Tuesday 25 July 2017

The three candidates to replace Michael Flynn as National Security adviser

Then U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn looks at U.S. President-elect Donald Trump as he talks with the media at Mar-a-Lago estate where Trump attends meetings, in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 21, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
Then U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn looks at U.S. President-elect Donald Trump as he talks with the media at Mar-a-Lago estate where Trump attends meetings, in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 21, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Jonathan Lemire

His administration has been dealt a significant blow after less than a month in office, and President Donald Trump must now fill a vital post after the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Mr Flynn stepped down late on Monday, ending days of speculation about his fate following reports that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia.

Mr Trump named Keith Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general, as the acting national security adviser and a senior administration official said he was one of three candidates the president was considering to replace Mr Flynn on a permanent basis.

Here are the top named contenders for the post, which does not require Senate confirmation:

Keith Kellogg

He had previously been appointed the National Security Council chief of staff and, along with Mr Flynn, advised Mr Trump on national security and foreign policy issues during the campaign. He had been considered for national security adviser before the post went to Mr Flynn.

He was chief operating officer of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, the interim governing body following the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. He was previously executive vice president of research and technology for Virginia-based information technology firm CACI International, which works as a contractor for defence, intelligence and homeland security agencies.

David Petreaus

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Ex-CIA chief Gen David Petraeus has testified on Capitol Hill about the attack on the US consulate in Libya (AP)

The most audacious choice would be former CIA director David Petreaus. The retired four star general was forced from his position at the intelligence agency in 2012 after he it was revealed that he passed on classified information to his biographer, who had also become his mistress.

But Mr Trump during the election campaign spoke sympathetically about Mr Petreaus' plight despite his frequent criticisms of his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified materials. Mr Petreaus was briefly under consideration to become secretary of state before Mr Trump picked Exxon chief executive Rex Tillerson.

Robert Harward

Robert Harward, a Navy Seal, served as deputy commander of the United States Central Command when it was under the command of General James Mattis, who is now defence secretary. The retired vice admiral served on the National Security Council for President George W Bush and commissioned the National Counter Terrorism Centre.

In 2013 when he retired after a nearly 40-year career in the Navy, he took a post as a chief executive officer for defence and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin in the United Arab Emirates. Mr Trump has recently been in very public negotiations with Lockheed over the cost of its F-35 fighter jet programme.

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