DOD Denies Obama Holdovers Stripped Trump NSC Advisor of Security Clearance for Partisan, Political Reasons
MAY 30, 2017
It appears that a respected veteran national security analyst tapped by the White House to work on the National Security Council (NSC) was abruptly stripped of his top-secret clearance for partisan political purposes. His name is Adam Lovinger, a 12-year strategic affairs analyst at the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA) and in January then National Security Adviser Michael Flynn brought him over to the NSC, the influential chamber that advises and assists the president on national security and foreign policies. This month Lovinger was notified by the Pentagon that his Top-Secret, Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS-SCI) clearance was suspended for “unspecified outside activities.”
Various news reports say Lovinger was targeted by Obama Pentagon appointees because of his tough stance on Islamic militants, China and Iran as well as the Obama appointees’ anti-Trump sentiments. One Washington D.C. newspaper reported that Lovinger’s clearance was suspended after he wrote several memos criticizing his former boss, ONA Director James Baker. The ONA functions as an independent organization within the Department of Defense (DOD) and is tasked with identifying emerging or future threats to the United States. It compiles highly classified reports and apparently Lovinger felt that, under Baker’s leadership, the ONA was failing to address the threats created by Iran, radical Islam and China. Baker was appointed ONA director in 2015 by Obama Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Before taking over the ONA Baker worked at the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Lovinger’s clearance dispute involves a bureaucratic turf battle and an effort by anti-Trump officials in the national security sector to neutralize Trump aides, the capitol-area article says. An international news outlet wrote that “Lovinger’s abrupt loss of clearance and apparent exile have had some observers questioning if seasoned national security experts with otherwise strong credentials are being sacrificed in an escalating struggle involving anti- and pro-Trump forces in Washington’s fractious national security bureaucracy.” Lovinger, who has a law degree, is an expert on South Asia, the Persian Gulf and sub-Saharan Africa. He also worked as a Pentagon general counsel focusing on reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan and is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and McDonough School of Business.
Judicial Watch is investigating Lovinger’s case and has reached out to the Pentagon, which is trying to keep it under wraps by asserting it’s a “personnel matter” that must be kept private. Lovinger is working to get his security clearance reinstated, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter. Judicial Watch contacted the DOD official, Mike Rhodes, who oversees the Consolidated Adjudication Facility reviewing Lovinger’s case but Rhodes referred questions to the Pentagon’s Department of Public Affairs. Rhodes official title is Director of Management and Administration at the Pentagon, a position he’s held since 2010. The official comment from the DOD came via electronic mail from U.S. Army Major Jamie Davis, whose title is Defense Department Spokesman. “This is a personnel matter that we do not discuss,” Major Davis wrote to Judicial Watch. “However, I can confirm that the political accusation is absolutely false.”
This leaves the motive for Lovinger getting his clearance abruptly revoked shrouded in mystery. While Lovinger fights to reinstate his security clearance here’s how the Pentagon is using his exceptional skills set; sources tell Judicial Watch that the highly regarded national security analyst has been shipped off to an office in Alexandria, Virginia to work as a file clerk.
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