(Free Market Shooter) Shortly after President Trump took office, and before Rex Tillerson was even confirmed as Secretary of State, a slew of State Department officials were removed from their positions (or were forced to resign) as part of an effort to “clean house” at the State Department. The whole affair was haphazardly covered by the media, especially by Jeff Bezos’s blog, which insinuated that the departures were “an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.”
Further analysis revealed that the officials were actually removed from their positions shortly after Tillerson visited the State Department office in Foggy Bottom prior to his confirmation:
“Any implication that that these four people quit is wrong,” one senior State Department official said. “These people are loyal to the secretary, the President and to the State Department. There is just not any attempt here to dis the President. People are not quitting and running away in disgust. This is the White House cleaning house.”
And, just a few weeks after the fact, it appears we know why Tillerson was so quick to purge existing staffers: he just didn’t trust them. It also appears his mistrust was more than justified.
On January 29th, United States Special Forces executed an operation inside Yemen, against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), with the aim of gathering intelligence and killing leaders of the group. The raid was planned under the Obama administration, but the decision to execute the raid was “punted” to Trump, using the pretext of waiting for a “low loom” (moonless) night to execute the raid with maximum secrecy:
“Obama … believed this represented a significant escalation of U.S. involvement in Yemen, and therefore … thought the next administration should take a careful look and run a careful process,” he told the WSJ.
In addition, defense officials expected the Trump administration to be more willing to approve dangerous missions, something that was almost certainly known by any remaining personnel who stayed on after Obama left office…