Not Only Is Steve Bannon Sitting In On National Security Meetings, The Usual Paper Trail Is Disappearing

from the THINK-BEFORE-YOU-PRINT-[reduce,-redact,-obfuscate] dept

The new boss is not the same as the old boss. While Obama was routinely terrible at keeping his promise to run the Most Transparent Administration, positive changes still resulted in the aftermath of the Snowden leaks. The intelligence community is more open than ever -- but then we're comparing a barely-cracked door to one that has been shut, locked, and bricked over for years.

Now that Trump's in charge, it looks as though transparency and accountability aren't ideals closely held by his administration. While Trump has portrayed himself as a populist, there's very little being done currently that suggests the public -- including members employed by the government -- is welcome to participate in the process. The public has outlived its usefulness. Post-election, it just doesn't have much to offer someone who appears to believe he was elected "Boss," rather than "Top Public Servant."

Executive orders and presidential directives are being issued without legal guidance or consultation with the agencies affected. And the national security framework is being heavily altered by a man best known for running a highly-partisan website. Steve Bannon, Trump's chief advisor and former head of Breitbart, is being given a seat at the "Adults" table for National Security Council meetings.

This isn't totally unusual. Obama often invited his advisors to these meetings. What Obama didn't do was guarantee them a spot at the head table, much less do so at the expense of actual national security officials. This is what National Security Council meetings look like now, under the new president.

Bannon's spot is guaranteed. (This, despite reports that Bannon must be approved by Congress. Nothing in the law says Council members need to be confirmed.) But the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are only invited if Trump feels they should be there. This is an incredibly odd -- and possibly dangerous -- situation. Two officials considered essential to national security decisions aren't guaranteed a chance to offer their insight in national security meetings.

Worse, Bannon's apparently permanent position in the NSC has resulted in him obtaining far more power than presidential advisors normally have. His efforts are further burying national security efforts under thick, black layers of opacity. The council meetings will continue. But it appears any record-keeping will not.

Even before he was given a formal seat on the National Security Council’s “principals committee” this weekend by President Donald Trump, Bannon was calling the shots and doing so with little to no input from the National Security Council staff, according to an intelligence official who asked not to be named out of fear of retribution.

“He is running a cabal, almost like a shadow NSC,” the official said. He described a work environment where there is little appetite for dissenting opinions, shockingly no paper trail of what’s being discussed and agreed upon at meetings, and no guidance or encouragement so far from above about how the National Security Council staff should be organized.

Bannon's paperless national security "office" appears to be the result of NSC officials doing what they've always done: share drafts and briefing notes with affected agencies and their employees. Bannon has put an end to that.

More stringent guidelines for handling and routing were then instituted, and the National Security Council staff was largely cut out of the process.

By the end of the week, they weren’t the only ones left in the dark. Retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, was being briefed on the executive order, which called for immediately shutting the borders to nationals from seven largely Muslim countries and all refugees, while Trump was in the midst of signing the measure, the New York Times reported.

Cutting down on sharing is only part of the paper trail elimination. The second part ensures there's less paper than ever to share. As Kate Brannen of Just Security reports, NSC meetings have been memorialized for years with a "summary of conclusions (SOC)" -- basically minutes of the meetings, along with guidance resulting from it. Officials could refer back to these notes if they ran into issues directly addressed in those meetings. They were also given an opportunity to correct the record if they felt something has been misconstrued or misquoted. These SOCs are now just relics of the past.

During the first week of the Trump administration, there were no SOCs, the intelligence official said. In fact, according to him, there is surprisingly very little paper being generated, and whatever paper there is, the NSC staff is not privy to it. He sees this as a deterioration of transparency and accountability.

“It would worry me if written records of these meeting were eliminated, because they contribute to good governance,” Waxman said.

What appears to be happening (although there's been no confirmation yet) is that Steve Bannon is being given the job of putting together Trump-approved SOCs of NSC meetings. These will be the only official records of the meetings and they're in the hands of a person who has plenty of motivation to only memorialize what adheres to administration talking points or furthers its goals. With the administration in full control of NSC meetings and any resulting narratives, whatever paper trail survives this bizarre reshuffling of power will be mostly useless.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 11:31am

    Doubleplus Good record keeping for the modern administration

    What appears to be happening (although there's been no confirmation yet) is that Steve Bannon is being given the job of putting together Trump-approved SOCs of NSC meetings.

    Yeah, that goes well beyond 'sitting in', at that point he might as well be running the things, deciding what is and is not written down. Someone brings up an issue that contradicts the WH position and/or statements? What issue, no records of it, so clearly it wasn't raised and doesn't exist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 12:45pm

      Re: Doubleplus Good record keeping for the modern administration

      Deniable plausibility of governance. That is scary.

      "Not wat I said, the media and the people in power are a cabal against me, bringing fake news and being dishonest! Without them I could make america sooo great, you would scream no!" as Trump would say...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 5:58pm

      Re: Doubleplus Good record keeping for the modern administration

      Oh you must have just been told...

      Bannon is actually the president. he just knew that no one would vote for him so he had Trump run as the figure head.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 11:53am

    Also missing...

    Director of the office of science and technology policy.

    Formerly on the list.
    Now no longer there.

    I'm sure intelligence shouldn't be provided to anyone responsible for policy... nor should someone with a focus on science and technology interrupt the "adults at the table" with... facts.

    E

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Berenerd (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 4:49am

      Re: Also missing...

      They had to make room for the Office of Alternate Facts. Because the fake news doesn't Like Donnie and his band of misfits trying to "drain the swamp"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 6:30am

      Re: Also missing...

      Downsizing unneeded positions. I support that!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 12:23pm

      Re: Also missing...

      Even more amusingly, they also removed the Secretary of Energy. Because why would the person in charge of our nuclear weapons program need to sit in on national security briefings?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 12:27pm

    Perfect

    Obama builds on top of the shit Bush did, and Trump builds on top of the shit that Obama did.

    the next president will build on top of the shit that Trump does.

    The natural flow of government is towards tyranny, wisdom from an era now considered old and ignorant. My how histories wisdom is constantly scoffed at by the pseudo intellectuals.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 31 Jan 2017 @ 3:39pm

      Re: Perfect

      While I agree that each administration builds on the last, and that Obama continued and expanded many of Bush's policies that encroached on civil liberties, I think you're very, very wrong to suggest that this is just business as usual. This isn't just another case of the new guy doing the same stuff the other guys did; this is really unprecedented.

      Unless you can think of another example of a presidential campaign being run by the former head of a publication representing the political fringe, and then, on assuming office, appointing that same campaign manager to a previously-nonexistent leadership post, then elevating him to a national security leadership position, removing actual national security heads from same, plus a number of other cabinet members, and deciding that records of the meetings will no longer be kept.

      No, Anon, this is not normal. This is not "the natural flow of government". This has never happened before; at least, not in this country.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 12:12am

        Re: Re: Perfect

        I dunno, dude. Joe Goebbels certainly pulled off something similar so it's hardly "unprecedented". You don't seem to know what you're talking about.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 10:21am

        Re: Re: Perfect

        No, Anon, this is not normal. This is not "the natural flow of government". This has never happened before; at least, not in this country.

        And the biggest villains here are the GOP, particularly Mitch McConnell and his naked pursuit of power for power's sake. When Nixon went off the rails, his own party was willing to hold him accountable. Now we are seeing exactly why George Washington warned about in his farewell address:

        The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

        Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

        It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anonymous coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 12:29pm

    Facts, what Facts?

    Don't let no stinking facts get in the way. Any news not from Trump isn't "real" but alternative news that is unverified by djt hisself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GristleMissle, 31 Jan 2017 @ 12:39pm

    The Right Thing

    We can't let terrorists get their hands on this kind of information.

    It's better to run in through a filter first. I certainly couldn't be trusted with it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_public_disclosures_of_classified_information
    These kinds of leaks will be unacceptable in the new administration. Which I applaud.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 31 Jan 2017 @ 4:57pm

      Re: The Right Thing

      We can't let terrorists get their hands on this kind of information.

      Apparently we can't let the Director of National Security get his hands on this kind of information either.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_public_disclosures_of_classified_information These kinds of leaks will be unacceptable in the new administration. Which I applaud.

      If you think all public disclosures of classified information are inherently bad, then I think you may have clicked on the wrong website.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 5:52pm

        Re: Re: The Right Thing

        They make a lot more sense when you assume that they're a poe done well, as I'm almost positive is the case at this point. Well, either that or a hardcore, 'Who am I to question those in charge?' authoritarian.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      GristleMissile (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 7:48pm

      Re: The Right Thing

      I find it truly hilarious that you continue to try to smear me by posting idiocy with a name crafted to appear to be mine.

      It just goes to show how little arguments you have for anything when you have to resort to deception.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 12:50pm

    Trump is fuzz testing our political system

    I know from one perspective this looks like a complete disaster. But from another, isn't it a good thing that we have someone testing the bounds of what is allowable and what isn't? And if things were done a certain way simply by convention rather than the rule of law, this is a perfect time for Congress to start passing some laws that codify these practices.

    The shock here shouldn't be that Trump is doing things a different way for his own selfish advantage. The shock is that we don't have a system in place to prevent it from happening. Our job now is to fix that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 1:07pm

      Re: Trump is fuzz testing our political system

      The way he was showing no willingness for compromise or accepting that he was wrong publically is scary. bullshit-testing a system is fine, but the people he has chosen as ministers and the EOs are a sign that he actually believes in the bullshit he is pulling.

      It is too late to secure the pipe when it has already burst. Unless congress miraculously starts to act against a president of their own party, or Trump starts to accept that he isn't infallable, democracy will be tested in areas nobody wants it to be tested on...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Not.You, 31 Jan 2017 @ 1:36pm

      Re: Trump is fuzz testing our political system

      I might could put a positive spin on some of this stuff as a chance to improve government if congress showed any sign at all that they would hold this dude accountable, but the fact is that they haven't. They show every sign of letting Trump doing whatever the hell he wants. And since Trump already seems to think he was elected "king" if he behaves like one and congress gives it all tacit approval we are fucked.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dave Cortright (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 1:59pm

      Re: Trump is fuzz testing our political system

      The Judicial branch at least has shown willingness to stand up to him, even if Congress doesn't.

      And at some point I have to believe that even the Republicans have a line in the sand he's going to cross. Let hope the damage done by then isn't too much.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        R.H. (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 9:07pm

        Re: Re: Trump is fuzz testing our political system

        That depends on which way the conservative-leaning judges on the Supreme Court decide to fall on some of these executive orders as well as the judge he just nominated for the currently empty seat. If he gets too many judges on his side, there won't be anyone in his way anymore.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anon, 1 Feb 2017 @ 8:18am

        Re: Re: Trump is fuzz testing our political system

        I am not sure if you are a naïve person or if you are a Trumpkin trying to polish the turd. But, given the current political situation, your immense optimism in a fair and balanced political process is kinda cute and admirable. If the last 8 years is of any indication as to how Congress works you are going to be very disappointed. Setting aside the supreme court vacancy, there are currently more than 100 opening (http://www.uscourts.gov/judges-judgeships/judicial-vacancies) at different levels in the federal court system that Trump is going to fill with judges of his choosing, most likely with input from Bannon. Obama tried to fill those vacancies but a lot of them were blocked by Republicans, with probably the same reason they had in mind when they blocked Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, so there goes the checks and balances of the Judiciary. Republicans haven’t controlled all three branches in a while, now that they have that control plus the potential to shape Judiciary for generations to come, they probably are going to be immensely tolerant towards Trumpian shenanigans, so you can forget about your proverbial line in the sand…….

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 1:14pm

          Re: Re: Re: Trump is fuzz testing our political system

          "Trumpkin trying to polish the turd."

          Stopped reading at the above quote. Clean up your act man. Name calling is what got us into this mess.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 9:39pm

      Re: Trump is fuzz testing our political system

      “No man is completely useless; he can always serve as a bad example.”

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 5:00am

      Re: Trump is fuzz testing our political system

      As if these buffoons would honor your laws put in place to thwart their draconian advances. They don't need no stinkin laws.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 12:51pm

    Bannon is a poisonous bag of potatoes. He should be subject to at least the same level of vetting experienced by any refugee.

    Is he collecting a paycheck on the taxpayers' dime?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 12:59pm

    I share blame in this. I was one of those who mocked Trump for declaring that he was so smart that he didn't have to listen to security briefings.

    Now he's putting Steve Bannon in charge of security briefings, and for all we know the briefings sound like idle chatter on Billy Bush's bus.

    I should have considered the unintended consequences.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 5:03am

      Re:

      According to some, bannon attendance in those meetings requires congressional approval like any other cabinet position.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 12:59pm

    Someone run out to the dollar store and buy a crate of pink "My Sweet 16" diaries... with the little padlock... and surreptitiously pass them out to NSC staffers.

    "Dear diary... today I heard the President call somebody a 'poop-head', but Mr. Bannon gave him a time out, and he promised to be good."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 1:03pm

    Why is this a political site now? Anti trump too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 1:17pm

      Re:

      TD really needs to start selling whatever code they came up with to force people to read articles that they didn't want to, with something like that in the store they'd make millions on a daily basis.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 4:40am

        Re: Re:

        The code not only forces them to read the articles, not only forces them to comment, but also makes them forget the fact that this site has been covering political and other subjects not directly tech-related for years!

        Truly amazing. It's probably also the same code that makes people forget all the articles critical of Google, Obama or Clinton whenever they decide the site's shilling for them.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          orbitalinsertion (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 8:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          All of techdirt (i.e., "Masnick") is always the shill of some random hoser's (sorry, i mean anonymous coward's) enemy, basher of their idols, and never writes about what he is supposed to write about. Also, he hates copyright.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 1:17pm

      Re:

      Moose out front shoulda told you about the change.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 1:26pm

      Re:

      I guess when one political group declares facts their enemy, all other groups dealing in facts are now automatically political?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 5:04am

      Re:

      Are you a member of the 50 cent brigade?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sorrykb (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 1:05pm

    They still don't know what the Secretary of Energy does, do they.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 1:08pm

    Wow. Miss one little link and the whole thing goes wonky. Spent fifteen minutes going back to see what I missed because I was wondering WTF Harold Waxman had to do with anything! I almost had decided someplace had asked him since he used to be on Governmental Oversight committee. Finally found the original link and discovered it was Matthew! Actually, it still sounds like something Harold would have said. Eh, who knew?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 1:24pm

    It seems like Trump has inherited a government full of people that are willing to work against him and his Party(ie FBI, IRS). Until he has capable people in place, this doesn't surprise me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 1:39pm

    Is it me, or does every single picture of Bannon make him out to look like a disheveled drunk after a 2-day bender?

    You'd think a guy working at this level would fucking shave.

    Sad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bonnie Doerr, 31 Jan 2017 @ 2:17pm

    The Donald

    I feel like I'm in a Country being run by a dictator! I'm a US born citizen, age 76, and keeping abreast of the s#It is almost impossible This is scary stuff! PLEASE, someone tell the foolish emportor that he isn't wearing any clothes. Keep blasting the truth, media. I would be really frightened without

    CNN and folks like you. Bonniedoerr@charter.net

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 3 Feb 2017 @ 5:42am

      Re: The Donald

      It may comfort you to learn that the writers at The American Conservative aren't particularly fond of him either. If we could only get more conservatives to speak out and call him on his credentials: he's an anarchist, not conservative.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 2:34pm

    something tells me this may violate the DATA act and FOIA laws.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 2:43pm

    I keep trying to comfort myself with the words from Reek who wisely said:

    "It can always be worse"

    Unfortunately I am having a tough time squaring that with the white supremacist website "Daily Stormer" where it was written:

    "Just like everything else we hoped for, Bannon is going to be exactly where we want him: right next to Trump, all day every day."

    I suspect the lack of a paper trail is going to be the least of our worries soon enough. Bannon is positioning himself to always be the last person Trump hears.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    seedeevee (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 3:44pm

    insight to essentialness

    "Two officials considered essential to national security decisions aren't guaranteed a chance to offer their insight in national security meetings. "

    I think what has been proven is that no set number of "officials' lead to wise national security decisions in the USA and that all they really do is perform a CYA function for decisions made by the President or his chosen top adviser.

    Can anyone name a top NatSec official of the last 50 years that hasn't been a hack with a long list of errors?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Justme, 31 Jan 2017 @ 4:03pm

      Re: insight to essentialness

      Can you name anyone that has lived 50 years and doesn't have a long list of errors!

      Certainly not Donald Trump or Steve Bannon.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 5:07am

        Re: Re: insight to essentialness

        No one is perfect, so let's let these insane people run our country into the ground - brilliant!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    neo anderson says, 31 Jan 2017 @ 4:56pm

    look fools its like this

    the usa dont need no stinkin tree huggers upset so paper is no longer gonna be used nor kept ....and you cant tell if anything is wrong if there is no proof therefore its all good....see the world is better now

    hahahahaa

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 5:09am

      Re: look fools its like this

      Yes, it's literally a rose garden :)
      until those jack booted assholes stomp all over it, kick your ass and put you on the deportation train.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 4:58pm

    How long till Dumpf fires all federal judges, all members of congress and declares himself king?

    I hope the military will tell him to piss off when the pitch forks start appearing.

    This could go down several ways, none of them are pretty. The GOP{ would do themselves a favor if they cut this off now before it gets really bad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 3 Feb 2017 @ 5:53am

      Re:

      They won't. The Tea Party and its Bannonite associates (I'm looking at you, Limbaugh and Hannity!) encouraged their audience to campaign for "the most conservative" candidates, by which normal people mean "the most anarchic or fascist". Result: GOP seats filled with the likes of David "I'm not *A* WASP, I'm *THE* WASP!" Brat and the Science Committee staffed with denialists of every stripe. These guys are, for the most part, the nicer, more acceptable version, though they used to be on the outer fringes. Trump is the logical endgame of voting such people into office; the mentality that put them in put him in, that's why he's not only got both Houses he's got the three Branches as well. The damage he does may take decades to resolve.

      The only way to sort this out is for sensible, fact-driven designated driver-type conservatives to speak out to counter the binary left/right narrative, which only serves to promote and normalise the extremism we're seeing today. If the liberal/progressives and leftists (there are a few, they're the ones banging on about class. Don't get me started!) are the only ones saying anything, people on the other side of the aisle might ignore them. If more of the people conservatives tend to respect speak out, the moderate ones may well join them. This needs to happen.

      The GOP goes where the noise (and the votes) is. Moderates need to be making more noise. Now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 31 Jan 2017 @ 5:00pm

    I think that this series of high visibility executive orders is a purposeful strategy on the part of Bannon and others.

    Its goal is to front-load the term with a massive amount of absolutely horrible executive orders. If they go unchecked, they will continue unabated. if they get checked, they will pull back and spin stories to cover for their actions.

    That is why they are limiting access. They all want plausible deniability. Everyone at the table is culpable, so nobody can point fingers if it blows up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 5:44pm

    Sounds like he is taking a giant shit on the NSA. He should chill once he is responsible for the taking of some innocent lives, although if the former president and his use of predator drones is any indication, he will rationalize it. When he tries to shut down the Federal Reserve they will euthanize him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 6:40pm

    Executive orders are not laws, only congress legislates (when it serves their wallets). Executive orders are more like suggestions than laws.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Koby (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 6:40pm

    Paralysis No More

    >>Executive orders and presidential directives are being issued without legal guidance or consultation with the agencies affected.

    This is exactly why nothing "gets done" in Washington, because it will probably take 10 years to do studies and get buy-in and legal guidance from everyone and each stakeholder and department. Even assuming that he gets a second term, he will finally be able to act exactly two years after he's out of office. In the meantime, the bureaucracy will continue to spiral out of control.

    Instead, Trump is running things like a corporation, with a chain of command. Everyone in Washington dreams of being some kind of policy-maker, but Trump is going to change this. Instead, certain people that Trump trusts will develop the policy, while everyone else carries out the directives. It's probably going to make a bunch of the career bureaucrats very unhappy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      beltorak (profile), 1 Feb 2017 @ 9:52pm

      Re: Paralysis No More

      LOL, nice one. Completely glossing over that government policy is supposed to take a long time because hasty actions lead to drastic mistakes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 7:05pm

    Nothing sadder than a bitter nard-kicked democrat rolling around in their own vomit to pick out "cherries". Sad.. just sad. Sad when a site, originally (and supposedly) about the "story", now nothing more than a container for the bitterness you pour over your viewers* heads daily.

    Just.. go home and beat off to SNL.

    *your "viewers" are spectators of sad spectacles.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 31 Jan 2017 @ 7:11pm

      Re: now nothing more than a container for the bitterness you pour over your viewers* heads daily.

      I keep wondering: do Conservatives actually have any positive policies of their own? Or do they define themselves entirely in terms of being opposed to everything that Liberals stand for?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 8:34pm

        Re: Re: now nothing more than a container for the bitterness you pour over your viewers* heads daily.

        A Trumper like the AC you're responding to isn't a conservative. Trump is the figurehead of the Alt-Right, which by definition rejects mainstream conservatism. His "we will change everything" policy, for better or worse, is the polar opposite of conservative.

        AC defines liberal as "someone he's told to disagree with", including most real conservatives.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 3 Feb 2017 @ 6:01am

          Re: Re: Re: now nothing more than a container for the bitterness you pour over your viewers* heads daily.

          What Roger Strong says. I'm conservative and can't stand Trump on the grounds that his policies and actions are contrary to my belief in traditional community values. He's crapping all over them and I'm mad as hell about it.

          Last night I discovered that he's got few, if any fans at The American Conservative. They were giving him a right slagging off. "Conservative" has only come to mean "loon" because the alt-right have hijacked the narrative. Real conservatives are sane, designated driver types who love order and believe in good governance.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 5:13am

      Re:

      There are plenty of things sadder than what you are doing, just look the trumpette family fuckups.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 8:27am

      Re:

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    RIchZ (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 10:42pm

    Somebody hasn't read the Presidential Memorandum

    The outrage is somewhat misplaced, as people seem to be mixing and matching different parts of the Pres. Memo.

    The DNI and Chairman JCoS _are_ still mandatory members of the full National Security Council, with "shall attend" status. This is the full NSC where Bannon is one of five members who are not mandatory attendees, but have an open invitation.

    The Principal's Committee, an interagency coordination committee (PC) is the one where the DNI and CJCoS are not required to attend _all_ meetings, but are still "shall attend" for anything in their bailiwick. Note that this is the exact same thing GW Bush did in _his_ realignment of the NSC (he did not, however, add anybody like Bannon to the PC).

    It helps to read the actual document in question, instead of news and blog article ledes. To read this one, see
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/28/presidential-memorandum-organization-national -security-council-and

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 10:42pm

    So active duty military is demoted in importance and civilian leadership is promoted and this is supposedly authoritarian?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2017 @ 5:14am

      Re:

      Things are simple in your world?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 3 Feb 2017 @ 6:05am

        Re: Re:

        This is an example of the kind of thing I was talking about earlier. To maintain order and good governance, people who actually know what they're doing ought to head up the various departments of the government. Steve Bannon has no experience of national security or foreign policy management so ought to be excluded or at least on the side making the coffee while the grownups are talking. Actually, neither does Trump. I can only hope that the Joint Chiefs are running a shadow National Security Council to keep the country safe while Trump and Bannon make pillow forts in the Oval Office.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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