We keep asking who is the man behind the curtain that is running our country and that Biden is so fearful of in “getting in trouble.” We have a major clue and it comes in the name of WestExec with well over 23 executives of their executives finding their way to Biden’s door. Just who are they? One thing is for sure they have loaded up offices in Biden’s government. As far as Secretary of State Blinken fellow goes, he is the co-founder and managing director.
Many of the highest-ranking members of the Biden administration came from the same shadowy firm. It is a relatively new name among revolving-door power brokers in Washington D.C., which makes it all the more surprising.
Founded in 2017, WestExec describes itself as a “diverse group of senior national security professionals with the most recent experience at the highest levels of the U.S. government. With deep knowledge and networks in the fields of defense, foreign policy, intelligence, cybersecurity, international economics, and strategic communications, our team has worked together around the White House Situation Room table, deliberating and deciding our nation’s foreign and national security policies.”
WestExec has staffed the administration with over 23 of its executives, who have sprawled out across the national security and intelligence apparatus. The Intercept and The American Prospect dug into these profiles, and some of the biggest names in government are among them, including:
- Tony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State; Co-founder and managing partner of WestExec
- Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence; Principal
- David S. Cohen, Deputy Director at the CIA; Principal
- Lisa Monaco, Deputy Attorney General; Principal
- Chris Inglis, National Cyber Director; Principal
- Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary; Senior Adviser
- Ely Ratner, Asst. Sec. of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs; Senior Adviser
It is an impressive list, as concerning as it might be that one security cabal could singlehandedly consolidate such influence in one presidential administration. But the list isn’t finished yet.
- Colin Thomas-Jensen, National Security Director for USAID; Senior Adviser
- Michael Camilleri, Sr. Adviser to USAID Admin.; Senior Adviser
- Gabrielle Chefitz, Special Asst. to Under Sec. of Defense for Policy; Senior Associate
- Julianne Smith, Senior Adviser to Sec. of State; Senior Adviser
- Barbara Leaf, Senior Director for Middle East, NSC; Senior Adviser
- Elizabeth Rosenberg, Counselor to Deputy Sec. of Treasury; Senior Advisor
- Matt Olsen, Asst. Attorney General; Principal
“The WestExec to Biden administration pipeline, part two. Not pictured: senior adviser to the domestic policy adviser Erin Pelton; director of scheduling for the secretary of state Sarah McCool; nominee for assistant secretary of defense Celeste Wallander; Biden-Harris transition team advisers Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Cristina Killingsworth, Jay Shambaugh, and Puneet Talwar; deputy director for the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission John Costello; and vice chair of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence Robert O. Work.”
“Even Bidenworld’s backbenchers are entangled in the firm,” the Intercept/American Prospect report states. “The Biden-Harris transition team was advised by WestExec consultants Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Puneet Talwar, Jay Shambaugh, and Cristina Killingsworth. Further, the firm’s members oversee influential nonpartisan federal commissions: Robert O. Work at the National Security Commission for Artificial Intelligence and John Costello at the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.
“The private sector can in essence co-opt the public sector.”
”WestExec does not affirmatively share its clients, and public financial disclosure forms only offer broad outlines. Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, says that government ethics laws written decades ago aren’t equipped to handle a situation in which a single firm launches 15 senior officials. “Yes, they’re employed by the government, I’ll grant you that. But are they actually working for the American people or not? Where does their loyalty lie?” said Clark. “The private sector can in essence co-opt the public sector.”
…..The firm describes one of its chief selling points as its “unparalleled geopolitical risk analysis,” now confirmed by the saturation of its employees in positions of power. WestExec has also succeeded in getting tech startups into defense contracts and helped defense corporations modernize with tech; it worked to help multinational companies break into China. One of its collaborators is the defense-centered investment group Pine Island Capital Partners, which launched a SPAC, or “blank check” company,” last year. Tony Blinken advised Pine Island and was a part owner. (Michèle Flournoy, another WestExec co-founder, had her nomination to be secretary of defense nixed. President Joe Biden instead nominated Lloyd Austin, himself a former Pine Island partner but not a WestExec consultant.)
BLINKEN, NOW SECRETARY OF STATE, advised household names like telecommunications giant AT&T, defense contractor Boeing, shipping magnate FedEx, and the media company Discovery as a WestExec founding partner. He worked for Big Tech pillars Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Uber. He helped niche companies like speakers bureau GLG, art seller Sotheby’s, and biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. Blinken also lists clients that are global investment firms and asset managers, like Blackstone, Lazard, Royal Bank of Canada, and the multinational conglomerate SoftBank — which does extensive business with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He even advised the consulting group McKinsey & Company. Though Blinken left WestExec in July 2020 — after The American Prospect inquired about the relationship — each of these businesses has an international profile that may impact his calculations as he implements Biden’s foreign policy.
Well worth the full read as it is indeed the best of the swamp today.