Top Bolton aide to leave National Security Council

Top Bolton aide to leave National Security Council
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A top aide to national security adviser John Bolton is leaving the White House after roughly five months on the job. 

Fred Fleitz will rejoin the Center for Security Policy next month. He worked at the far-right think tank in Washington before Bolton brought him on at the National Security Council (NSC) as chief of staff in late May. 

“Fred Fleitz is a longtime friend and advisor. He’s been a valuable member of the National Security Council team,” Bolton said in a statement to The Hill. “I wish him the best with his next endeavor.” 

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The development was first reported by CNN.

Critics have charged the Center for Security Policy with using anti-Muslim rhetoric and promoting conspiracy theories. Fleitz served as the think tank’s senior vice president for policy and programs for four years before joining the NSC. 

In a statement Monday, the Center for Security Policy said Fleitz would be returning on Nov. 1 as a spokesman for the organization and would eventually succeed its founder, Frank Gaffney, as president and CEO in January. 

“I’m thrilled that he agreed to my request to wrap up as swiftly as possible his latest stint of public service in the Trump White House, and succeed me as President of the Center for Security Policy,” Gaffney said in a statement.

“We look forward – as I am sure will President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time MORE and Ambassador Bolton – to Fred’s renewed contributions outside of government in support of their efforts to make America safe again,” Gaffney said. 

Fleitz is a former CIA analyst who also worked under Bolton at the State Department during the George W. Bush administration. He joined the NSC in late May, months after Trump tapped Bolton to replace H.R. McMaster as national security adviser in a major White House shake-up.

Fleitz’s appointment attracted criticism from a number of civil rights organizations and others.

“Fleitz’s senior leadership role with the Center for Security Policy, an Islamophobic, conspiracy-promoting organization, should automatically disqualify him from a position that deals with America’s most essential foreign policy and national security interests,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said at the time.