Trump considering 4 for national security adviser after Robert Harward says no

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President Donald Trump's list of candidates to take over as his national security adviser is at four, following Michael Flynn's resignation earlier this week and reports Trump's first pick for a replacement turned down the offer.

"General Keith Kellogg, who I have known for a long time, is very much in play for NSA – as are three others," Trump tweeted Friday morning, referring to the retired Army officer who became a close campaign adviser and was named chief of staff and executive secretary to the National Security Council in December. Kellogg currently is serving as acting national security adviser in the wake of Flynn's departure.

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Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
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Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn

Retired United States Army lieutenant general Michael T. Flynn introduces Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump before he delivered a speech at The Union League of Philadelphia on September 7, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Trump spoke about his plans to build up the military if elected. Recent national polls show the presidential race is tightening with two months until the election.

(Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, prepares to testify at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled 'Current and Future Worldwide Threats,' featuring testimony by he and James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn arrives at the Trump Tower for meetings with US President-elect Donald Trump, in New York on November 17, 2016.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, at podium, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attend a campaign event with veterans at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Ave., NW, where Trump stated he believes President Obama was born in the United States, September 16, 2016.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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Among others reportedly under consideration is retired Gen. David Petraeus, the disgraced former CIA director and head of U.S. Central Command. Experts say Petraeus has the intellectual chops and professional experience to handle the position deftly, but would assume the job under a cloud. If picked, Petraeus would become the first national security adviser also on probation, as he continues to serve a two-year term in connection with sharing classified information with his biographer and mistress.

Trump reportedly first offered the job on Monday night to retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward, a career Navy SEAL who asked for time to consider taking the position. During a wide-ranging press conference on Thursday, Trump said he had someone in mind to replace Flynn but would not offer any specifics.

Later on Thursday, Harward told The Associated Press he had turned down the job for personal reasons.

"I'm in a unique position finally after being in the military for 40 years to enjoy some personal time," Harward said. The Trump administration was "very accommodating to my needs, both professionally and personally."

The New York Times, however, cited sources who said Harward had concerns about dysfunction within the White House, and was surprised by Trump telling Flynn ally K.T. MacFarland that she could remain as deputy national security adviser. The Washington Post also cited a person close to the issue as saying an element that weighed into Harward's decision was the lack of a guarantee that he would be able to select his own staff.

Notably, Harward's rejection of the job offer comes after White House strategist Steve Bannon was elevated to a position on the National Security Council's principals committee, sparking criticism over placing a political aide in a key national security role.

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Steve Bannon
White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon speaks with White House chief of staff Reince Priebus before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and White House Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks walk along the colonnade ahead of a joint press conference by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (R) and Senior Counselor Steve Bannon board Air Force One at West Palm Beach International airport in West Palm Beach, Florida U.S., February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon (L) and senior aide Kellyanne Conway speak at meeting hosted by Trump with cyber security experts in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
FILE PHOTO: Chief White House strategist Steve Bannon (L) sits with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (C) and senior advisor Stephen Miller during a swearing-in ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump (L-R), joined by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, senior advisor Steve Bannon, Communications Director Sean Spicer and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump signs a memorandum to security services directing them to defeat the Islamic State in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017. Pictured with him are White House senior advisor Steve Bannon (L-R), National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Vice President Mike Pence, Deputy National Security Advisor K. T. McFarland, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, National Security Council Chief of Staff Keith Kellogg and senior advisor Kellyanne Conway. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist for US President-elect Donald Trump, talks on the phone outside Trump Tower in New York on December 9, 2016.

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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (R) and senior counselor Steve Bannon (L) hold meetings at the Mar-a-lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. December 28, 2016.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon is pictured backstage during a campaign event in Eau Claire, Wisconsin U.S. November 1, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon (R) is pictured talking to a reporter after a campaign event in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. October 29, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegr's)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon holds a campaign rally the Reno-Sparks Convention Center November 5, 2016 in Reno, Nevada. With less than a week before Election Day in the United States, Trump and his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, are campaigning in key battleground states that each must win to take the White House.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon (C) listens to Trump speak during his final campaign rally on Election Day in the Devos Place November 8, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Trump's marathon last day of campaigning stretched past midnight and into Election Day.

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Steve Bannon gets off the plane with US President-elect Donald Trump arrives at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Kentucky, for the start of the 'USA Thank You Tour' at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 2016.

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Steve Bannon, chief strategist for Donal Trump, leaves after the motorcade of US President-elect arrived at Trump Tower on December 10, 2016 in New York.

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Steve Bannon, (L) chief strategist for Donal Trump, exits Trump Tower on December 13, 2016 in New York.

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Steve Bannon, senior counselor to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, arrives to attend meetings between Trump and business leaders at the Mar-a-lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. December 28, 2016.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

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Other officials told the Post Harward had "financial concerns" about leaving his job as a senior executive at Lockheed Martin and was worried about the impact on his family.

The retired admiral was considered by many in Washington to be an excellent choice to replace Flynn, bringing experience in security affairs and close ties to other members of Trump's Cabinet to a position that has been the center of upheaval in the first month of the new administration.

Harward's name began circling as a replacement for Flynn almost immediately after the former Defense Intelligence Agency chief and Trump campaign confidant came under fire for mischaracterizing to White House colleagues, particularly Vice President Mike Pence, the nature of his contact with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Harward worked on the National Security Council during former President George W. Bush's administration, but perhaps chief among his relevant experience was his tenure from 2011 to 2013 as deputy commander of U.S. Central Command – the military headquarters overseeing all wars in the Middle East – during which he served as the No. 2 to Jim Mattis, now Trump's secretary of defense. Mattis reportedly held Harward in particularly high regard, assigning him to, among other responsibilities during that time, draft a plan for a potential war with Iran.

Harward, like Mattis, likely has a deep roster of close associates and former colleagues he would have called upon to work for him in a new position. And whoever succeeds Flynn will need experience like Harward's to be able to take on internal housekeeping issues that position will first have to address.

As national security adviser, managing a broad stream of intelligence and national security information and paring it down to inform decisions the president must make also is a difficult task fraught with the potential for disastrous real-world consequences.

"The national security adviser has to have the trust and confidence of both the president and of the national security bureaucracies, because the NSA is supposed to be the honest broker, the person who takes the views and prerogatives of the national security departments ... and forwards them to the president appropriately, often with the views of the NSA but not dictated by the NSA," says David Priess, a former CIA officer and author of "The President's Book of Secrets," which documents the history of the commander in chief's daily intelligence briefings.

Flynn made a mistake by coming into the position with very strong views on which he tried to influence the president, Priess says. That's not the traditional purpose of the job.

"Historically, people who have been exposed to the process before and seen how it works generally make the process work better," Priess says.

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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions
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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions

Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Veterans Affairs Secretary: David Shulkin

(Photo credit DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Energy secretary: Rick Perry

(Photo credit KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

 REUTERS/Daniel Kramer

Secretary of Defense: Retired Marine General James Mattis

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Chief of staff: Reince Priebus

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief strategist: Steve Bannon

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Director of the CIA: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Deputy national security adviser: K.T. McFarland

(Photo by Michael Schwartz/Getty Images)

White House counsel: Donald McGahn

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ambassador to the United Nations: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

(Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Education secretary: Betsy DeVos

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Homeland security secretary: General John Kelly

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Housing and urban development secretary: Ben Carson

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Health and human services secretary: Tom Price

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Department of Homeland Security: Retired General John Kelly

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Secretary of agriculture: Sonny Perdue

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
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