Report: Biden’s Defense Secretary, National Security Team, Would Be Obama Alums

The White House press office shows President Obama addressing his national security advisors in the Situation Room of the White House on Saturday. PETE SOUZA/White House
PETE SOUZA/White House

Joe Biden’s confidants are privately discussing potential cabinet members in his White House, including a slate of Obama alums in what they are calling a “Return to Normal,” according to a report on “Axios on HBO.”

Former Secretary of State John Kerry — who oversaw the negotiating of the Iran nuclear deal — “would love to take a new Cabinet position devoted to climate change,” or could return as secretary of state, according to the report.

Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice — who pushed for the U.S. intervention in Libya in 2011 and who erroneously claimed the September 11, 2012, Benghazi attack was prompted by an anti-Islam video — “is another option for State,” it said.

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates — who was fired for refusing to implement President Trump’s 2017 travel ban and was involved in the FBI’s investigation of former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn — “would be a leading contender for attorney general.”

Former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon would be considered for CIA director, director of national intelligence, or secretary of state, the report said.

Former Deputy Secretary of State and former Deputy National Security Advisor Antony Blinken could go to State or become national security advisor, it said.

Former Undersecretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy “would be the favorite to run Biden’s Pentagon,” it said. Flournoy, founder and former CEO of the left-of-center think-tank Center for a New American Security, was expected to become Hillary Clinton’s defense secretary as well.

Flournoy is also the co-founder and managing director of WestExec Advisors, a D.C.-based consulting firm that employs a number of former Obama administration officials.

Flournoy is also a member of National Security Action, a group of Obama national security alums and Democrat national security experts working to oppose the Trump administration.

The potential picks are unnerving the anti-war left, who remember that the Obama administration backed Saudi Arabia’s War on Yemen, which the United Nations considers the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Biden also famously supported the 2003 War in Iraq, although he claims he only did so to get UN backing. He also oversaw the massive U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan in 2009, and had argued for U.S. troops to maintain a counterterrorism presence in in the country.

Axios’s report lists at least three other former Obama administration officials who could return to the White House.

 

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