Potential Coup Leaders in Pentagon Replaced by Individuals Involved in Discrediting Russiagate
Nov. 11, 2020 (EIRNS)—A tornado of resignations hit the Pentagon yesterday in the wake of President Donald Trump’s firing of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Nov. 9. For the most part, those who resigned were replaced by individuals with known loyalties to the president and participation in efforts to expose “Russiagate” as a coup attempt by U.S. and British intelligence.
According to a Pentagon statement, issued late yesterday, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. James Anderson, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Joseph Kernan, and Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense Jen Stewart all submitted letters of resignation. Christopher Miller, the new acting secretary of defense, delegated those responsibilities to Anthony Tata (in place of Anderson), Ezra Cohen-Watnick (in place of Kernan) and Kash Patel (in place of Stewart).
In 2017, Cohen-Watnick was on the National Security Council as a director for intelligence until he was fired by then-National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster in August of that year. He was originally brought in by Michael Flynn during his very brief tenure as National Security Advisor, and was seen as a hardliner on Iran and intensely loyal to Trump. He was also involved with Rep. Devin Nunes on the exposure of Susan Rice’s role in the unmasking of Flynn. Until yesterday, Cohen-Watnik had been Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operation and Low-Intensity Conflict.
Tata, a retired Army brigadier general, had been nominated for the position of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy last summer, but the White House withdrew his nomination after his confirmation hearing was canceled by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) after Tata caught flack for his reported anti-Muslim views, and reports he called Obama a “terrorist.”
Until yesterday, Patel was a senior official on the National Security Council and was working on deals to release Americans detained in other countries. He was involved in the deal in mid-October that saw the release of two Americans and the body of a third from Yemen in exchange for 240 Houthis whom the Saudis had refused to allow to return from Oman, where they had gone for medical treatment. Patel also reportedly visited Damascus in August seeking the release of two Americans thought to be detained there. Patel was also described by Politico as “a Devin Nunes acolyte who played a key role as a Hill staffer in helping Republicans discredit the Russia probe.”
As for Acting Secretary of Defense Miller, he’s being described by those who have known him as a “standout leader who has, at every level of his career, kept perspective on the national impacts of his work and overarching defense strategy,” Military.com reported yesterday. Miller was among the first contingent of Army special forces troops to go into Afghanistan in 2001 and has been credited with keeping that mission together after an errant bomb from a B-52 killed 3 Americans and 10 Afghans.
Miller retired from the Army in 2014 with degrees from the Army War College and other post-graduate schools, and joined the NSC in 2018 where, according to the Military.com report, he had opportunities to build personal rapport with Trump, perhaps leading to his positioning, in the President’s mind, as the right person to replace Esper.