Before ISIS Speech, Obama Convenes Dinner with His Foreign Policy Dream Team

Two days out of revealing his ISIS strategy, President Obama convened a private dinner Monday night with select administration officials and foreign policy wonks to hear “their views on a range of national security and foreign policy issues.”


The White House billed the “group of foreign policy experts” as “including former Administration officials from Republican and Democratic Administrations, academics and think tank experts.”

Tops on the list was Sandy Berger, the former national security adviser to President Clinton who in 2005 pleaded guilty to removing classified documents from the National Archives.

Also on the invitation list were President Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Obama national security adviser Tom Donilon, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy, president of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass, and George W. Bush adviser for national security affairs Steve Hadley.

Former congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Calif.), now president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, was there, along with former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who resigned after Obama picked John Brennan to lead the agency. Morrell has recently been critical of Obama Afghanistan withdrawal plans, warning it will lead to a renewal of al-Qaeda in the region.


Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution, rounded out the guest list.

Administration guests, in addition to Obama and Vice President Biden, included Secretary of State John Kerry, Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken, counselor John Podesta, White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region Phil Gordon, and Executive Secretary / Chief of Staff for the National Security Council Suzy George.

Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are in charge of putting the ISIS strategy in place. Hagel was in Turkey on Monday.

According to the White House, Obama made calls to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday.


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