The White House Nov. 10 announced that President Donald Trump has made a number of changes to key Pentagon jobs, including for Indian American Kash Patel.
Defense Secretary Mike Esper was fired by Trump on Twitter, and was replaced by Christopher Miller.
Miller’s chief of staff Jen Stewart has resigned and was replaced by Patel.
Patel, a Devin Nunes acolyte who played a key role as a Hill staffer in helping Republicans discredit the Russia probe, has had a number of roles in the Trump administration, according to his bio.
While working for Nunes, Patel helped produce a memo accusing the FBI and Department of Justice of bias against Trump.
He joined the National Security Council’s International Organizations and Alliances directorate in February 2019 and was promoted to a senior counterterrorism role at the NSC in mid-summer, it said.
He was then installed as a top adviser in the Office of National Intelligence under former acting DNI Richard Grenell, and most recently served at the White House as a deputy assistant to Trump and as the top White House counterterrorism official, the bio added.
Along with Patel, two other Trump loyalists have also been promoted to key positions, the Pentagon said.
Controversial retired brigadier general Anthony Tata has been made the policy chief, while Ezra Cohen-Watnick has been named acting undersecretary of defense for intelligence.
Trump had nominated Tata for the same job earlier this summer. But the nomination was withdrawn due to opposition from key senators.
AP adds from Washington: A day after President Donald Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, three staunch loyalists to the president were named to top defense jobs, including Joseph Kernan, a retired Navy vice admiral, who stepped down as undersecretary for intelligence. Kernan was replaced by Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who becomes acting undersecretary for intelligence.
The departures came on Christopher Miller's second day on the job as defense chief. Miller also brought in his own chief of staff, Kash Patel, to replace Jen Stewart, who had worked in that job for Esper. Patel and Cohen-Watnick are both considered staunchly loyal to Trump and previously worked at the National Security Council.
Patel was among the small group of aides who traveled with Trump extensively during the final stretch of the campaign. He also is a former prosecutor in the national security division of the Department of Justice and former staff member on the House Intelligence Committee. In that post, he was a top aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., leading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Patel was linked in media accounts to efforts to discredit the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. He moved to the National Security Council in February 2019, and earlier this year, he traveled to Syria for rare high-level talks aimed at securing the release of two Americans who have been missing for years, including journalist Austin Tice.