Bannon Removed From National Security Council

President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon, has been removed from his permanent seat at the National Security Council.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, contended that Bannon was placed on the committee in part to monitor Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and never attended a meeting.

In January, Trump put Bannon on the NSC principals committee triggering criticism that the president was attempting to politicize the council.

Trump administration officials reportedly wanted to shrink the NSC's size after its time under Susan Rice, a former national security adviser for President Obama.

The shifting roles also restored the Joint Chiefs chairman and intelligence directors roles as "regular attendees" of the principals committee on the NSC.

The memo makes changes to the Principals Committee by removing the Chief Strategist as a regular attendee and elevating the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence to regular attendee status. Prior to joining the Trump team, he helmed a far-right nationalist website that has been a fountainhead of the alt-right movement.

While Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News later that day that the move wasn't a demotion for Bannon, it would appear he didn't feel the same way.

The shift was orchestrated by Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Trump's new national security adviser who some saw as at odds with Bannon and his ideas.

"General McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function", Bannon said.

The reorganization also downgraded Homeland Security adviser Thomas Bossert's role.

Bannon, the source said, will still be allowed to "attend any meeting" where his expertise is needed, a more traditional structure for the National Security Council.

Bannon's seat on the NSC's "principals' committee", a group that includes the secretaries of state, defense and other ranking aides, was taken by Rick Perry, who as energy secretary is charged with overseeing the USA nuclear weapons arsenal. Officials have said McMaster struggled to work with Bannon.

By law, the president, vice president, secretary of state, defense secretary - and, since 2007, the energy secretary - are members.

Meanwhile, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), called Bannon's departure a "positive step by General McMaster to gain control over a body that has been politicised by Bannon's involvement".

  • Carolyn Briggs