- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Vice Adm. Robert Harward turned down the post of White House national security adviser Thursday, just days after President Trump fired Michael Flynn from the job.

A senior administration official confirmed that Adm. Harward declined the job, saying his decision was due to “family considerations” and difficulties in overcoming financial entanglements with defense contractor Lockheed Martin. He has served as CEO of Lockheed in the United Arab Emirates since 2014.

Adm. Harward, who is close to Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, was in negotiations with the White House over bringing some of his own staff to the embattled National Security Council. Reuters reported that Mr. Trump had told Mr. Flynn’s deputy, K.T. McFarland, that she could stay.

The president had apparently referred to Adm. Harward at a press conference earlier in the day, saying, “I have somebody that I think will be outstanding for the position.”

Adm. Harward is a Navy SEAL who served as deputy of the U.S. Central Command, which has responsibility for overseeing military operations in the Middle East. It was there that he worked closely with Mr. Mattis.

He also worked on the National Security Council during the administration of President George W. Bush.

The president said at the press conference that he asked Mr. Flynn to resign on Monday because the retired general had not been completely truthful with Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

“The thing is, he didn’t tell our vice president properly, and then he said he didn’t remember. So either way, it wasn’t very satisfactory to me,” Mr. Trump said.

With Adm. Harward out of the picture, the other two candidates who were said to be under consideration were retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who is currently the acting national security adviser; and former CIA Director David Petraeus.

Mr. Kellogg had been serving as chief of staff at the NSC when Mr. Trump promoted him temporarily Monday upon Mr. Flynn’s firing. He is a three star former lieutenant general in the Army.

Mr. Petraeus, a retired Army general, resigned from the CIA under President Obama when it was revealed that he had given classified information to his mistress.

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