May 21, 2024

The acting defense secretary orders the head of the National Security Agency to appoint a Trump loyalist as the agency’s general counsel

Christopher Miller, who said it only two days ago I couldn’t wait to leave his jobMichael Ellis, chief of the National Security Agency, ordered that General Counsel be appointed by 6 p.m. on Saturday, but NSA Director General Paul Nakasone did not act by the deadline, leaving it unclear what Miller or the White House would do.

Ellis was first selected for the position in early November, just two days after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election and in the midst of a political purge of various agencies, including the Department of Defense.

The Pentagon declined to comment. This story was first reported before Washington Post.

But Ellis’s confirmation was halted, according to the Washington Post, due to administrative measures, including the need for a polygraph test, which caused Miller to pay for him in the final days of Trump’s four years in office.

Within days of Ellis picked the job in November, which came shortly after President Donald Trump Then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper fired via TwitterDemocratic Senators Mark Warner and Jack Reed requested an investigation from the Acting Inspector General of the Pentagon, saying in a letter: “The combination of timing, the candidate’s relative lack of experience, the reported qualifications of other finalists, and press accounts of the White House participation create the perception that political influence or considerations may be” Played an undue role in the merit-based civil service selection process

Before joining the Trump administration, Ellis served as a key advisor to California Representative Devin Nunes, one of Trump’s strongest supporters. Ellis then became a lawyer with the National Security Council, and refused to testify as part of the House of Representatives’ 2019 impeachment investigation. In March 2020, Ellis became senior director of intelligence at the National Security Council, joining Trump loyalists in key intelligence positions.

But try to shift Ellis to the National Security Agency It differs, because the general counsel at the country’s largest intelligence agency is a civil servant, not a political appointee. This makes it difficult to shoot Ellis once the Biden administration arrives, the sources said, adding that the strategy is called “Negev.”

“I’m not talking to the press, thank you,” Ellis said, then hung up when the Washington Post called him. CNN was unable to reach Ellis.

Susan Hennessy, a former National Security Agency attorney and legal and national security analyst at CNN, extracted the decision to install Ellis last weekend for the Trump administration.

“At this point, no one should extend this selection process in favor of suspicion. By all indications, the Trump director is violating civil service rules and politicizing a non-political role. If Ellis is inaugurated tonight, Biden should remove him on the first day,” She wrote on Twitter.
The NSA General Counsel is not a confirmed position from the Senate, Hennessy On her Lawfare Blog In November, which eliminates the congressional oversight move that was in place for roles like CIA General Counsel, the Pentagon, or the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The aim of this process was to remove any political bias in appointing a candidate for one of the key roles in the National Security Agency.
“This is a really difficult and really important task and we have a process to make sure that only qualified individuals play the role * because it is essential to the national security of the United States,” Hennessy wrote on Saturday on Twitter.