NSC Aide Reveals Political Warfare Operation Targeting Trump
By Bill Gertz
August 11, 2017
A White House National Security Council official has
charged that leftist opponents of President Trump are engaged in political
warfare operations designed to subvert his presidency and drive him from office.
Rich Higgins, until recently director of strategic planning
at the NSC, revealed the program in a seven-page memorandum produced in May that
warns of a concerted information warfare campaign by the Marxist left,
Islamists, and political leaders and government officials opposed to the
"The Trump administration is suffering under withering
information campaigns designed to first undermine, then delegitimize and
ultimately remove the president," Higgins states.
"This is not politics as usual but rather political
warfare at an unprecedented level that is openly engaged in the direct targeting
of a seated president through manipulation of the news cycle," he said.
Higgins, an Army veteran and former Pentagon official who
specialized in irregular warfare and who was dismissed last month for writing
the memo, said the attacks should not be confused with normal partisan political
attacks or adversarial media attention.
The former aide criticized the White House for failing to
counter the activities and said the political warfare attacks threaten the Trump
"The White House response to these campaigns reflects
a political advocacy mindset that it is intensely reactive, severely
under-inclusive and dangerously inadequate to the threat," he said.
"If action is not taken to re-scope and respond to these hostile campaigns
very soon, the administration risks implosion and subsequent early departure
from the White House."
Higgins was fired by Deputy National Security Adviser Ricky
Waddell July 21 after the memo came to Waddell's attention as part of an
internal search for leaks from the staff.
Higgins's firing, along with that of two other NSC
conservatives, Derek Harvey and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, has set off political
infighting and charges from conservatives that National Security Adviser Lt.
Gen. H.R. McMaster is opposing Trump's populist policies in favor of maintaining
the policies of the former Obama administration.
Harvey, a retired Army colonel, recently complained to
McMaster about the large number of officials who were kept on at the NSC from
the Obama administration. He was told by McMaster that he has a "leadership
problem," according to people close to the matter.
Cohen-Watnick was senior director for intelligence programs
at the NSC and ran afoul of McMaster because of his conservative views.
A White House official said McMaster appears to be trying
to clear out anyone from the NSC staff who is outspokenly pro-Trump and has been
slow-rolling the president's directives that he disagrees with.
According to White House sources, Trump is said to be
unhappy with McMaster and has considered dispatching him to Afghanistan.
A possible replacement is said to be CIA director Mike
Pompeo, who is regarded as more of a Trump loyalist.
An NSC spokesman declined to comment.
Foreign Policy first published the
memo on Thursday and quoted sources as saying Trump read it and "gushed
Higgins urged in the memo that immediate action be taken to
counter what he described as a campaign of subversion reflecting "cultural
Marxist" narratives used by political leftists who are aligned with
"In candidate Trump, the opposition saw a threat to
the ‘politically correct' enforcement narratives they've meticulously laid in
over the past few decades," Higgins said. "In President Trump, they
see a latent threat to continue that effort to ruinous effect and their
retaliatory response reflects this fear."
During the presidential campaign, Trump was able to break
through the leftist narratives and as a result the political left regards him as
"an existential threat to cultural Marxist memes that dominate the
prevailing cultural narrative."
"For this cabal, Trump must be destroyed," he
said. "Far from politics as usual, this is a political warfare effort that
seeks the destruction of a sitting president. Since Trump took office, the
situation has intensified to crisis level proportions."
The opponents also include officials within the permanent
government apparatus, also called the Deep State.
Other opponents are supporting the Marxist subversion,
including those within government, along with "globalists, bankers,
Islamists, and establishment Republicans."
"Globalists and lslamists recognize that for their
visions to succeed, America, both as an ideal and as a national and political
identity, must be destroyed," Higgins said.
The political warfare campaign seeks to exploit differences
in society based on sexism, racism and xenophobia narratives. The program is
implemented by mainstream media, and the academic community is the main driver
promoting the imposition of cultural Marxism and derivatives of it.
Islamists, supporters of political Islam in the United
States, also are working with leftists who they regard as having the best chance
of reducing Western civilization to the benefit of Islamic supremacists. The
Islamists are seeking to divide American society against itself as a way of
"This is the intended outcome of hostile information
cum political warfare campaigns and today we see their effects on American
society," he said.
Higgins also said a complicating factor in the political
warfare program is that "many close to the president have pushed him off
his message when he was candidate Trump thus alienating him from his base
thereby isolating him in the process."
The political warfare follows the insurgency methods used
by Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong. "In Maoist insurgencies, the
formation of a counter-state is essential to seizing state power," he said.
"Political warfare operates as one of the activities of the
‘counter-state' and is primarily focused on the resourcing and mobilization of
the counter state or the exhaustion and demobilization of the targeted political
In the Marxist strategy and tactics, political correctness
is being used to foster intolerance of political movements of the right and
toleration of leftist movements.
The attack narratives being used are pervasive and can be
seen in social media, television, and the 24-hour news cycle in all media, as
well as within the foreign policy establishment. "They inform the
entertainment industry from late night monologues, to situation comedies, to
television series memes, to movie themes," Higgins said. "The effort
required to direct this capacity at President Trump is little more than a
programming decision to do so. The cultural Marxist narrative is fully deployed,
pervasive, full spectrum and ongoing."
Information attacks against the president are carried out
through overt publicity and covert propaganda and infiltration and subversion
The current campaign against Trump is seeking to
delegitimize the president, his administration, and the vision of America he
promoted as a candidate.
Key major opposition themes are that Trump is illegitimate,
corrupt, and dishonest. Secondary political attacks include the notion that
Russia hacked the election, Trump obstructed justice and is hiding Russian
collusion, and that he is a "puppet" of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
"Adversaries utilize these interlocking narratives as
a defensive political and information warfare screen that silences critics and
smears supporters of President Trump," Higgins said.
"When people in the media question the behavior,
actions and decisions of the Trump administration's opponents, they are
immediately said to be ‘working for the Russians' or ‘supporting Russian
Additionally Americans who support the president are deemed
"deplorable" and "racist."
"Attacks on President Trump are not just about
destroying him, but also about destroying the vision of America that lead [sic]
to his election," Higgins said.
Higgins concluded the memo by noting that defending the
president is a defense of the United States. "In the same way President
Lincoln was surrounded by political opposition both inside and outside of his
wire, in both overt and covert forms, so too is President Trump.
"Had Lincoln failed, so too would have the Republic.
The administration has been maneuvered into a constant backpedal by relentless
political warfare attacks structured to force him to assume a reactive posture
that assures inadequate responses. The president can either drive or be driven
by events; it's time for him to drive them."