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Top Middle East adviser on National Security Council fired

By Danielle Haynes
Top Middle East adviser on National Security Council fired
Retired Army Col. Derek Harvey said he has a new opportunity to work for the Trump administration after he was fired from the National Security Council. File Photo by Gunnery Sgt. Nathaniel Garcia/Department of Defense

July 27 (UPI) -- National security adviser H.R. McMaster fired retired Army Col. Derek Harvey from his role on the National Security Council, a spokesman said Thursday.

Harvey was appointed to the council by former national security adviser Michael Flynn to provide intelligence analysis on the Middle East. President Donald Trump fired Flynn in February after the former general failed to disclose the nature of a meeting he had with the Russian ambassador to Vice President Mike Pence.

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A senior White House aide told Politico that "McMaster wants his own guy" in the position.

"General McMaster greatly appreciates Derek Harvey's service to his country as a career Army officer, where he served his country bravely in the field and played a crucial role in the successful surge in Iraq, and also for his service on Capitol Hill and in the Trump administration," spokesman Michael Anton said in a statement to NBC News. "The administration is working with Colonel Harvey to identify positions in which his background and expertise can be best utilized."

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Since taking over for Flynn in February, McMaster has fired a number of staffers at the NSC, including former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland.

Harvey issued a statement saying he looks forwarded to taking on more responsibilities to aide Trump.

"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," he said, though didn't specify what the new opportunity is.

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Prior to working for the NSC, Harvey was the first director of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Center of Excellence at U.S. Central Command. He also was a member of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

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