Another item to be filed under “Terrifying”

[Part of me wants to turn my back, ignore the whole thing, maybe revert to being a literature nerd…but the rest of me feels the need to know the truth, if only for planning reasons. Stockpile? Find out the lethal dose of something? These questions don’t answer themselves.]

The White House is struggling to prevent a crippling exodus of foreign policy staffers eager to leave before the arrival of the Trump administration, according to current and former officials.

The top level officials in the National Security Council (NSC) are political appointees who have to submit resignations and leave in a normal transition. The rest of the 400 NSC staff are career civil servants on secondment from other departments. An unusual number of these more junior officials are now looking to depart.

The reasons are obvious. It’s not because it’s Republicans, it’s because it’s people who are programmatically opposed to expertise and knowledge and basic competence. It’s people who skip their security briefings. Not that the Guardian says that; I’m assuming it – but it’s not usual for civil servants to leave when an administration changes, so the explanation has to be something other than “wrong party.” The wild disregard for relevant expertise is the one that jumps out at me. In what part of government do you really not want wild-eyed amateurs in charge? National security.

Many are concerned by a proliferation of reports about the incoming national security adviser, Michael Flynn. On Wednesday the Washington Post reported that Flynn had improperly shared classified information with foreign military officers. On the same day, CNN reported that the former Defense Intelligence Agency chief had this week deleted a tweet he had sent out a few days before the election that linked to a fake news story suggesting Hillary Clinton took part in crimes against children.

Flynn fits the wild-eyed amateur pattern. He’s a military guy, not an intelligence expert, and he’s reckless as fuck. It’s amateurish to put him in that job and he’ll be an amateur in that job.

“Career people are looking get out and go back to their agencies and pressure is being put on them to get them to stay. There is concern there will be a half-empty NSC by the time the new administration arrives, which no one wants,” said one official.

The official added that the “landing team” sent to the NSC – Trump representatives who are supposed to prepare for the handover to Trump appointees – have been focused on issues of process and how the office functions, rather than issues of substance involving an explanation of current national security threats and the state of the world the new administration will inherit.

There it is again – they don’t know the subject and they don’t care that they don’t know the subject. They’re anti-knowledge pro-business hacks, and they don’t belong there.

The Trump transition team in New York did not respond to a request for comment. The current NSC spokesman, Ned Price, said in an email: “The administration has undertaken its national security transition planning with the utmost rigour and seriousness in order to effect the most seamless and responsible transition.”

Price added: “We have been working since this spring to assemble a broad variety of transition material focused on critical national security challenges as well as NSC organizational issues and the NSC-led interagency policy process. The NSC staff also is offering to the incoming team in-person briefings and discussions with current NSC leadership and staff, and is coordinating statutorily required interagency homeland security exercises that will include both incoming and outgoing national security leadership from departments and agencies, as well as senior career public servants who will provide continuity through the transition.”

You know who Trump’s Ned Price will be? Fox News commentator Monica Crowley.

Yes, really.

It is unclear how much contact there is between the embryonic policy teams in New York and the landing teams in Washington, however.

“Most of the folks I have talked to at the three agencies – DoD (Department of Defense), state and White House – claim they have little or no interaction with these teams to date,” Julianne Smith, a former deputy national security adviser to Vice-president Joe Biden, said.

“There are very important substantive handoffs that need to be occurring that are in fact not happening. That is creating added concern about the career civil servants who are in these agencies, wondering what they are in for.”

I think it’s pretty clear what they’re in for. They’re in for being bossed by a group of people who have no clue what they’re doing and don’t care that they have no clue.

Staffers at the State Department are apparently hoping for the best.

Reports from the state department suggest most of its staff are taking a wait-and-see approach to the prospect of having the ExxonMobil oil chief executive, Rex Tillerson, at the helm. On Thursday, most of the Democrats on the House foreign affairs committee wrote to the current secretary of state, John Kerry, offering his staff protection against a “witch-hunt” by the new administration against civil servants who worked on Obama policies Trump wants to reverse. The letter was sent after the energy department refused to hand over to the Trump transition team a list of names of staffers who had worked on climate change.

Drip drip drip, the poison enters and spreads.

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