Retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, who was nominated to become the under secretary of defense for policy at the Department of Defense, promoted conspiracy theories that John Brennan, the former CIA director, wanted to oust Trump from office, and pushed a bogus conspiracy theory that Brennan sent a coded tweet to order the assassination of Trump in 2018.
A spokesperson for Brennan declined to comment.
CNN obtained a letter Tata sent to the top members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Republican Chairman Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island, both of whom oversee his nomination, apologizing for his past Islamophobic tweets. He wrote, “I deeply regret comments I made on social media several years ago” and that “my tweets were completely out of character.”
If confirmed by the Senate, Tata would oversee the Pentagon’s policy on everything from Afghanistan, China, Iran and Russia to nuclear deterrence and missile defense policy. He would also closely advise the secretary of defense on national security and support the Pentagon’s program and budget decisions.
Tata’s nomination comes as the White House seeks to install loyalists to key positions throughout the administration. His newly surfaced comments appear to mimic what the President and his allies have long maintained — that the “deep state” has sought to undermine Trump’s presidency and that his opponents would rather see the country fail than see him succeed — without citing specific evidence.
The retired general also said that Obama’s foreign policy “was born of the Jeremiah Wright school of hate America” and that the former president held a “Weather Underground” philosophy, referring respectively to the Obamas’ former pastor and to the FBI-designated domestic terrorist group born out of anti-war sentiments that bombed dozens of buildings and government institutions in the 1960s and 1970s.
“Anthony Tata, the President’s exceptionally qualified nominee for Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, is a distinguished public servant whose career has provided him with planning, policy, and operational experience both at home and abroad,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told CNN in an email. “His education, background, and record has earned him bi-partisan praise, and this attempt by the media to slander his reputation is disgusting. The White House stands by the President’s qualified nominee.”
Tata did not respond for comment but, a source familiar with the discussions regarding Tata’s nomination told CNN that Tata is “pleased with the support he’s receiving from the White House and DOD teams and hopes to speak members of both parties as soon as possible.”
“He intends to convey in person or by phone his sincere regret for his past comments and hopes to discuss the serious policy concerns the US faces today,” the source said.
A US defense official confirmed that Tata still works as a senior adviser in the Pentagon.
Tata spread conspiracy theories that officials were trying to overthrow and assassinate Trump
“It would not surprise me if eventually it came out that he was somehow allied with some foreign power because what he’s doing is fomenting the division. You look at his tweets, you look at what he says, and he is doing Putin’s bidding every day on Twitter. He is dividing this nation and he’s trying to ossify the left against the right,” said Tata.
In a now deleted tweet, Tata also used the hashtag “Clinton Body Count” to refer to the conspiracy that former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have ordered the assassinations of their associates, and wrote that he hoped former FBI lawyer Lisa Page did not meet an “untimely demise.”
Tata also accused the Obamas of engaging in “borderline treasonous” behavior during the presidential transition period from Obama to Trump after they expressed dismay at a Trump presidency.
“He had the Jeremiah Wright philosophy. He had the Weather Underground philosophy. And so he had all the insurgent philosophy of how to undermine American values and American way of life and American foreign policy, which he is effectively done,” Tata said, referring to the Weather Underground Organization, a radical militant group responsible for bombings and other acts of political violence in the 1960s and 1970s. The FBI designated the organization as a domestic terrorist organization.
“That we are so divided right now that the left wants to, would rather see the country burned down, than to have this President succeed,” he added.