Brennan's Role Formalized; Has Walk-In Privileges, No Longer His Own Staff
So far as breaking news goes, this ain't all that broken. But in government, structure often dictates function, which, in turn, heavily influences policy. Who reports directly to the president? Who reports to an assistant? Are staff in one bucket allowed to communicate with staff in another? Today, the Obama administration announced the consolidation of the Homeland Security staff and National Security Council staff at the White House, completing a process that began in the latter years of the Bush administration. A newly-named "national security staff" will serve the president as his principal staff coordinators for all homeland security, counterterorrism, transnational and international policy. The announcement today makes plain that Obama has come to value the services of his chief homeland security adviser, John Brennan, who has direct walk-in privileges. Obama writes that he will retain Brennan's position, which -- and this is important -- DOES NOT report to the national security adviser, but reports directly to the President. Brennan, "as my principal White House advisor on these issues, with direct and immediate access to me. The security of our homeland is of paramount importance to me, and I will not allow organizational impediments to stand in the way of timely action that ensures the safety of our citizens."