Former Pentagon officials are expressing alarm over President Trump’s firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the purge of other top officials at the Pentagon and National Security Agency following the election. Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen said Trump’s conduct is “more akin to a dictatorship than a democracy.”
Trump has replaced Esper with former Special Forces officer Chris Miller, the head of the National Counterterrorism Center. Miller has faced criticism for refusing to promise that intelligence agencies wouldn’t target Americans based on their political views.
Miller has hired retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor as a top adviser. Macgregor has called for instituting martial law at the U.S.-Mexico border and shooting unarmed migrants. He has also called for a speedy withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Trump has also installed Anthony Tata as acting undersecretary of defense for policy. Tata is a former Fox News commentator who once called former President Obama “a terrorist leader” and has called Islam an “oppressive” and “violent” religion.
Former National Security Council official Ezra Cohen-Watnick has become acting undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security. In 2017, he pushed for the surveillance of White House staffers as a means to prevent leaks. He also advocated using covert action to overthrow the Iranian government.
Retired Four-Star General Barry McCaffrey warned, “We are watching a slow moving Trump coup to defy the Biden election.”