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Report: Former Fort Carson Col. McMaster talked Trump out of blocking Obama’s intel access

Author: Daniel Chatin, The Washington Examiner - August 21, 2018 - Updated: September 10, 2018

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This Jan. 25 photo shows then National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster during a meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. HarperCollins Publishers said, Wednesday, July 11, that McMaster’s upcoming book, “Battlegrounds,” is scheduled for release in 2020. The book will cover his 34-year military career and his year as national security adviser under President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Ex-national security adviser H.R. McMaster, formerly of Fort Carson, talked President Trump out of blocking former President Barack Obama’s access to intelligence briefings last year, according to a report Monday.

When McMaster was a colonel, he led a Fort Carson unit of more than 5,000 soldiers through one of the post’s successful deployments to Iraq.

Around March 2017, when Trump accused his predecessor, without evidence, of wiretapping Trump Tower, some of his associates in the White House were pushing their boss to pull the security clearances of Obama administration officials they saw as political rivals.

Some even suggested that Obama should lose access to intelligence briefings, an extreme move as all living ex-presidents can get them. But, the New Yorker reports, Trump was told of the importance of allowing former presidents to keep access to intelligence as they sometimes meet with foreign leaders, and with McMaster’s insistence, decided not to make a move against Obama.

Trump denied the report Tuesday morning, tweeting that he “[n]ever discussed or thought of” pulling Obama’s access to intelligence briefings.

The report is timely as last week Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA John Brennan and his administration has said it is reviewing the clearances possessed by other ex-officials who have criticized the president.

McMaster left his White House post earlier this year, replaced by former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton.

The New Yorker report says that while McMaster was national security adviser he signed a memo extending the clearances of former National Security Council members regardless of their political affiliation.

He has a book slated to come out in 2020 — “Battlegrounds” — that will in part chronicle his time in the White House.

Daniel Chatin, The Washington Examiner

Daniel Chatin, The Washington Examiner