‘Poisonous Atmosphere’ Grips McMaster’s National Security Council As Accusations Fly
The Daily Caller ^ | 08/09/17 | Richard Pollock
Posted on 8/9/2017, 9:42:17 AM by Enlightened1
Finger-pointing erupted within the National Security Council following a major leak to The Washington Post of telephone transcripts between President Donald Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Australia, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned. And as the U.S inches closer to war with North Korea, the White House body charged with discussing and coordinating U.S. foreign policy is engulfed in what one administration official called a “poisonous environment.”
Initial leak accusations from two White House officials focused on Megan Badasch, the National Security Council (NSC) deputy executive secretary, who manages the NSC’s document portal. The portal included transcripts of his discussions, which makes her one of three people with access to the leaked documents. But three others within the White House say Badasch had nothing to do with the leaks, and the finger-pointing is a reflection of growing divisions within the NSC under Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.
Three current administration officials interviewed by TheDCNF blame the volatile McMaster for the atmosphere and for a growing demoralization among the staff. One official characterized the NSC under his leadership as a “poisonous environment.”
McMaster was thrust into the NSC with little vetting as White House officials rushed to fill the void created when Gen. Michael T. Flynn resigned from the adviser position Feb. 13. Flynn was shown the door after presidential aides discovered he had not fully disclosed to Vice President Mike Pence all of his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.
Among the issues the NSC is grappling with are Russia’s expulsion of hundreds of U.S. Embassy personnel, Venezuela’s descent into totalitarianism, North Korea’s defiant missile tests and erratic strong man, and continued concerns about Iran’s expansionism throughout the Middle East.