White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon will no longer be a member of the National Security Council’s principals committee, according to three White House officials and federal register filings.
Two senior White House officials said Bannon’s departure was in no way a demotion and that he had rarely attended meetings since being placed on the council. They and others interviewed for this story asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.
Instead, one of the officials said, Bannon was put on the council early in the administration to guide and keep watch over then-national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was tasked with reshaping the operation. The official said Bannon did this from afar. The second official said that Bannon attended one meeting in the last month.
Bannon was there to “de-operationalize” the NSC from its Obama-era set-up, the official added, and he feels that has been accomplished with Flynn and his successor H.R. McMaster, and no longer feels the need to be part of the NSC.
“There was a concern when this administration came in that the national security council under the prior admin had grown too large and had taken on operational responsibilities that were not properly its role,” the second official said. Bannon was placed on the committee “to help return the NSC to its proper policy coordinating role.”
A third White House official not authorized to speak publicly confirmed Wednesday that Bannon is no longer part of the NSC and reiterated that Bannon was not taking an active role in the NSC since the inauguration.
In addition, according to the federal register, the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are being restored to the NSC’s principals committee, which was their role in the Obama administration. The director of the CIA has also been added to the principals committee.