Unbelievable. The baseless attack against Donald Trump continues unabated. The latest target? His Presidential Memorandum governing how the National Security Council will be organized. Hell, the frigging Wall Street Journal gets it wrong. Here is their headline:

Donald Trump Shuffles National Security Council

Executive measure adds Steve Bannon while removing Director of National Intelligence, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Only one little problem. That’s not what the damn Memorandum states, and I quote:

The NSC and HSC shall have as their regular attendees (both statutory and non-statutory) the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the National Security Advisor, the Homeland Security Advisor, and the Representative of the United States to the United Nations.  When international economic issues are on the agenda of the NSC, the NSC’s regular attendees will include the Secretary of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy.  The Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as statutory advisers to the NSC, shall also attend NSC meetings.  

It does not say some. It does not proscribe the DNI and Chairman of the JCS from attending. Just the opposite. It reaffirms that they are “statutory advisers” and shall attend NSC meetings.

How can the press be so damn careless? This is absurd.

Their panties are in a knot over the fact that Steve Bannon, who is a counselor to the President, will attend. The media is trying to draw a parallel with Karl Rove. Sorry. That dog don’t hunt. Bannon served seven years in the U.S. Navy, so he is not a civilian with no military experience, like Karl Rove.

I encourage all to read the actual document. Too bad many in the media seem incapable of that.

UPDATE–Let me start with the most important omission from Donald Trump’s “reorganization” of the National Security Council. The only significant player missing from the list of attendees at the various meetings (i.e., NSC, Principals and Deputies Committee) is the Director of the FBI. I do not know if that is an oversight or a deliberate exclusion. Worth noting that Barack Obama excluded the FBI as well (see here). So President Trump is not breaking new ground. At a minimum, I believe that the FBI should be part of the Deputies Committee meetings because the FBI has a very important role with respect to terrorism issues and brings unique expertise that no one else at the table can provide. This is the one issue that the President should be challenged on and no one seems to notice. I do not recall if the FBI had a seat during the Bush Administration (there is a research project for any of you with the interest to pursue it.)

With respect to the Principal’s Committee, which is the action arm for the NSC on key decisions, it is not true that the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were “removed” as claimed by the Wall Street Journal. Here is the specific language:

The PC shall have as its regular attendees the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, the Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist, the National Security Advisor, and the Homeland Security Advisor.  The Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall attend where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.

That is pretty straightforward–they attend on issues “pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise.” How are you removed if you are attending the meeting?

One final point. Here’s more evidence of the media hysteria. The New York Times print edition carries this headline on the matter,

Bannon Is Given Security Role Usually Held for Generals

But the headline on the web (I get email alerts) is even more absurd:

Bannon Seizes a Security Role From Generals

This beyond absurd. Nothing has been taken away from any General. Hey, why worry about facts when you can make stuff up. The sad decline of our media.

UPDATE II–Susan Rice is a moron. What a buffoon. She tweeted yesterday complaining that the CIA was left out of the NSC memo:

Chairman of Joint Chiefs and DNI treated as after thoughts in Cabinet level principals meetings. And where is CIA?? Cut out of everything? 3:16 AM – 29 Jan 2017

Newflash for Susan–the CIA was removed from the NSC once the DNI was created way back in 2005. Hey Susan? Were you asleep at all of the NSC meetings over the last four years? Good Lord, no wonder Obama’s foreign policy was a disaster.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.