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Why we should worry about Trump's national security advisors

Trump's national security adviser is a problem. His deputy national security adviser may be an even bigger problem.
The sun rises near the White House on Nov. 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty)
The sun rises near the White House on Nov. 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. 
Donald Trump has been blowing off national-security briefings since Election Day, preferring to combine information from U.S. intelligence agencies with back-channel information from unnamed "sources." This realization makes it all the more important to know who'll have the president-elect's ear once Trump is in the Oval Office.His National Security Advisor will be Michael Flynn, which raises all kinds of concerns. Any chance Flynn will be backed up by a capable and grounded deputy? Apparently not.

The president-elect tapped Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland, a former government official and one-time Fox News analyst, as a deputy national security adviser, a transition official told NBC News.A Fox News spokesperson confirmed Friday that McFarland's contract has been terminated on the heels of Trump offering her the position, a necessary step in order for her to serve in his administration.

McFarland does have some relevant experience, having worked for Reagan's Defense Secretary, Caspar Weinberger. That said, this experience (a) was more than 30 years ago; (b) related entirely to public relations; and (c) was followed by McFarland playing the role of far-right pundit and failed candidate for public office.At first blush, that may not sound that bad, especially in light of Trump's usual personnel habits, but the closer one looks at McFarland's record, the more troubling her appoint becomes. Media Matters published a helpful overview over the weekend.

President-elect Donald Trump has named Fox News analyst K.T. McFarland as his pick for deputy national security adviser, joining frequent Fox guest and fellow anti-Muslim Putin fan retired Gen. Michael Flynn on Trump's White House national security team. McFarland has repeatedly advocated for war with Iran and misled about its nuclear program, expressed support for torture, and has made bizarre and incendiary statements about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other topics.

And that's really just scratching the surface. Trump's new deputy national security advisor has praised Vladimir Putin, endorsed torture, and thrown around bizarre rhetoric about Benghazi.My personal favorite is when McFarland ran against then-Sen. Hillary Clinton in 2006 and accused the New York Democrat of being so worried about losing that Clinton "had helicopters flying over my house in Southampton today taking pictures."In reality, there were no such helicopters and Clinton wasn't worried about losing to McFarland (the incumbent won by a lopsided margin, 67% to 31%).It's against this backdrop that The Atlantic's David Frum lamented the fact that McFarland now has the job of "backstopping the mercurial Gen. Flynn in the management of the most complex bureaucratic structure on earth."What could possibly go wrong?