The retired general and Trump ally who called Obama a 'terrorist leader' is taking over the Pentagon's top policy job

  • Anthony Tata, a retired general turned Fox News guest who spread falsehoods about former President Barack Obama, is moving into the Pentagon's top policy position in an acting capacity, Defense One reported Tuesday.
  • Tata will be taking over the duties of James Anderson, who resigned Tuesday from his position as the under secretary of defense for policy. He previously called Obama a "terrorist leader" in tweets he has since deleted and said he regrets.
  • The under secretary of defense for policy is not only the top policy position in the Pentagon, but it is also considered the third most important job in the Department of Defense.
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Retired US Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, a controversial Trump ally and Fox News guest who spread falsehoods about former President Barack Obama, is taking over the Pentagon's top policy post following Tuesday's sudden resignation of James Anderson, Defense One reported.

Tata, who was installed in the Pentagon through an end-run around Congress by the Trump administration, has been performing the duties of the deputy under secretary of defense for policy for Anderson, who had been serving as acting under secretary of defense since John Rood was forced out earlier this year.

A memo written by acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, who replaced Mark Esper Monday, and obtained by Defense One said that Tata will, "effective immediately," be performing the duties of the under secretary of defense for policy, the top Pentagon policy position and the third most important job in the Department of Defense.

The White House tapped Tata to become the next under secretary of defense for policy on June 10. A couple of days later, CNN reported that it had discovered alarming tweets not only critical of Obama but in many cases, objectively false.

He called Obama a "Muslim," a "terrorist" who "normalized Islam for America," and, at one point, a "terrorist leader." The tweets triggered concern among lawmakers.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tweeted a few days after the CNN report came out that an "Islamaphobic conspiracy theorist who called Obama a 'terrorist leader' should not be #3 at the Pentagon," adding that Tata "is by far Trump's most unqualified & ill-suited senior defense nominee."

In late June, Tata walked back his tweets, saying that he has come to "deeply regret" his previous Twitter posts, most of which have been deleted.

In late July, Tata's Senate confirmation hearing was canceled following strong opposition from Democrats and concern by some Republicans. Tata withdrew his name from consideration in early August, but then the Trump administration appointed him to a related senior position in the Pentagon that does not require congressional approval.

As the senior official performing the duties of the deputy under secretary of defense policy, he reported to Anderson, who Politico reported resigned after confrontations with the White House over personnel issues.

Anderson reportedly opposed attempts by the White House to install controversial persons in the Pentagon, such as Rich Higgins, a conspiracy theorist who was fired from the National Security Council who had been tapped to be Tata's chief of staff.

The Department of Defense did not respond to Insider's request for comment on Tata's new position.

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