- Trump’s acting defense secretary has asked the head of the National Security Agency to install a Trump loyalist as the agency’s lead lawyer by 6 p.m. Saturday.
- NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone did not honor Christopher Miller’s request by the deadline.
- Nakasone was not in favor of Ellis’ selection and is working to delay his placement.
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Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller has asked the head of the National Security Agency to install a Trump loyalist as the agency’s senior lawyer, the Washington Post reported.
Miller ordered that Michael Ellis be appointed general counsel by 6 p.m. Saturday, but NSA director Gen. Paul Nakasone failed to follow through on the order by the deadline, according to CNN.
The Post reported that Ellis was selected for the job in November by Pentagon attorney general Paul C. Ney Jr., but he still hasn’t taken the job and must complete paperwork.
His selection came shortly after Biden was screened to win the presidential election. At around the same time, nearly a dozen senior government officials were fired, forced to resign or resigned in protest, including a political purge in the Defense Department by President Donald Trump.
Several sources told the Post that Nakasone was not in favor of Ellis being selected for the role and wanted to delay his placement.
The post of general counsel at the NSA is not a political one but a civil servant role, which means that it would be more difficult for the new Biden administration to fire him.
Sources told the Post that Nakasone and others fear the Trump administration is attempting to place political staff in a civilian role, which could violate long-standing policy.
National security legal experts have criticized efforts to install Ellis in the role just days before Trump left office.
In November, when Ellis’ appointment was first announced, Susan Hennessey, a former NSA lawyer, said “this appears to be an attempt to falsely politicize an important career post.”
On Saturday, Hennessy said if Ellis was installed, Biden would have to remove him on his inauguration day.
“At this point, no one should extend this selection process for the benefit of the doubt. By all indications, Administrator Trump is breaking public service rules and politicizing an apolitical role. If Ellis is installed tonight, Biden should be. revoke the first day, “she said in a Tweeter.