Frederick H. Fleitz
|Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff of the National Security Council|
April 27, 2018 – October 31, 2018
|Preceded by||Keith Kellogg|
|Succeeded by||Joan Virginia O’Hara|
|Born||1962 (age 59–60)|
|Education||Saint Joseph's University (BA)|
Fordham University (MA)
Frederick H. Fleitz (born 1962) is a former U.S. government official, serving since January 2022 as Vice Chairman of the America First Policy Institute Center for American Security. He previously served as the Chief of Staff and Executive Secretary of the National Security Council from May through October 2018, during the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Fleitz is a former CIA analyst, and news commentator.
First stint in government
Fleitz served in U.S. government national security positions for 25 years with the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of State, and the staff of the U.S. House Committee on Intelligence. Fleitz spent 19 years with the CIA. He wrote the 2002 book, Peacekeeping Fiascoes of the 1990s: Causes, Solutions, and U.S. Interests.
From 2001 to 2006, Fleitz served as chief of staff to Undersecretaries of State for Arms Control John Bolton (2001–2005) and Robert Joseph (2005–2006). Arianna Huffington described Fleitz in a 2005 article as "Bolton's chief enforcer."
Fleitz's name first hit the press in the spring of 2005 during the battle in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to confirm Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Several accounts describe difficult challenges Fleitz faced as Bolton's Chief of Staff, mostly involving conflict over a controversial speech Bolton delivered on a possible Cuban biological weapons program. Most contemporaneous press accounts in 2005 portrayed this matter as a personnel dispute over a disagreement with two intelligence officers over assertions Bolton wanted to make in the speech. In his own testimony, Fleitz said one of the analysts had forwarded Bolton's speech for the CIA to review, but attached his own dissenting commentary and then denied doing so. This led to a confrontation and an apology from the analyst's supervisors. Fleitz testified that the other analyst campaigned against the speech after it had been delivered to Congress and the press. Investigative reporter Kenneth Timmerman in his 2007 book Shadow Warriors (Crown Forum) wrote that controversy over Bolton's 2002 Cuba speech stemmed from heavy pressure from a small number of intelligence officers who favored a softer line on Cuba. Timmerman claims these intelligence analysts politicized Bolton's text and that Fleitz resisted their efforts. Rowan Scarborough, in his 2007 book Sabotage: America's Enemies Within the CIA (Regnery), came to a similar conclusion and wrote that Fleitz paid a professional price for defending Bolton and standing up to political pressure from rogue CIA and State Department intelligence analysts.
From 2006 to 2011, Fleitz was a senior staff member with House Intelligence Committee and a senior adviser to committee ranking member Peter Hoekstra.
In 2011, Fleitz was hired by the right-wing organization Newsmax Media to found the Langley Intelligence Group Network (LIGNET), an online international analysis and forecasting service. He served as the LIGNET Director until 2013 when he was named a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy, run by Frank Gaffney, an anti-Muslim activist and conspiracy theorist. In February 2015, Fleitz became senior vice president for policy and programs. In his writings for the Center, Fleitz claimed that major American Muslim organizations and mosques were secretly working to advance a jihadist agenda, that such groups should not be trusted when they claim to "eschew violence" and that they should be "neutralized as political forces."
Fleitz has appeared on the Fox News Channel and other media outlets. Fleitz opposed the Iran nuclear agreement. According to Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow and Washington Post columnist Max Boot, Fleitz "has a record of trafficking in virulent Muslim hatred." In his columns, Fleitz frequently defended fringe anti-Muslim, far-right activists such as Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller.
In April 2018, John R. Bolton was appointed National Security Advisor for President Donald Trump. Fleitz had previously served as Bolton's Chief of Staff at the State Department during the Presidency of George W. Bush. Bolton selected Fleitz to serve as his NSC Chief of Staff, replacing Keith Kellogg. He left his position on October 31 of that year to rejoin the Center for Security Policy and was succeeded by Joan Virginia O’Hara.
After Fleitz left the National Security Council, President Trump considered him for two cabinet level national security posts. According to press reports, Fleitz was a top candidate in 2019 to be Director of National Intelligence.   In September 2019, Fleitz was among five finalists to succeed John Bolton as National Security Adviser.
- "Fred Fleitz Joins AFPI's Center for American Security". America First Policy Institute. Retrieved January 15, 2022.
- "Fellows - Center for Security Policy". Center for Security Policy.
- Peacekeeping Fiascoes of the 1990s: Causes Solutions and U.S. Interests (Greenwood/Praeger, 2002)
- Huffington, Arianna, "Plamegate: The John Bolton Connection." Huffington Post, May 2005.
- Jehl, Douglas. "Released E-Mail Exchanges Reveal More Bolton Battles". New York Times, April 24, 2005, p. A18
- Linzer, Dafna. "Bolton Often Blocked Information, Officials Say". Washington Post, April 18, 2005, p. A4
- Linzer, Dafna. "Two Detail Bolton's Efforts to Punish Dissent". Washington Post, April 29, 2005, p. A2
- Lowry, Rich. "The Bolton Dirtfest". National Review Online, April 22, 2005
- Timmerman, Kenneth. Shadow Warriors. New York: Crown Forum, 2007, pp. 218–221
- Scarborough, Rowan. Sabotage: America's Enemies Within the CIA. Washington: Regnery, 2007, pp. 71–75
- "Intelligence Professional Fred Fleitz Joins Center for Security Policy as Senior Fellow[permanent dead link]", Center for Security Policy press release, December 23, 2013.
- Andrew Kaczynski; Chris Massie. "John Bolton's chief of staff defended fringe anti-Muslim, far-right activists in online columns". CNN. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
- "New NSC chief of staff is from group that believes Muslims are plotting to take over U.S." Washington Post.
- Fox News, "Ex-CIA Analyst: Senate's Torture Report Is 'Most Partisan I've Ever Seen'", December 9, 2014
- The O'Reilly Factor, "Whatever Happened to Human Rights", February 5, 2015.
- Sun News Network, "Fleitz on Obama's comments on Iran in State of the Union address[permanent dead link]", February 21, 2015.
- CTV News," CTV News Channel: Concerns with Senate Report", December 8, 2014.
- Westwood, Sarah. "John Bolton's new chief of staff linked to anti-Muslim writings". CNN. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- Boot, Max (June 9, 2018). "Opinion | Trump picks another Muslim-hater as one of his aides". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
- Talev, Margaret; Epstein, Jennifer (May 29, 2018). "Bolton Adds Loyalists to National Security Council Staff". Bloomberg News. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
- Mills, Curt (May 30, 2018). "Who is Fred Fleitz?". Center for the National Interest. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
- Beinart, Peter (June 1, 2018). "A Radical Pick for the National Security Council". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
- Scarborough, Rowan (June 3, 2018). "Fred Fleitz, John Bolton recruit, in SPLC 'smear campaign'". The Washington Times. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
- Westwood, Sarah (October 15, 2018). "John Bolton's chief of staff out at National Security Council". CNN. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
- Chalfant, Morgan (October 15, 2018). "Top Bolton aide to leave National Security Council". The Hill. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
- Mills, Curt (October 17, 2018). "Amid Khashoggi Affair, Fred Fleitz Leaves White House". Center for the National Interest. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
- "NSC Principal Deputy Executive Secretary Joan O'Hara Assumes Full-Time Role". ExecutiveGov. November 19, 2018. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
- Swan, Jonathan. "Trump tells confidants he's eager to remove Dan Coats". Axios, June 12, 2019
- Turner, Gillian. "Trump considering replacing Dan Coats as intel chief, holding meetings to discuss possible replacements". Fox News, July 12, 2019
- Quint, Forgey. "Trump names top 5 finalists for national security adviser". Politico, September 17, 2019