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Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster has appointed Mike Barry to oversee the intelligence community on the National Security Council, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the decision.

Barry, who served in the intelligence community, replaces Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the intel operative who was appointed by Gen. Mike Flynn and gained notoriety as he fell out with McMaster and was eventually ousted, despite being in the unusual position of having warm relationships with both Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. (Barry's appointment was first foreshadowed — in pejorative terms — by Mike Cernovich, a controversial online foe of McMaster's.)

Why this matters: As special assistant to the president for intelligence programs, Barry will be crucial to the smooth functioning of President Trump's national security team, and will be responsible for aligning the intelligence community's policy with Trump's priorities. Barry will also manage covert action.

What we know about Barry: Not much, given the classification of the work he has been doing. A source familiar with his appointment told me:

Before Barry's service in the intelligence community, he served in the Air Force.H.R. McMaster asked CIA Director Mike Pompeo for recommendations for Cohen-Watnick replacements. Pompeo recommended Barry.Barry and McMaster bonded, partly "because they'd worked in similar environments," the source said.

Go deeper

54 mins ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

1 hour ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

2 hours ago - Health

Africa CDC: Vaccines likely won't be available until Q2 of 2021

Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong. Photo: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.