Trouble refuses to die down in the now month-old Donald Trump administration. After Michael Flynn was forced to quit over his ‘secret’ Russian links, Vice Admiral Robert Harward has now rejected the President’s offer to take office as the new National Security Adviser (NSA).
Media reports citing sources privy to the development said that Harward and the administration had a dispute over staffing the security council. Harward has demanded his own team and the White House resisted, they said.
Trump told Deputy National Security Adviser KT McFarland that she could retain her post, even after the ouster of Flynn. Harward refused to keep McFarland as his deputy, and after a day of negotiations over this and other staffing matters, Harward declined to serve as Flynn's replacement.
Harward, a 60-year-old former navy officer, served as deputy commander of US Central Command under now-Defence Secretary James Mattis.
He previously served as deputy commanding general for operations of Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
Harward has also commanded troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan for six years after the September 2001 attacks. Under former President George W. Bush, he served on the National Security Council as director of strategy and policy for the office of combating terrorism.
Flynn resigned from the post amid questions about his contacts with Russian officials.
Law enforcement sources confirmed earlier this week that Federal Bureau of Investigation agents had interviewed Flynn last month.
According to the Defence Intelligence Agency, Flynn's security clearance has been suspended as investigators look into his ties to Russian officials.