Disinformation Campaign is Driving Leaks
Newly minted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was ousted from his post this week after his premature communications with Russian officials were leaked to the press, forcing his resignation. President Trump predictably pawned the blame off on loose-lipped intelligence officers, who — aside from exemplifying an oxymoron — are far from unheard of. Even if one were to accept the spin as the unwavering truth from the hallowed king himself, though, it still doesn’t get Trump and his administration off of the hook. The disinformation campaign being run by the White House is sewing distrust in every nook and cranny of the American fabric, and they are effectively asking for the widespread, internal discord themselves.
From day one on the campaign trail, Donald Trump has spewed everything from blatant lies to hyperbolic generalities. While it’s now no secret that the aforementioned techniques do indeed work in an election, using them to actually govern one of the most established and diverse democracies in the world will prove to be another task entirely. Empty calls to ban Muslims and build walls can sustain themselves for only so long before world leaders and constituents alike start demanding concrete progress in any direction. Unfortunately, any semblance of progress presented by this administration to this point has been marred by alienating forces that only serve to impede global cooperation. His policy positions, whether it be his stance on Israeli settlements or infrastructure spending, have and continue to shift from day-to-day, leaving everyone from Joe Shmoe to Benjamin Netanyahu to wait for what’s next. The instability therein creates a culture primed for internal strife, and what better way for a seemingly invisible bureaucrat in a swamp of invisible bureaucrats to seek their version of justice then to reveal information privy to a select few to the wider masses.
Throw in the conscience traditionally possessed by what we used to refer to as public servants and it’s hard to consider the influx of leaks a surprise. Donald Trump called the most recent leak “criminal”, but Joe Scarborough called it the work of “a patriot”. Whatever you might think about whistleblowers, I think it’s safe to say that the likes of Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden didn’t base their decision to commit federal treason based off the prospect of personal gain. Who knows, though. Snowden could have been colluding with Oliver Stone all along.
Twitter accounts like @NotAltWorld and @RogueNasa didn’t not exist during the Obama administration because he represented everything good in climate science (Although, let’s be real. He was pretty damn good). Rather, he displayed a predisposition to progress and transparency on topics deeply rooted in the current operation of our economy and its future growth. U.S. oil production increased drastically under Obama, but carbon emissions remained relatively stagnant. At the same time, however, clean energy production nearly doubled. The concept is clear: Where there’s give, there’s take.
Meanwhile, Trump is slashing his way through regulations, and he reportedly plans to cut the EPA’s climate work after the confirmation of his nominee to lead the agency, Scott Pruitt. Pruitt, incidentally, once distributed an accusatory letter with his signature to the EPA, while working as the attorney general of Oklahoma, that was later found to have been written by lobbyists in the oil and gas industries.
The Trump administration can’t expect to reign in the rampant dissent within its own ranks if they continue to circumvent the normal flow of information. Writing secret executive orders in dark corners then denying their existence won’t fly forever. Ignoring the work of America’s best and brightest scientists to appease the alt-right might have won him one election, but its ability to do so a second time is far from certain. The smoke will settle, and reality will set in.
Government agencies are in place to provide the administration the most complete information available on complex issues to help the White House make the most informed decision possible (whether you want to or not, Mr. President). They are not merely puppets that you can perform speeches in front of and parade around at your every whim. Until that realization is come to by the 45th, expect the current trend of leaks to continue.