I have had this article thrown in my face too many times… and with a YUGE thanks to ACE OF SPADES for this. Here is the typical Facebook link to the Washington Post article (which is behind a paywall):
To say this article is a fav of Dems and #NeverTrumpers is an understatement. Here is an archived (not behind a pay wall) Washington Post opinion piece by a named source — the author of the piece.
Tim Morrison is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and former senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense on the National Security Council.
President Trump gets his share of criticism — some warranted, much not. But recently the president’s critics have chosen curious ground to question his response to the coronavirus outbreak since it began spreading from Wuhan, China, in December.
It has been alleged by multiple officials of the Obama administration, including in The Post, that the president and his then-national security adviser, John Bolton, “dissolved the office” at the White House in charge of pandemic preparedness. Because I led the very directorate assigned that mission, the counterproliferation and biodefense office, for a year and then handed it off to another official who still holds the post, I know the charge is specious.
Now, I’m not naive. This is Washington. It’s an election year. Officials out of power want back into power after November. But the middle of a worldwide health emergency is not the time to be making tendentious accusations.
It is true that the Trump administration has seen fit to shrink the NSC staff. But the bloat that occurred under the previous administration clearly needed a correction. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, congressional oversight committees and members of the Obama administration itself all agreed the NSC was too large and too operationally focused (a departure from its traditional role coordinating executive branch activity). As The Post reported in 2015, from the Clinton administration to the Obama administration’s second term, the NSC’s staff “had quadrupled in size, to nearly 400 people.” That is why Trump began streamlining the NSC staff in 2017.
He notes that Trump did shrink the NSC — because Obama had bloated it from 100 persons to 400 in just a few years.
But the NSC retained its epidemic personnel — just merged with biodefense and counterprolifereation.
Here is that portion (plus some):
One such move at the NSC was to create the counterproliferation and biodefense directorate, which was the result of consolidating three directorates into one, given the obvious overlap between arms control and nonproliferation, weapons of mass destruction terrorism, and global health and biodefense. It is this reorganization that critics have misconstrued or intentionally misrepresented. If anything, the combined directorate was stronger because related expertise could be commingled.
The reduction of force in the NSC has continued since I departed the White House. But it has left the biodefense staff unaffected — perhaps a recognition of the importance of that mission to the president, who, after all, in 2018 issued a presidential memorandum to finally create real accountability in the federal government’s expansive biodefense system…..
Now ACE switches gears to note who is reTweeting the story:
So you can see how the media eagerly misleads the public — yes, an “office” was dissolved. But most of the personnel making up that office were retained, and added to a new, merged office.
So they say “the office” was dissolved and intend you to take that to mean that the epidemic unit was disbanded.
That’s a lie, but that’s what they want you to believe.
They are the enemy of the people and a reckoning is coming.
Via Tami, John Bolton is now tweeting out the article quoted above: