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Facing Crisis of Legitimacy, Trump Administration Pledges to Intensify War on Leaks


Facing Crisis of Legitimacy, Trump Administration Pledges to Intensify War on Leaks

Kevin Gosztola

President Donald Trump’s administration is in the throes of a crisis of legitimacy and leadership, with federal government employees concerned and unwilling to stay quiet about chaos, incompetence, and questionable acts unfolding within institutions. To respond to an increase in leaks to the press, the Justice Department pledged to escalate its policy of targeting leakers for prosecution.


Is this a joke or what. Neither Trump nor anyone or anything associated ever had any legitimacy whatsoever. The crisis is that neoliberal Dems and the media (right, left, and corporate) made this all possible because of their cooperation in not allowing the presidential election to be a referendum on the crisis of global neoliberal capitalism. Instead it was all about Trump and Trumpism. Mass distraction at its worst.


If one reads the history of Germany between the wars, and what went on during Hitler’s rise to power, the current acts of our government and some fanatical followers will not seem strange at all. It is like it came out of the playbook for Nazism (Mein Kampf and others). Read Happner’s Defying Hitler for example.
*Happner (pen name) was a boy during WW-I and grew up during the interregnum. He was the son of a Judge in the Prussian Court and was learning law. In the book, he just describes life in Germany. Gradually, Hitler morphed from a noisy clown with a following of thugs to become a member of the Reichstag, then became Reichskanzler.
*When the Third Reich was firmly established, the courts protested that what Hitler and the Nazis were doing were illegal.
*The answer they were given was, “The law is what the fuehrer says it is. Heil Hitler!” And that was pretty much it.
*The book is not a polemic, it is just sort of a diary of what went on in everyday Germany. Eventually, he left Germany and went to England as he feared being put in a concentration camp, or worse. Happner put the manuscript he wrote away and never mentioned it to his son, who found it years later when he was clearing up papers, etc., after his father’s death.
*I guess what brought this to mind is one anecdote amongst many. Happner and a group of friends had, for years, gotten together at one or another’s home to sample some good wine and talk. The last time they met, when they were getting their coats to head for home, one of the people present told him, “For what you have said tonight, I should report you to the Gestapo, but as we have been friends, I won’t this time.”
*For several nights, he couldn’t sleep, awaiting the late night or early morning knock on the door. Apparently his friend kept his word, but Happner learned that you must watch what you say, what opinions you express, for you don’t know who may be an informant.
*It’s gotten to be pretty much the same here in the Fourth Reich, hasn’t it.


On occasion I have suggested that Obama and his behavior as president shared more than part of the blame for the tiny-minded prictator being president now – the author of this article validates my theory.


Thanks, Kevin. This is a well written and well sourced article. Some of your best work, really.
As to what the article says about leaks and the prosecution of such; this is just another warning shot, to gov’t employees, journalists and citizens who know what’s missing from the official storyline.
There is way too much classified gov’t material, as most everyone knows. J. Kirakou pretty much nailed it on those documents about Trump’s ramblings to the PM of Australia and President of Mexico. They showed our President to be viewed as a guy in a suit, on his hands and knees, looking around the Oval Office for his lost Tiger Eye.
Sessions is an entirely different Tiger Eye, however. The man is Roy Cohen on a speedball. And, Dan Coates was a Senator suffering from Alzheimer’s ten years ago. What’s changed and can his blood be drawn, and tested, please.
Things are not at all copasetic right now, with our gov’t, and the Trump Adm.'s latest propaganda seems merely to be the tip of the spear, here.
" Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean your wrong". Willie Nelson


To clarify (since I wrote the piece):

I agree. Since Day 1, Trump’s entire administration has been unable to convince career government employees and holdovers from President Barack Obama’s administration that he could legitimately govern the country. Or that Trump knows or is capable of overseeing a government.

My point is this is not an issue of national security. That’s propaganda, as it is so often when government officials invoke it to justify decisive action. These leaks come from people who don’t believe Trump can run a government, and the administration is tripling or quadrupling efforts to silence employees who speak out about the reality of government right now.


I produced a whole series on Obama’s legacy and how it would give Trump the tools or machinery for so much we should oppose.

From wars to drones to no accountability for torture to indefinite military detention to leak prosecutions, there is plenty precedents for Trump to rely upon to do further damage.

Though not part of the series, one of the clearest examples is the deportation machine. Obama deported millions. Trump is going to take it into overdrive.


I appreciate your comment.

It definitely is a warning shot. We’ll hear a lot about the First Amendment rights of journalists, but we also need to stand up for the rights of government employees. They should not be silenced because they want to warn us about dangers they see while they’re on the job.


interesting theory. Would you care to elaborate?


Kevin, every week considerate, thoughtful people are watching the internecine, puzzling warfare inside Trump’s First Circle. So, career gov’t employees in sensitive positions have to be wondering just how bizarre, and out of control, is this Administration going to get. Who will these people point the finger at next and when does the official purge begin? Loyalty oaths and lie detector tests, as well ( already taking place ). Where’s that mason jar of truth serum, again? And, the boss is on record as posing the question, " Why have nuclear weapons if you can’t use them? " How is that statement for thoughtful and Presidential calming assurance. Unbelievable, unless chaos is the goal.

Since Trump is watching his suppport shrink, and Bannon is manipulating and stirring up the nationalist’s most influential media outlets, what pressures will finally cause a chain reaction of bad events, to be purposely launched? If Mueller indicts, then what? Will the NRA/Trump call for a membership march on the nation’s capitol? Will elections be delayed or possibly even suspended? Do we know with this bunch of outliers in charge.

Will Iran or Venezuela be pushed into capitulation, or face a military confrontation? Do we dare ask.
The electorate in 2016 chose a rare kind of political darkness and destruction, and Mr. Chaos reigns.
No wonder professionals are nervous and leaking.