Defense official leaves Pentagon politics in the hands of man who called Obama a “terrorist”


Acting Pentagon policy chief James Anderson became the second high-profile departure this week after Defense Secretary Mark Esper was sacked by Donald Trump on Monday.

Anthony Tata, whose appointment for the same Pentagon post collapsed over the summer, stepped into the role vacated by Mr Anderson when his tweets about the former president and Islamophobic posts came to light.

A defense official confirmed to Politico that Mr. Tata is now leading the organization.

Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, who took over the department on Monday, wrote in a note: “Effective immediately, and as long as the post of Assistant Deputy Secretary of Defense for Policy is vacant and there is no Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy, Mr. Anthony Tata, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense, is the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Policy and is responsible for exercising the functions of Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy.

Mr Anderson, appointed by the Bush administration, was expected to be asked to resign by the White House after the election, following disagreements with the personnel office and for pushing back the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

It was believed he could be the first of several departures following Mr Esper’s dismissal, and later on Tuesday two more were confirmed.

Chief of Staff Jen Stewart will be replaced by Kash Patel, a former staff member of Congressman Devin Nunes, a Trump loyalist. Vice Admiral Joseph Kernan, a former Navy SEAL who was Deputy Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, is also gone, according to the Fox News report.

Mr Anderson wrote in his resignation letter that he was grateful for having been entrusted with leading the policy and the key role it plays in the security of the country.

“Now, as always, our long-term success depends on upholding the US Constitution that all public servants swear to support and defend.

After Mr Tata’s nomination for the role was withdrawn in July, he was appointed as the official serving as Deputy Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, reporting to Mr Anderson.

In addition to tweets about former President Obama, CNN also uncovered messages in which Mr. Tata called Islam “the most oppressive violent religion I know” and attacked Democratic politicians.

Other tweets singled out former CIA Director John Brennan. One of them said: “Maybe the right time to pick your poison: firing squad, public hanging, life sentence as a prison slut, or just sucking your gun. Your call. #Treason #Sedition #crossfirehurricane #Obamagate. “

Senators on the committee overseeing Mr. Tata’s nomination reacted with horror, calling him “by far Trump’s most incompetent and least qualified lead defense candidate – a high bar.”

Mr. Tata has been placed in a new role with similar duties instead.

Now vice-president-elect, then senator, Kamala Harris said at the time: “Anthony Tata has no company to work in the Pentagon in any capacity. His vile Islamophobic comments are disqualifying, period. Our service members deserve better from their leadership.


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