The move comes just days before the expected 20 January handover of power from President Trump to President-elect Biden following a bitterly fought election in November which led angry Trump supporters to storm the Capitol on 6 January. That event led Trump to become the first president in US history to be impeached twice.
Acting Secretary of Defence Christopher Miller ordered the National Security Agency to install GOP operative and Trump loyalist Michael Ellis as the global surveillance agency’s top lawyer on Saturday, The Washington Post and CNN have reported, citing a total of seven sources said to be familiar with the situation.
Like Miller, who was himself recently appointed Pentagon chief by Trump shortly after the 3 November election to make progress on the president’s promises to pull troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, Ellis was named as NSA general counsel in November by Pentagon General Counsel Paul C. Ney Jr amid the shakeup of the US national security apparatus.
However, his appointment was reportedly held up by administrative roadblocks, including the need to take a polygraph test. According to the Post’s sources, Nakasone has been deliberately stonewalling Ellis’s appointment.
Ellis is a senior functionary of the Republican Party, and has served in multiple roles under Trump, including senior associate counsel to the president and deputy legal advisor to the National Security Council. He was…