NSA installs Trump loyalist as top lawyer days before Biden takes office


At the Pentagon, Miller was angry that agency management had slowed down Mr. Ellis’ payout for months despite going through the standard hiring process and being selected for the job , said a senior US official. So Mr Miller ordered the agency to swear in Mr Ellis, a decision The Washington Post reported the Saturday.

In a statement, the Pentagon defended the hiring of Mr. Ellis, saying he was properly selected by the Defense Department’s attorney general. “To be clear, congressional or media interest in a particular hiring action is not a justification under the merit system principles and process for delaying the placement of a selected qualified person into a position. “, says the press release.

Mr. Ellis is considered a smart lawyer. But the push to install him in a permanent government post has left some perplexed. According to former officials, he is likely to enter the attorney general’s office with great suspicion and will have an uphill battle to win General Nakasone’s trust.

Mr Ellis will be a member of the Senior Executive Service, a civil service position with strong protections against dismissal. However, officials can be easily moved within the Department of Defense, so he could be given legal work elsewhere in the sprawling department – overseeing compliance with environmental regulations at a remote military base, for example.

While on the Intelligence Committee, Mr. Ellis was a trusted advisor to Rep. Devin Nunes, Republican of California. Mr. Ellis has held various positions in the Trump administration, including serving as an attorney for the National Security Council and then as senior intelligence director at the White House.

In the White House, Mr Ellis overturned a career official’s decision to allow Mr Bolton’s book to be published, even though he had no formal training in classifying national security information. The Justice Department, under pressure from President TrumpMr Bolton sued to recoup his profits from the book.

A judge overseeing the case made a ruling on Thursday that makes it very likely that Mr Bolton’s attorney, Charles J. Cooper, could question White House officials like Mr Ellis about whether the classification decisions have been made. taken in bad faith. If Mr. Ellis takes over as Advocate General, at least for a while, he may be able to delay this testimony.

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