Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Sunday called President Donald Trump's move to reorganize the national security council "stone cold crazy" on Twitter.
Trump added Steve Bannon, his chief strategist, to the principals committee on the NSC and downgraded the status of the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - both will only attend NSC Principals Committee meetings "where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed."
Former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Robert Gates called the order a "big mistake."
“Pushing them out of the National Security Council [principals] meetings except when their specific issues are at stake is a big mistake,” Gates, who served as Defense Secretary for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
“My biggest concern is there are actually, under the law, two statutory advisers to the National Security Council, and that's the director of [national] intelligence, or the DNI, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. They both bring a perspective and judgment and experience … that every president - whether they like it or not - finds useful.”
Gates said that he was not concerned about Bannon’s place at the meetings, explaining that adding people to National Security Council meetings “never really bothers me.”
However, Sen. John McCain told CBS’s Face The Nation that “The appointment of Mr. Bannon is something which a radical departure from any National Security Council in history.”
The Republican senator expressed concerned about the entire reorganization, regretting that “the role of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been diminished... One person who is indispensable would be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in my view.”
Rice said the DNI and Joint Chiefs were being "treated as after thoughts."
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