Who is Kash Patel, Trump’s aide who has threatened to ‘target’ journalists in US

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Kash Patel or Kashyap P Patel, a close associate of Donald J. Trump with extensive experience in national security roles, has threatened a potential legal action against journalists if former president returns to power in 2024.

(FILE) Kash Patel has said, if the former president is elected again, his administration will retaliate against people in the media "criminally or civilly." (AP)
(FILE) Kash Patel has said, if the former president is elected again, his administration will retaliate against people in the media “criminally or civilly.” (AP)

“We will go out and find the conspirators, not just in government but in the media,” Patel said. “Yes, we’re going to come after the people in the media who lied about American citizens, who helped Joe Biden rig presidential elections — we’re going to come after you. Whether it’s criminally or civilly, we’ll figure that out.”

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He emphasized the intention to pursue legal action, either criminally or civilly, using the Constitution to address alleged crimes.“We’re actually going to use the Constitution to prosecute them for crimes they said we have always been guilty of but never have.”

Patel, who served as Trump’s counterterrorism adviser on the National Security Council and chief of staff to the acting secretary of defence, made these remarks during a podcast hosted by Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s former strategist, discussing the possibility of a second Trump presidency in 2025.

‘Bench of all all-America patriots’

In contrast, Patel noted that the Trump team had a ‘bench’ of ‘all-America patriots,’ but he said he did not want to name any names ‘so the radical left-wing media can terrorize them.’

In response to these statements, a spokeswoman for Patel, Erica Knight, highlighted his commitment to following the facts and the law. Patel himself issued a statement, asserting that upon Trump’s assumed presidency in 2025, they would prosecute anyone who broke the law and aim to end what he termed the “weaponized, two-tier system of justice.”

Rise of Kash Patel

It’s noteworthy that Patel rose from being a relatively unknown Capitol Hill staffer in the early days of the Trump administration to becoming one of Trump’s most trusted aides and influential national security officials. Despite facing opposition to a proposed appointment as deputy director of the C.I.A. or the F.B.I., Patel remained closely associated with Trump even after leaving the government.

Patel served as the former Chief of Staff to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and is responsible for leading the Secretary’s mission at the Department. He also served as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism (CT) at the National Security Council (NSC).

Before joining the NSC, he served as the National Security Advisor and Senior Counsel for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).

Since leaving government service, Patel has leveraged his Trump insider status, engaging in activities such as selling merchandise online and writing a children’s book. Notably, he has filed defamation suits against media outlets and established a fundraising entity to “fight the deep state” and support lawsuits on behalf of individuals he claims have been “defamed” by the “fake news mafia.”

A native of New York, Patel began his career as a public defender. He graduated from the University of Richmond before returning to New York to earn his law degree.

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