Fred Fleitz, John Bolton recruit, in SPLC ‘smear campaign’ (Washington Times, 6/3/18)

Washington Times

By Rowan Scarborough

The White House is strongly defending Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst picked for the pivotal role of National Security Council chief of staff, in the face of strident criticism from what conservatives say are left-wing, pro-Obama pressure groups.

A senior NSC official told The Washington Times that the “baseless … vengeful smear campaign” is coordinated by the Southern Poverty Law Center. A legal advocacy nonprofit specializing in civil rights, the SPLC has thrived on liberal funding, targeted conservatives such as Mr. Fleitz, assigned derogatory labels and won coverage among Washington media.

“Many of the attacks originated from the left Southern Poverty Law Center, which in recent years has raised money by putting out press releases or statements falsely grouping conservative Americans with neo-Nazis and white supremacists,” the NSC official said.

Mr. Fleitz is a prominent conservative scholar recruited last week by National Security Adviser John R. Bolton as he revamps a staff inherited from retired Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.

Mr. Fleitz spent nearly two decades as a CIA analyst, served on the staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and most recently resided at the Center for Security Policy, run by Ronald Reagan appointee Frank Gaffney.

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