of Pravda and the Daily Worker. Or check the Washington Monthly.

Which takes us to the campaign against Fred Fleitz. As soon as Fleitz’s new job was announced, the story went out that an “anti-Muslim” “Islamophobe” “conspiracy theorist” was going to work in the White House. But maybe nearly 17 years after 9/11, this tired invective just wasn’t bad enough anymore. Or maybe it was just time to hit new gutter-levels of calumny. Whatever the cause, in the pages of the Washington Monthly, in a hit and run piece of claptrap by Martin Longman with a headline on top, the anti-Fleitz campaign went full “Neo-Nazi”: “Bolton Taps Neo-Nazi as National Security Council Chief of Staff.” To put a point on the mainstreaming of such a spurious attack, Google, meanwhile, was simultaneously defining the ideology of the California Republican Party first as “Nazism.”

This is information-warfare against conservatives going nuclear.

Moments ago, the Washington Monthly changed its egregious headline as noted in the correction pasted at the top of this post — six days after the piece appeared. Better late than never is the adage, however, numerous follow-up pieces have appeared in the interim, referencing and knocking down the smear, which tell us the damage was done. (Example: “Fred Fleitz Is Not a Neo-Nazi” by Rich Lowry.) The lasting harm, I suspect, is to the Washington Monthly. Note that the text of Longman’s piece is unchanged and its central spurious claim — that “there are links between the Center for Security Policy and neo-Nazi origanizations in Europe” — is, if anything, underscored by the “correction.” What a disgrace.

Then again, the Washington Monthly is just a tiny publication. Still, it lays claim to the beating heart of mainstream liberal journalism and letters, as the magazine’s roster of contributing editors shows.

Are they all satisfied now that their publication’s Pravda-style headline is just a Wayback.org memory? Or will any of them do the right thing and apologize to Fred Fleitz for this unjustified, injurious blow struck by the journal that their own reputations anchor?

In the article that counts for Martin Longman’s admittedly dodgy research (“I cannot endorse everything” but …), I, too, am slimed (along with Frank Gaffney and other leading lights such as Geert Wilders, Lars Hedegaard, Rachel Ehrendfeld, David Yerushalmi, and more) as a racist, and, referencing the disinformation campaign against American Betrayal launched by David Horowitz and Ron Radosh, I am also tagged “`McCarthy’s heiress’ for selling `yellow journalism conspiracies’ about the secret Soviet occupation of America.” (NB: Being named “McCarthy’s heiress” is a great honor, and I humbly accept; however, Horowitz and Radosh meant it to do as much harm as possible.)

Here is the main and unchanged thrust of Longman’s scurrilous attack:

To get a sense of what it means that Fred Fleitz has been chosen as the National Security Council’s chief of staff, you need to understand both the role of Frank Gaffney and his Center for Security Policy in the international neo-Nazi movement and the way that movement is seamlessly connected to and promoted by Vladimir Putin.

“…the role of Frank Gaffney and his Center for Security Policy in the international neo-Nazi movement”

I have to say I’ve never read anything more insane in my life.

Longman has a caveat:

While I cannot endorse everything Mr. Ahmed alleges and recommend double checking his sources and how he treats them, I do think his A Fourth Reich is rising across Europe — with ties to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is an excellent place to start your journey. It connects a lot of dots that need connecting, and it contains a lot of documentation that you can assess for yourself.

In other words, “It’s trash, but I like trash.” As for providing “a lot of documentation that you can assess for yourself,” “Mr. Ahmed” somehow forgot to include a link to my column “whose views on black people,” Ahmed wrote, “`gave new meaning to the word racism’” (here’s the link).

In short, Longman’s nasty little item is no better than bathroom grafitti; however, it should not to be quickly dismissed. In its crude slashings there are indicators of a strategy that has been coming into focus, a strategy to engineer and/or use the Russian beguilement and/or infiltration of elements of the European right as a mechanism to “dirty-up” the genuinely patriotic people and parties coalescing around nation-state and sovereignty issues in the wider West. Such attempted inroads are openly attributed to the Kremlin. It seems unlikely that it is just a coincidence that we have been seeing similar patterns in the revelations around the Great “Russian” Frame-Up of the Trump campaign — a process of beguilement and/or infiltration of the Trump campaign to “dirty-up” members with Russian connections, too. Perhaps one day we will be able to attribute this similar operation to the Kremlin, also.

Not Longman. He’s off again, puring hot tar on anti-communists such as Gaffney (and me, I can assume) by aligning them with “Putin’s foreign policy objectives.”

But it’s the way this movement has melded with Putin’s foreign policy objectives that is most urgent, and it’s admittedly confusing because Gaffney built his reputation in the 1980s as an anti-Soviet, anti-Russia hawk. Even today, he is not known for speaking favorably of Russia or Vladimir Putin, which is why it’s essential to explore the absolute confluence of interests that have developed between Gaffney’s promotion of the European far right and Putin’s promotion of the same neo-Nazi parties and politicians.

More slander and disinformation about Frank Gaffney, a courageous patriot whose fidelity to this nation is unparalleled. If Putin is engaging in a “scissors strategy” — the traditional Kremlin m.o. of infiltrating both sides (or more) in a conflict — Gaffney’s so-called “promotion of the European far right” has nothing, nada, zero to do with any neo-Nazi parties or politicians. On the contrary, his “promotion” constitutes a principled and robust defense of free speech in Europe and the US against the incursions of both Islamic and Marxist censorship into Western society.

Not that Longman dares explain or even understands such things. By his own admission, he is irresponsible (and so is Washington Monthly) for promoting a source (“Mr. Ahmed”) he does not trust; also for substituting his own vicious biases for journalistic judgement, without concern for, or, worse, relishing the consequences to Fred Fleitz and anyone else associated with CSP and its mission to support free speech against sharia speech codes, and to alert Americans to the dangers to free speech that accompany Islam wherever it establishes its totalitarian legal, political and individual control-system known as sharia.

Longman says he’s confused.

If so, I bet whoever put him up to this piece is not.

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Diana West gave an interview with Stefan Molyneux on June 4, 2018:

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Also with Vlad Tepes May 24, 2018:

Attacks On National Security Council’s Fred Fleitz Whitewash Islamists To Smear A Conservative

Photo Gage Skidmore/Flickr

The attack on Fred Fleitz is yet another example of the Left’s inverted moral confusion, where it is seen as the height of virtue to defend the indefensible, even if it means smearing a good man.

The Federalist, by Kyle Shideler, June 5, 2018:

The rhetorical attacks on incoming National Security Council Executive Secretary Fred Fleitz (the author’s former colleague) have been shrill and ineffective. Conservatives have rallied to Fleitz’ defense, bolstered in part by Fleitz’s long history of work as a Central Intelligence Agency analyst, State Department official, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer, along with his solid reputation working on Iran and nonproliferation-related issues.

According to Trump administration insiders, the White House blames Obama allies and Iran deal advocates for ginning up the non-controversy, and there’s no indication of a willingness to surrender the scalp of a long-time national security professional whose views align with the president’s.

Having met resistance in their initial effort to keep John Bolton allies out of the NSC, the Left’s smear merchants may be shifting to defense, trying to undermine expected policy objectives of a Bolton-led NSC. That’s the main takeaway from a recent column by The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart.

Beinart naturally repeats slurs against Fleitz that the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center has published. He goes on to warn that a likely policy objective for the National Security Council is designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Beinart blames Fleitz’s former employer, The Center for Security Policy, for promoting this policy.

Yet in truth, Fleitz’s new boss, National Security Advisor John Bolton, has long been on the record supporting a designation for entire Muslim Brotherhood or key branches, a position that terrifies the Brotherhood and many of its defenders on the Left. So in addition to trying to dirty up Fleitz, Beinart undertakes to whitewash the record and nature of the Muslim Brotherhood and its U.S.-based front organizations by obfuscating the evidence that Brotherhood critics cite in their case for designation.

It’s a Conspiracy Theory Substantiated by the FBI?

Beinart labels as a conspiracy theory the notion that notable organizations including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) are Muslim Brotherhood groups. He provides no evidence for this position.

Evidence to the contrary was supplied not by Fleitz, Bolton, or the Center for Security Policy, but by the FBI and the Department of Justice during the successful terrorism finance prosecution of what was at the time the country’s largest Islamic charity, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF).

The federal judge who oversaw the trial, Judge Jorge Solis, noted in a memorandum opinion order that the U.S. government “produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA, and NAIT with HLF, The Islamic Association of Palestine, and with Hamas.” The judge went on to cite trial testimony and government exhibits to make the case in detail that the Muslim Brotherhood operated in the United States and created organizations, including CAIR, ISNA, and NAIT, for the purpose of supporting terrorism.

Beinart has argued—as he does in an article he links to in his current screed—that this evidence is insufficient because it comes from a trial now more than a decade old. Beinart quoted an “expert on Islamic extremism” who called the links between these organizations and the Muslim Brotherhood “ancient history.” That must have come as a surprise to the leaders of these organizations, many of whom remain the very same people who founded them and led them during the government’s investigation.

Meet the New Ringleaders, Same as the Old Ringleaders

Examples includes CAIR founder Nihad Awad, who has been the organization’s leader since it was created in 1994. Awad participated in a Muslim Brotherhood meeting in Philadelphia in 1993 where the FBI recorded explicit calls to support Hamas. ISNA’s board of directors (which underwent a recent shake-up) still includes ISNA Vice President for Canada Pervaz Nasim, who has been with the organization since the beginning, and Iqbal Unus, who helped found ISNA and was an early secretary general of the organization.

Included on the Board of Trustees of NAIT is Gadoor Saidi, whose name appears in a phone directory of U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leaders submitted as evidence by the federal government during the Holy Land Foundation trial. Saidi is listed as a member of the group’s Shura Council and a member of its Executive Office. Also a long time NAIT board member, and listed in the same 1992 phone directory, is Bassam Osman, also a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council member.

There is plenty of room for a substantive discussion on the policy merits of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. It is reasonable to discuss how it might be legally accomplished, or how best to address Islamists who act as pressure groups and supporters of terrorist groups. Yet the Left is largely uninterested in substantive discussion.

Instead, when defending the Muslim Brotherhood and similar Islamist groups the Left attempts, much as they did in the MS-13 “animals” debacle, to portray critics of a particular, dangerous group as criticizing and condemning all members of a protected class. The attack on Fleitz is yet another example of the Left’s inverted moral confusion, where it is seen as the height of virtue to defend the indefensible, even if it means smearing a good man.

To the extent the Trump administration is going to be successful in furthering its policies, it will be by ignoring the screeching of the outraged Left, and moving forward with the policies it was elected to accomplish. In national security and counterterrorism matters, Fleitz is positioned to help them do exactly that.

Kyle Shideler is the director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy. Kyle has worked for several organizations involved with Middle East and terrorism policy since 2006. He is a contributing author to “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West’s Fatal Embrace,” and has written for numerous publications and briefed legislative aides, intelligence, and law enforcement officials and the general public on national security issues.
Also see:

Fleitz Appointment a Savvy Move by Trump, Bolton

CSP, BY Tom Anderson, June 4, 2018:

Originally posted on Newsmax

I was elated to hear Fred Fleitz just accepted the position of National Security Council chief-of-staff and executive secretary under White House National Security Advisor John Bolton. Americans should be grateful. The appointment is a huge score for enhancing our national security.

We’re all benefactors from President Trump’s and Mr. Bolton’s wisdom. Hosting a news radio show in Alaska can be intriguing, and also challenging at times, securing thoughtful guests that actually understand our northern issues and the nexus with the country as a whole.

Our state’s Arctic policy, military, and resource development issues affect the entire nation, not just the Last Frontier. It was through this venue I connected with Fred Fleitz, who became a regular and appreciated guest.

I’ve interviewed national leaders and pundits from across the spectrum. They can be engaging whether an Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, or former Gov. Sarah Palin. Of all my guests, Fleitz has been one of the most effective in educating and explaining to listeners his rational on foreign relations and security policy.

I’ve interviewed him over 20 times. As a result, many listeners have come to appreciate government, policy development, and the evolution of sound national-security policy that may have otherwise seemed esoteric.

Fleitz hasn’t forgotten Alaska, or its defensive and resource-rich value to the United States. His analysis and ability to tether military operations, or communications and transportation, to operational logistics involving North Korea and the Middle East has helped shed light on President Obama’s obfuscated policies.

Fleitz has taken a balanced approach on U.S. State Department issues, drawing from his experience with the Central Intelligence Agency as a senior analyst, at the State Department as Bolton’s former chief-of-staff, and with the House Intelligence Committee. The Fleitz appointment feels like a commercial plane ride with a seasoned pilot, or surgery with a reliable veteran surgeon, where you’re relieved from anxiety because of the expertise at the helm. America is in good hands.

When it comes to federal bureaucracy, I can attest to the perception from the public. For many of my listeners in Alaska, there is a deep, growing lack of trust. There is also disappointment.

Morale and inspiration have waned under past presidential administrations that elevated ego and power above service to Americans. From Obamacare to Middle East and European obligations, my listeners consistently convey a feeling of abandonment by national leaders.

Enter selfless advocates like Fred Fleitz and John Bolton, and suddenly a smidgen of hope is sprinkled on disillusionment. These guys have a backbone. Fleitz has taken a principled position on the Iran Nuclear program, siding with Bolton against the majority of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, arguing that the U.S. had to pull out of the fraudulent deal.

Fleitz took this stance even when other conservative advocacies knee-buckled and said stay in the horrific deal. He has been consistent on pulling out of the deal because it literally affords advancement of Iran’s nuclear program.

North Korea is no different. When our president, vice president, and foreign relations envoys are continuously disrespected by a communist regime in dire straits, it’s time to end negotiations until respect is shown. Fleitz is on board with a thoughtful, yet hardline approach to national security. It’s about time.

Here’s another reason why the Fleitz appointment is important: He was made for the job. The chief-of-staff and executive secretary position to the National Security Council is critically important because that appointee helps Mr. Bolton present the President with a full scope of well-argued policy options, which is something President Trump was not receiving under H.R. McMaster.

Cogent, researched national-security policy options are what the president expects from his management team — without success until now, under John Bolton’s leadership.

A president must know the risks, rewards, and resources to make the right decisions. A former CIA senior analyst of Fleitz’s pedigree is appropriate and sensible to promote our best interests.

Based on President Trump’s recent exemplary appointments like Secretary of State Pompeo and Mr. Bolton — and assuming the president and Bolton want the same for the National Security Council management — Fred Fleitz is the best choice.

His expertise, coupled with a history of bucking conventional wisdom when it is antithetical to American interests, falls in line with candidate Trump’s promise and commitment to his constituency.

What I’ve seen and heard in Fleitz is a professional who isn’t afraid of countering the swamp and the foreign policy establishment. If ever that matters, considering our interests being threatened abroad from Europe to Asia to the Middle East, it’s now.

Tom Anderson is a radio talk show host in Alaska and a former state representative.

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Also see:

Dave Bailey comments in his newsletter today:

The appointment of another anti-jihadist to a top White House post is even bigger news than it sounds at first…

Fleitz’s position prior to the White House was as a VP in Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy…

This is the very organization that blew the lid off of Gulftainer’s terrorist and Russian connections…

…when Gulftainer got a 35-year lease for Port Canaveral during the Obama maladministration…

Fleitz is sure to know all about Gulftainer…

…which significantly improves the likelihood that its Port of Wilmington deal will be rejected by the feds…

Keep your fingers crossed…   Dave

Obama Allies Scheme to Kneecap Trump’s New National Security Team

 

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, May 31, 2018:

Organizations and individuals entrenched in the Obama administration’s pro-Iran echo chamber are engaging in a new plot to defame top White House national security officials, a campaign that mirrors a successful effort by these same groups to oust former Trump administration National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to sources familiar with the new effort.

After targeting Flynn, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former senior Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka, organizations closely tied to the Obama administration are setting their sites on National Security Adviser John Bolton and his newly formed team.

Recent attacks by groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, have centered on Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst who was recently tapped by Bolton to serve as his chief of staff on the White House National Security Council.

Activists from CAIR, the SPLC, and the Anti-Defamation League, or ADL—a civil rights organization currently helmed by a former Obama administration official—are engaged in a coordinated campaign to smear Fleitz and force his ouster from the NSC. The smears have been picked up by sympathetic media outlets who worked closely with these groups while the Obama administration’s so-called “echo chamber” was running at full steam, sources said.

Former senior Obama administration officials such as Ben Rhodes—architect of the pro-Iran echo-chamber that misled Congress and the American public about the nature of the landmark nuclear deal—have amplified these attacks on social media platforms such as Twitter.

Senior Trump administration officials familiar with the situation called the attacks baseless and blamed organizations such as the SPLC for waging a smear campaign out of revenge for Fleitz’s past criticisms of the group, which has been known to attack prominent conservative thought leaders and label them bigots.

“Most of the attacks on Fleitz originated from the far left Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that over the last few years raised money by putting out press releases falsely lumping conservative Americans with neo-Nazis and white supremacists,” said one senior administration official who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon on background about the attacks on Fleitz.

“The media must call this attack on Fred Fleitz for what it is a—deliberate smear campaign from the left against the Trump administration,” the official said, referencing a slew of recent media reports repeating accusations by the SPLC, ADL, CAIR, and other liberal activists groups.

Media attacks on Fleitz sponsored by these organizations have focused on his past work with the Center for Security Policy, a conservative national security think-tank helmed by Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan administration official.

CAIR, for instance, has been emailing reporters accusing Fleitz of being an “anti-Muslim hate group leader.” The ADL charged in a recent press release that Fleitz should be fired from his new post in the NSC for his work with Gaffney’s Center, which the ADL labeled “an Islamophobic, conspiracy-promoting organization.”

Multiple sources from across the political world, including within and outside the Trump administration, dismissed these claims against Fleitz as baseless and accused the organizations disseminating the attacks of continuing efforts by members of the Obama administration echo chamber to kneecap Trump’s national security team.

These sources said that Fleitz’s fierce opposition to the nuclear agreement with Iran and efforts to counter it riled these activist leaders, many of whom vocally worked with the Obama administration to promote the deal.

“All the people attacking Fred Fleitz’s so vehemently are one of two groups: front organizations and sundry useful idiots that have a vested interest in supporting the murderous mullah of Iran,” Sebastian Gorka, a former strategist and assistant to President Trump, told the Free Beacon.

“The others are the architects of Obama’s disastrous policy of ‘Leading from Behind’ and the 44th president’s American apology tour, which led to a more aggressive Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China,” said Gorka, who was subjected to similar attacks by these organizations during his time in the White House.

“In either instance, they prove by their actions just how superb a choice John Bolton made by bringing in a true patriot and national security professional like Fred Fleitz,” Gorka said.

Administration insiders and other sources intimately familiar with Fleitz’s past work dismissed claims that he is Islamaphobic as ridiculous. Fleitz remains an ardent critic of radical Islam, but has gone to great lengths in the past to defend the religion’s peaceful believers.

Charges that Fleitz believes Muslims are trying to take over the U.S. government also are bunk, these sources said, referring to them as just another attempt by onetime Obama officials to derail Trump’s national security agenda.

“The smear campaign against Fred Fleitz is typical of the Obama White House echo chamber,” said Christopher Hull, a former congressional chief of staff who now serves as the Center For Security Policy’s executive vice president. “It includes ad hominem attacks, distortions, and guilt by association. ”

“Fleitz’s critics’ objective, of course, is to maintain Obama’s treasonously weak policies toward America’s enemies, foreign and domestic,” Hull said. “It is no coincidence that among Fleitz’s critics are those in the cross-hairs of any reasonably robust effort to keep America secure.”

The SPLC has taken the lead on these attacks, a point emphasized by administration officials and others who claim the group is seeking revenge for Fleitz’s past criticisms of its efforts to smear conservatives.

One former senior defense official who has worked with Fleitz told the Free Beacon that the series of attacks on the new NSC official are part and parcel of the SPLC’s strategy to label conservative thinkers at hate mongers.

“They throw these attacks out there without any evidence,” said the official, who would only speak on background about the matter. “There’s no evidence for what they’re saying.”

“This is dog whistling to the haters on the left,” the source said.

A who’s who of conservative thinkers and officials who have faced similar attacks by Obama loyalists have already rushed to defend Fleitz.

Peter Hoekstra, former chair of the House Intelligence Committee and the Trump administration’s current U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, told the Free Beacon that Fleitz is playing a key role in shaping the White House’s national security agenda—which includes imposing maximum sanctions on Iran and shutting down European business deals with the Islamic Republic.

“Fred has either worked for me or with me for the last 13 plus years,” Hoekstra said. “His experience and in depth knowledge on a wide range of issues, including the threats from Iran and terrorism, will be a real asset to President Trump’s national security team.”

Morton Klein, longtime president of the Zionist Organization of America, slammed the ADL for putting partisan politics over its decades-old agenda of defending the Jewish community against rising anti-Semitism.

“Fleitz is a strong supporter of Israel, understands the reality and dangers of the Arab Islamic war against Israel, and the danger of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s threats against Israel and the U.S.,” Klein told the Free Beacon. “It is deeply disappointing to see ADL, whose mission is to help Israel, oppose the appointment of such a great friend of the Jewish State.”

Yes, Trump’s Going to Dump the Iran Deal

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Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, November 14, 2016:

In the days following Donald Trump’s victory, a variety of experts — mostly Trump critics — pronounced that, despite Trump’s frequent statements during the presidential campaign that the July 2015 nuclear deal with Iran is one of “the worst deals ever made by any country in history,” he has no choice but to stick with the agreement after he assumes office.

Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif was one of the first to insist as much, claiming a Trump administration cannot back out of the nuclear deal because it is not a bilateral agreement between the United States and Iran but “an international understanding annexed to a Security Council resolution.”

Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council (which The Weekly Standard’s Lee Smith once described as “the tip of the spear of the Iran lobby” in the United States) echoed Zarif’s statement. In a November 11 Foreign Policy article, he argued Trump can undermine the Iran deal but cannot directly dismantle it because the JCPOA is a multilateral agreement “codified by the UN Security Council.” Any attempt by a Trump administration to renegotiate the deal would violate international law and isolate the United States, Parsi said.

Even some conservative experts have suggested Trump probably won’t try to significantly modify or discard the nuclear agreement, but will instead try to goad Iran into withdrawing by strictly enforcing the deal.

But Trump senior national-security adviser Walid Phares poured cold water on speculation that Trump plans to walk back his statements about the Iran deal, when he commented on Facebook over the weekend that the “Iran Deal will be dismantled.”

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This firm statement by Phares confirmed previous statements he and Mr. Trump have made that the deal is a dangerous agreement that needs to be either significantly renegotiated or abandoned. As an expert who has followed the Iran nuclear program for many years inside and outside of government, I would like to expand on their statements by offering three key points about the nature of the deal and ten guidelines for renegotiating it.

1. The Iran deal is a dangerous fraud.

Donald Trump was exactly right when he called the Iran deal a “horrible” and “disastrous” agreement. The U.S. agreed to huge concessions to get this agreement, from no restrictions on Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism to no inspections of military facilities. There were secret side deals withheld from Congress that permitted Iran to inspect itself for past nuclear-weapons work and receive secret planeloads of cash in exchange for freeing U.S. hostages. To get the $150 billion in sanctions relief Iran wanted, there was another secret side deal — also withheld from the U.S. Congress — which granted Tehran exemptions for failing to meet some of the agreement’s key requirements.

So what did the United States get for these concessions?

Not much. The Obama administration claims the deal keeps Iran a year away from a nuclear deal for ten to 15 years. But in fact, the time to an Iranian nuclear bomb will drop dramatically under the deal, since Iran will be able to enrich uranium, develop advanced centrifuges, and, with Chinese assistance, finish construction of a heavy-water nuclear reactor that will produce one-quarter of a weapon’s worth of plutonium per year.

It will be very hard to verify the agreement since military sites — where Iran is likely to conduct covert nuclear-weapons work — are off limits to inspectors. The deal dumbed down the IAEA’s quarterly Iran reports, making it difficult for the world to know the true extent of Iran’s compliance. Certainly, there already have been reports of significant Iranian cheating.

Further, the deal was supposed to improve Iran’s international behavior.

Instead, from ballistic-missile tests to increased support to Hezbollah, Bashar al-Assad, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Tehran’s behavior in the Middle East has significantly worsened. Just in the last year, Iran has captured and held at gunpoint ten U.S. sailors and fired anti-ship missiles at American and UAE ships. Is this what a new era of cooperation with Iran was supposed to look like?

2. The deal is not legally binding on us.

Knowing that a bipartisan majority of Congress opposed the nuclear deal and that the U.S. Senate would never ratify it as a treaty, the Obama administration arranged to go around the Senate by negotiating the deal as an executive agreement endorsed by the U.N. Security Council. Because Security Council resolutions are binding on all U.N. members, it could therefore be argued that the nuclear deal was binding on the United States even though it had not been ratified by the Senate.

But that is not how our constitutional order works. American presidents historically have decided which international agreements are to be treated as treaties, but the Iran deal specified that it be ratified by the Iranian parliament.

If President Obama wanted to make a long-term international agreement binding on the United States, he needs consent from Congress. Anything else is a serious affront to the Constitution, and no U.N. endorsement changes that.

(This is not the only example of President Obama’s lawless approach to international agreements: The Paris climate-change agreement was deliberately negotiated to make it binding on the United States without Senate ratification and difficult for a future U.S. president to cancel. The same principles apply, however, and I expect President Trump pull out of the climate agreement as soon as possible.)

3. It’s not a true multilateral agreement.

The Obama administration also attempted to entrench the Iran deal making it a multilateral agreement, but this was just window-dressing.

The deal is technically a multilateral pact agreed to by Iran, the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany, but it is actually a bilateral agreement negotiated almost entirely between the United States and Iran. Iran has only looked to the United States for additional concessions since the deal was announced, and if we want to end the deal, we can.

So it is clear the deal must be either discarded or substantially renegotiated, and that we have every right to do so.

The first steps to renegotiation should be (1) assembling a new anti-Iran coalition of our European allies, Israel, and the Gulf states, and (2) imposing new sanctions on Iran in response to its nuclear program, ballistic-missile program, sponsorship of terrorism, and belligerent behavior. Russia and China could be allowed into the new coalition, but they should not be given a veto over any new agreement. This coalition also must be kept out of the United Nations.

Building the new coalition and renegotiating the agreement won’t be the easiest task, but given Iran’s belligerent behavior and the power new U.S. sanctions can have, a strong president and secretary of state can do it.

An agreement that truly addresses the threat from Iran’s nuclear program and the wider threats Iran poses will require reversing all of the irresponsible concessions made to Iran by the Obama administration.

Such negotiations must start from the following ten guidelines:

  1. Iran must cease all uranium enrichment and uranium-enrichment research.
  2. Iran cannot have a heavy-water reactor or a plant to produce heavy water.
  3. Iran agrees to robust verification, including “anytime, anywhere” inspections by IAEA inspectors of all declared and suspect nuclear sites.
  4. Iran must fully and truthfully answer all questions about its past nuclear-weapons-related work.
  5. Iran must agree to limitations on its ballistic-missile program.
  6. Sanctions will only be lifted in stages, in response to Iranian compliance with the agreement.
  7. Iran must agree to end its meddling in regional conflicts and its sponsorship of terror.
  8. Threats by Iran to ships in the Persian Gulf, U.S. naval vessels, and American troops must stop.
  9. Iran must cease its hostility toward Israel.
  10. Iran must release all U.S. prisoners.

Renegotiating or terminating the Iran deal will not just end the threat from a dangerous international agreement.

It will signify that this agreement was an aberration by an incompetent U.S. president who tried to subvert the U.S. Constitution, and it would send a powerful message to the world that the Obama administration’s policies of American weakness and appeasement are over.

Trump critics have argued that renegotiating or terminating the nuclear deal would isolate the United States and hurt America’s global stature. But in reality, President Obama’s foreign policy has already undermined America’s reputation around the world.

Fixing or killing the Iran nuclear deal will be President Trump’s first step toward restoring America’s global leadership.

Another Day, Another Secret Obama Side Deal with Iran

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Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, Sept. 30, 2016:

According to a September 30 Wall Street Journal article, the Obama administration signed a secret agreement with Iran to lift U.N. sanctions from two Iranian banks — Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International — that helped finance Iran’s ballistic-missile program. U.S. and Iranian officials signed this deal on January 17, 2016, the same day Iran released four U.S. prisoners.

U.S officials in January said the prisoners were swapped for the release of seven Iranian prisoners by the U.S. and the removal of 21 persons — mostly Iranian nationals — from an INTERPOL wanted list for violating U.S. laws barring transfers of WMD technology and weapons to Iran.

The American people and Congress did not learn until August that the U.S. prisoners were not allowed to leave Iran until a planeload of $400 million in cash sent by the United States had landed in Iran. This payment — and two more over the next month — has been strongly condemned by Republican congressmen as U.S. ransom payments to a state sponsor of terror.

Commenting on the $400 million cash payment to Iran, the prisoner swap and the lifting of sanctions from the Iranian banks, a senior U.S. official told the Journal, “The timing of all this isn’t coincidental. Everything was linked to some degree.”

The Journal also quoted unnamed Obama officials who justified lifting sanctions against the two Iranian banks to “harmonize the U.N. sanctions list with the U.S.’s” and because “Washington believed Iran had earned more sanctions relief because Tehran had been implementing the terms of the nuclear agreement.” The Obama administration lifted U.S. sanctions against Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International in July 2015. The U.N. Security Council voted to lift these sanctions on January 17, 2016.

This suggests the removal of sanctions against the Iranian banks was part of a broad ransom agreement to free U.S. prisoners held by Iran.

The secret agreement to lift sanctions against the Iranian banks also violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, passed in July 2015 which endorsed the JCPOA. This resolution stipulated that U.N. missile-related sanctions against Iran would remain in place for eight years. In addition, lifting sanctions against the two banks broke promises to Congress by Obama officials that the nuclear deal would only lift nuclear-related sanctions against Iran and that U.N. missile sanctions would remain in place for eight years.

The secret deal to lift missile sanctions against the Iranian banks joins a long list of secret JCPOA side deals that the Obama administration illegally withheld from the U.S. Congress and the American people. These include allowing Iran to inspect itself for nuclear weapons work; the dumbing down of IAEA Iran reports; exemptions granted to Iran on its JCPOA obligations so it would receive $150 billion in sanctions relief; sending Iran planeloads of $1.7 billion in cash to free four imprisoned Americans; and an agreement allowing Iran to construct advanced centrifuges in 2027. One has to wonder how many more secret side deals have yet to be disclosed.

I argue in my new book on the Obama administration’s nuclear diplomacy with Iran is national-security fraud. This latest secret side deal is more compelling evidence of this.

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