McMaster Finally Finds Replacement After Purging Ezra Cohen-Watnick From NSC

Jonah Bennett | Contributor

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has finally found a replacement for the position on the National Security Council charged with overseeing the intelligence community after purging Ezra Cohen-Watnick in August.

McMaster has appointed Mike Barry to the position of special assistant to the president for intelligence programs, two sources with knowledge of the hire told Axios. CIA Director Mike Pompeo recommended Barry to McMaster for the role. Barry formerly served in the Air Force, according to Axios. McMaster and Barry reportedly bonded after meeting “because they’d worked in similar environments,” a source told Axios.

Barry is filling the position left vacant after Cohen-Watnick, originally appointed by retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, was removed in early August. McMaster had attempted to purge Cohen-Watnick earlier in March after CIA analysts kicked up a fuss, but was blocked by then-White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Donald Trump.

McMaster, however, was eventually successful and also removed others appointed by Flynn, who were perceived to be Trump loyalists, such as Derek Harvey and Rich Higgins. At the time of the purges, former NSC officials told The Daily Caller News Foundation that they felt McMaster was bent on subverting Trump’s foreign policy prescriptions and substituting in his own agenda.

Barry’s job is to make sure the policy of the intelligence community line up with the priorities of Trump.

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