Derek Harvey, a top Middle East adviser to President Donald Trump, has been fired from his position at the National Security Council, effective today. Harvey, a longtime intelligence professional with vast experience in the Middle East, was a key player in the Trump administration’s Iran policy review and its policy development in Syria, Iraq and other regional hotspots.
The dismissal of this leading policy adviser to the president comes amid intensifying speculation about a coming broad White House shakeup and open rhetorical warfare among the president and several top advisers. Two sources tell TWS that Harvey’s departure is not a direct result of the internecine staff fighting, but he was viewed by some top Trump aides as too close to Steve Bannon.
Harvey holds hawkish views on the threat from Iran and global jihadism, but he does not share Bannon’s non-interventionist views. Harvey was a strong, behind-the-scenes advocate of Trump’s decision to strike Syria in response to Bashar al Assad’s use of chemical weapons and he was driving a more aggressive approach to Iran than that of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Sources tell TWS that Mattis, in particular, had disagreements with Harvey and that he raised the issue with National Security Adviser HR McMaster. McMaster met with Harvey this morning to deliver the news.