On Monday afternoon President Donald Trump amended the Saturday memo which established a National Security Council which originally did not list the CIA director as a “regular attendee” of NSC meetings (it did, however, elevate Steve Bannon to that position), and announced that the administration has decided to add the director of the CIA back to the National Security Council.
“The president has such respect for [CIA] Director [Mike] Pompeo and the men and women of the CIA that today the president is announcing that he will amend the memo to add the CIA back into the NSC,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Monday.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo
According to Politico, “the elevation could create friction between the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence”, which is the likely reason why Trump is proceeding with the power shift. The power grab among the US spy agencies started in 2005, when the DNI replaced the CIA director on the NSC after Congress created the Department of National Intelligence to oversee the entire intelligence apparatus.
The move is likely predicated by the ongoing fallout between Trump and the various US intel agencies, which some have suggested have been quietly engaged in a “soft coup” against the new president.
The CIA is considered the most powerful member of the intelligence community, and prior to the creation of the DNI, the CIA director coordinated the other agencies’ activities.
Obama’s CIA director and his DNI clashed early in his first term over participation in the meetings. It is unclear if Trump also plans on changing the overall org chart of US intel agencies as a result, and pushing the CIA back into its former leadership role.
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