The Hand of the King

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Here’s a thought – will we see fewer leaks coming out of the White House after the departure of White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.  We should ask ourselves if he was the leaker-in-chief.  We could also ask ourselves if he was the reason White House staffers leaking information found it necessary to reveal what was going on behind closed doors because they didn’t agree with Bannon and his ideology.  Was there ever a consensus that the team President Trump assembled had the interests of all Americans at heart?  After all, Bannon, in my view, was the embodiment of the American Alt-Right and he had the ear of our country’s leader.  For those us who are die hard Game of Thrones fans, Bannon was the Hand of the King.

We should all agree that a lack of confidentiality among the ranks of leadership (and those assisting leaders) breeds a fundamentally a flawed approach to governance and problem-solving.  And when you can’t keep the confidence of the leader you assist you should not be there.  On the other hand, leaking information vital to our national security is a serious crime, but no one’s being prosecuted!  No one’s going to jail.  We know about these criminal disclosures because journalists, who are left few options by the White House Communications Office, have nearly all become  investigative reporters making sure the American people’s right to know break these stories “from sources close to”  . . . well, you fill in the blank at the end of that sentence.  In the long run, because each leak seems more shocking than the last, we seem to simply forget about the source.  Then, we rarely differentiate between the leaks that are planned as part of an administration’s media strategy, the information provided by legitimate whistleblowers and the criminal activity of public servants who have violated the trust placed in them as career or appointed employees.  Is that what America has become?

It seems strange to me that all Americans are not outraged that we have one leak after the other out of or about the White House.  But the leaks appear to be our conduit to understanding what’s going on in the White House.  We really don’t see any significant policy emanating from there.  We don’t necessarily believe that there’s true leadership within those walls.  Many say that the most visible Trump administration strategy is simply reversal of any and everything accomplished by the Obama administration.  Essentially, we have no choice if we want to keep abreast of the activities of this administration.  But we shouldn’t forget about the leakers.

Look, we shouldn’t tolerate this type of behavior from people entrusted to serve our government.  It doesn’t matter whether you voted for the President or not.  If you have a security clearance and you violate all the rules governing the information protected by that clearance, you should not be protected by anyone.  Essentially, I question whether we have it right with regard to the lack of communication we have seen from the Trump administration.  Investigative journalism shouldn’t be the only means to receive communications regarding the leadership of our country.  Should we simply settle for information from the likes of Bannon and/or his enemies in the White House or demand a communication structure that keeps us informed?

The way the White House treats leaks reminds me of how they treated polls during the 2016 President campaign.  Every time a poll showed him behind, then-candidate Trump made a mighty noise about how the election was rigged.  And he blamed the media.   Sometimes I think my wife and I were the only people in our circle that understood that what he really meant was that the election was rigged in his favor.  Bannon certainly knew that.  He brought the chickens home to roost for the campaign.  He brought the American Alt-Right.  Likewise, the Trump White House has made a lot of noise about leaks.  I ask myself each day whether the breaking news was orchestrated by Bannon or were the leaks desperate attempts by others in the White House that simply wanted to take their country back . . . from the American Alt-Right.

1 thought on “The Hand of the King

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