National Security

John Glenn’s Remains Were Disrespected at Mortuary

“A senior mortuary employee at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware twice offered horrified inspectors a peek at American icon John Glenn’s dead body while the famed astronaut awaited burial earlier this year,” according to an internal memo obtained by Military Times.

“The disturbing allegation has outraged Pentagon officials and sparked a top-level investigation to determine whether misconduct was committed.”

Trump Wants Steam Catapults on Aircraft Carriers

In an interview with Time, President Trump said he has told the Navy to return to decades-old steam-powered catapult technology to launch aircraft from aircraft carriers, rather than use a new digital launch system.

You know the catapult is quite important. So I said what is this? Sir, this is our digital catapult system. He said well, we’re going to this because we wanted to keep up with modern [technology]. I said you don’t use steam anymore for catapult? No sir. I said, “Ah, how is it working?” “Sir, not good. Not good. Doesn’t have the power. You know the steam is just brutal. You see that sucker going and steam’s going all over the place, there’s planes thrown in the air.”

It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out. And I said–and now they want to buy more aircraft carriers. I said what system are you going to be–”Sir, we’re staying with digital.” I said no you’re not. You going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.

Flynn Never Disclosed That Russians Paid Him

“The Defense Intelligence Agency didn’t know former director Mike Flynn had been paid nearly $34,000 by a Russian state media outlet when it renewed his security clearance in April 2016,” two U.S. officials told NBC News.

“Flynn had disclosed the December 2015 trip to Moscow to the DIA, but he never told them he was paid by RT… The Defense Department inspector general is now investigating whether Flynn broke the rules. The U.S. Constitution forbids retired generals from accepting foreign payments without permission.”

“Flynn’s failure to inform the DIA he had been paid has not been reported previously. In the past, lawmakers who reviewed documents said they had seen no evidence he had reported the fees. The revelation casts new light on the White House assertion Monday that the Obama administration should have denied Flynn a security clearance if officials were concerned about him.”

Trump Cools on McMaster

Eli Lake: “For the Washington establishment, President Donald Trump’s decision to make General H.R. McMaster his national security adviser in February was a masterstroke. Here is a well-respected defense intellectual, praised by both parties, lending a steady hand to a chaotic White House. The grown-ups are back.”

“But inside the White House, the McMaster pick has not gone over well with the one man who matters most. White House officials tell me Trump himself has clashed with McMaster in front of his staff.”

“McMaster’s allies and adversaries inside the White House tell me that Trump is disillusioned with him. This professional military officer has failed to read the president  — by not giving him a chance to ask questions during briefings, at times even lecturing Trump.”

Trump Says Flynn Was Vetted by Obama

President Donald Trump shifted blame for the vetting of his former national security adviser Michael Flynn onto the Obama administration, Politico reports.

Said Trump: “When he came into our administration, for a short period of time — he came in — he was already approved by the Obama administration, and he had years left on that approval.”

He added: “Now, if somebody’s approved at the absolute highest level by the Obama or a previous administration, I mean, does anybody ever ask about them?”

Iran Prisoner Swap Wasn’t What It Seemed

“When President Barack Obama announced the ‘one-time gesture’ of releasing Iranian-born prisoners who ‘were not charged with terrorism or any violent offenses’ last year, his administration presented the move as a modest trade-off for the greater good of the Iran nuclear agreement and Tehran’s pledge to free five Americans,” Politico reports.

“But Obama, the senior official and other administration representatives weren’t telling the whole story on Jan. 17, 2016, in their highly choreographed rollout of the prisoner swap and simultaneous implementation of the six-party nuclear deal… In reality, some of them were accused by Obama’s own Justice Department of posing threats to national security.”

Mattis Privately Tells Lawmakers Budget Not Enough

“Defense Secretary James Mattis has privately told Congress the Trump administration’s Pentagon budget request isn’t sufficient to cover the cost of rebuilding the military as President Trump has vowed to do,” CNN reports.

“Mattis is not publicly raising concerns about the $603 billion Pentagon budget plan, aligning himself with the White House’s decision, though it’s a stance that’s sparking frustration from some Republican defense hawks in Congress.”

CIA and FBI Launch Manhunt for Leaker

CBS News has learned that a manhunt is underway for a traitor inside the Central Intelligence Agency.

“The CIA and FBI are conducting a joint investigation into one of the worst security breaches in CIA history, which exposed thousands of top-secret documents that described CIA tools used to penetrate smartphones, smart televisions and computer systems.”

“Sources familiar with the investigation say it is looking for an insider — either a CIA employee or contractor — who had physical access to the material.”

Aircraft Carrier Wasn’t Sailing to Deter North Korea

“As worries deepened last week about whether North Korea would conduct a missile test, the White House declared that ordering an American aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan would send a powerful deterrent signal and give President Trump more options in responding to the North’s provocative behavior,” the New York Times reports.

“The problem was, the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the four other warships in its strike force were at that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula.”

Trump Embraces Use of Military Might

Washington Post: “As he searches for a coherent foreign policy during his first months in office, Trump has celebrated but often inflated the effect of military actions. The massive shows of strength, at times, have seemed to be a strategy unto themselves.”

“Trump’s full-on embrace of military force offers a sharp contrast to Barack Obama, who promised to end America’s wars and who worried publicly about escalation and overreach, often to the point of paralysis. Trump has taken the polar opposite approach, and for the moment he seems to be benefiting.”

Pompeo Mocks Idea of ‘Microwave Surveillance’

CIA Director Mike Pompeo “mocked those who fear intelligence officials conduct surveillance through microwaves, saying the agency tries to ignore such claims,” Politico reports.

“While White House counselor Kellyanne Conway suffered blowback last month when she suggested microwaves could be deployed as surveillance devices, the CIA said later Thursday that Pompeo was not directly referencing Conway’s controversial comments.”

McFarland Ousted from National Security Council

“K.T. McFarland has been asked to step down as deputy National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump after less than three months and will become U.S. ambassador to Singapore,” Bloomberg reports.

“The departure of the 65-year-old former Fox News commentator comes as Trump’s second National Security Advisor, Lt General H.R. McMaster, puts his own stamp on the National Security Council after taking over in February following the firing of Michael Flynn.”

McMaster Solidifies Control of National Security Council

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster “quietly slipped out of the White House grounds last week to seek the counsel of one of his aging predecessors, another three-star general who ran the National Security Council in a time of political turmoil and congressional probes,” Politico reports.

“McMaster’s session with 92-year-old Brent Scowcrof… was the clearest indication yet that McMaster, who took the reins of the NSC in February after his predecessor Mike Flynn was ousted, intends to radically depart from the approach taken by Flynn and President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who was removed from his seat on Wednesday.”

Washington Post: “McMaster has become a blunt force within the administration who has made clear to several top officials and the president that he does not want the NSC to have any political elements.”

Bannon Removed from National Security Council

President Trump “reorganized his National Security Council on Wednesday, removing his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, and downgrading the role of his Homeland Security Adviser, Tom Bossert, according to a person familiar with the decision and a regulatory filing,” Bloomberg reports.

“Under the move, the national intelligence director, Dan Coats, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, are again “regular attendees” of the NSC’s principals committee.”