Wednesday, April 5, 2017

White House Internal Think Tank a Fake Think Tank?

The Strategic Initiatives Group (SIG), an internal White House think tank started by Steve Bannon, never actually existed, according to the White House.

Here is more from Jonathan Easley of The Hill:
The White House is downplaying the importance of an internal policy shop that was once believed to be the brainchild and power center of chief strategist Stephen Bannon, saying the Strategic Initiatives Group (SIG) never even existed.
That appears to contradict media reports and the claims of at least one White House staffer who previously said that he was a member of the SIG. 
The group — described in scores of media reports as an internal think tank launched by Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Jared Kushner — would be irrelevant now even if it had formed, a White House aide said.
Any need there may have been for the internal policy shop, which critics have described as an attempt by Bannon to promote his own agenda, is moot now that President Trump has tapped Kushner to run the Office of American Innovation (OAI), which is charged with government modernization, according to multiple White House officials.

"I've never known [SIG] to exist,” said a White House aide. “There was a lot of speculation about this early, but it was never officially rolled out and if anything, the OAI is an evolution and realization of some of these initial ideas.”

A second White House official said the SIG was “always informal” and has since “morphed to the new group,” the OAI.

A third White House official echoed that sentiment but said it’s possible that Bannon could still use the SIG for his own projects.

Here is Think Tank Watch's previous piece on the Strategic Initiatives Group.  And here is our recent piece on the Office of American Innovation.