Partisan politics has reared its ugly head when a respected veteran national security analyst tapped by the White House to work on the National Security Council (NSC) appears to have been abruptly stripped of his top-secret clearance.
The apparent victim of petty partisan politics is Adam Lovinger, a 12-year strategic affairs analyst at the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA). In January this year, former national security adviser Michael Flynn brought Lovinger to the NSC. NSC is, of course, an influential chamber that advises and assists the president on national security and crucial foreign policies. The trouble is, Pentagon gave notice this month to Lovinger that his Top-Secret, Sensitive Compartmented Information ( TS-SCI) clearance was suspended for “unspecified outside activities.”
Lovinger has shown a tough stance on Islamic militants, China, Iran and remaining NSC Obama appointees’ anti-Trump sentiments. Because of this, various media reports say, Lovinger was singled out and targeted by Obama Pentagon holdovers. One Washington, D.C. newspaper even reported that Lovinger’s clearance was suspended after he wrote several memos criticizing his former boss, ONA Director James Baker, who was appointed under the Obama administration in 2015 by Obama Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
The ONA fulfills a crucial function as an independent organization within the Department of Defense (DoD) tasked with identifying emerging or future potential threats to the U.S. It also gathers and curates highly classified reports. Lovinger may have felt that under Baker’s leadership, the ONA was failing to address threats coming from Iran, radical Islam, and China.
The clearance dispute in Lovinger’s case highlights the turf battle between contending forces, and the effort by anti-Trump officials and Obama appointed holdovers to “neutralize” Trump aides.
Lovinger is well-qualified for his job, with a law degree and solid expertise on South Asia, the Persian Gulf and sub-Saharan Africa. He has also worked previously as a Pentagon general counsel focusing on reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and McDonough School of Business.
The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch is investigating Lovinger’s case. It has reached out to Pentagon to learn more, but they only received the cold and secretive response that Lovinger’s case is a “personnel matter that must be kept private.” Judicial Watch after several efforts, and being passed around, only managed to get an email response from Defense Department Spokesman Jamie Davis who aside from insisting on the “privacy” of the matter, also denied that partisan politics played a hand in Lovinger’s case.
Lovinger is not giving up without a fight. He is working to have his security clearance reinstated. Unfortunately for him and tragically for the country, in spite of his impressive credentials and solid skills set, sources tell Judicial Watch that Pentagon is sending poor Lovinger to an office in Alexandria, Virginia to work as a “file clerk.”