national security

Holding up papers with highlighted text, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said little has changed as it relates to the National Security Council between the Trump, Obama and Bush administrations.

He thundered of "identical language" between (parts of the) 2017 and 2009 memos organizing the NSC. And he went further when it came to George W. Bush's administration.

President Trump has reorganized the National Security Council by elevating his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and demoting the director of National Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Bannon will join the NSC's principals committee, the top interagency group for discussing national security. The National Security Council is the staff inside the White House that coordinates decision-making by the president on such matters, in coordination with outside departments including the State Department and the Pentagon.

For President Trump, the easy part is over.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump slammed the U.S. national security and foreign policy establishment as run by people who were "so dumb," "predictable" and played for "a bunch of suckers."

Now he owns it.

Trump's inauguration makes him responsible for responding to hot spots and crises around the world — challenges that scale from the risk of an individual terrorist attacking inside the U.S. to the danger of a nuclear standoff with Russia.

Updated at 9:10 a.m. ET

For more than 50 years, it's been a tradition at the White House — a concise daily intelligence briefing, presented to the president and a small group of top officials.

It is also tradition for the winner of the presidential election to start receiving the same briefing during his transition, as a way to start preparing for the world he will face once he moves into the Oval Office.

But Donald Trump, who defied all conventions of campaigning for the White House, is doing the same when it comes to the President's Daily Brief.

The response of China's state-controlled media to Donald Trump's victory seemed almost gleeful. Xinhua wrote that the 2016 presidential election "sent a clear signal that the U.S. political system is faltering," and regular CCTV guest Zhang Shaozhang gushed "Trump wins, as expected!" on his Weibo page.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, many beloved public spaces were abruptly closed or had their access severely restricted. At the time, the public generally resigned itself to the new restrictions as a necessary evil in a time of war.

Fifteen years later, the public has stopped noticing. In some cases, such as scenic overlooks at certain dams, the government spent millions on new roads and bridges to allow the public access from less risky positions. But in other places, the restrictions remain, and it's the public space itself that has faded from view.

Success on the battlefield against the Islamic State won't translate into an immediate reduction in the threat from attacks in the West, the top U.S. counterterrorism leader told NPR.

Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said the tactical gains the U.S. military and its partners are making in Iraq and Syria are a "necessary" part of quashing the danger it poses — but not "sufficient."

"We do need that success — but there'll be a lag in the benefits we accrue," he said.

Rethinking Lone Wolf Terrorism

Jul 15, 2016

The man who drove a truck through packed crowds celebrating Bastille Day, killing more than 80, may have acted alone, according to the early reports. We don't know if he was inspired by a jihadist ideology or linked to any specific group. In any event, these extremist groups are increasingly embracing a "lone wolf" approach, and the West should prepare for more such attacks.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Apple should comply with the FBI's request to extract data from an iPhone as part of a terrorism case, Microsoft founder Bill Gates says, staking out a position that's markedly different from many of his peers in the tech industry, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The two titans aired their views on what's become a public debate over whether Apple should be compelled to unlock an iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.

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