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In Resignation Letter, Top Trump Middle East Adviser Claims New Admin Role

Derek Harvey
Derek Harvey / Getty Images
• July 27, 2017 3:43 pm

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Derek Harvey, a senior national security figure in the Trump administration, announced that he is leaving his post following reports of his ouster from the White House's National Security Council.

Harvey, who was originally appointed by ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, had pushed for the administration to hold an aggressive line against Iran. Sources pinpointed this as a point of conflict with current NSA H.R. McMaster, who is reported to have backed Harvey's removal from the NSC.

Harvey informed colleagues in an email that he will "continue serving" President Donald Trump "in an important capacity," though he did not immediately provide specifics, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Harvey's ouster is fueling ongoing concerns that the White House's NSC is in conflict over a range of key issues, including Iran, where remaining allies of Flynn continue to advocate for a hardline that includes ending the landmark nuclear deal. These tensions resurfaced last week when a faction of NSC officials urged Trump to refrain from certifying Iran as in compliance with the nuclear deal, which he ultimately did.

"I will be leaving the National Security Council today to take advantage of a new opportunity to continue serving our President and the United States of America in an important capacity," Harvey wrote in his letter to colleagues.

"Since January, I have had the special honor to serve as the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Middle East Affairs in the National Security Council," Harvey wrote. "This has been work of vital importance to our country, and my departure comes with mixed emotions.  In addition to the criticality of the mission, the people I have worked with in the NSC and the White House make this a tough decision."

Harvey praised McMaster and said he looks forward to working with him in the future.

"I have known LTG H.R. McMaster for many years, and H.R. and I have worked closely together to tackle some of our nation's most difficult challenges," Harvey wrote. "I value our friendship and deeply respect his visionary leadership. "I look forward to working with H.R. in my future capacity."

"I have also appreciated the chance to work with the superb, selfless professionals on our team at the NSC, an amazing group of American patriots who have been instrumental in supporting the President, integrating U.S. policies toward the Middle East, and developing a series of strategies to protect and advance American interests in the region," he continued.

Harvey also offered praise to top Trump advisers Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon.

"I treasure having had the opportunity to support committed and visionary leaders such as Mrs. K.T. McFarland, Mr. Jared Kushner, and Mr. Steve Bannon, and consummate professionals like Mr. Jason Greenblatt and Ms. Dina Powell," he wrote.

"I am especially grateful for the Middle East Directorate and those on the NSC with whom we have worked so closely and with such great effect," the letter continues. "I remain humbled by their dedication, commitment, and patriotism and wish them all the very best as they face the challenges ahead."

"Most importantly," Harvey concludes, "I am excited about the opportunities to advance American interests in the Middle East under President Trump's leadership, and I look forward to shouldering greater responsibilities in support of the President."

Published under: Trump Administration