Scale of media leaks against Trump indicates US Deep State coup agenda

Finian Cunningham
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.
Scale of media leaks against Trump indicates US Deep State coup agenda
The unprecedented level of unauthorized media leaks aimed at damaging president Donald Trump over the past six months is an issue that goes way beyond freedom of press rights. It’s a sign of how powerful, secretive forces within the US state want this president ousted.

This week, US attorney general Jeff Sessions claimed the number of Justice Department investigations into government leaks had tripled compared with under the Obama administration. If that’s the case, then that marks an extraordinary extent of insubordination against president Trump.

As the Washington Post reported: “It was the first public confirmation of the breadth of the Justice Department’s efforts to crack down on unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information.”

Who is behind the leaks? It could be from employees within the administration, working at the State Department or DOJ. It could be from people within the president’s staff at the White House, as the ugly spat last week between former communications chief Anthony Scaramucci and former chief of staff Reince Priebus appeared to indicate.

More likely though, the flood of leaks over the past six months since Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president, has come from people within the intelligence agencies. That’s the informed assessment of former State Department official James Jatras.

The intelligence nexus – including the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation – are also the forces which would have complete and total access to all electronic communications, not just out of the White House, but across the entire world. Former NSA staff, like whistleblowers Edward Snowden and William Binney, have confirmed the technical capacity for such unlawful surveillance against US citizens and indeed foreign leaders, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The anti-Trump news media in the US have tended to relate the leaking issue to the right of free speech. The attorney general’s announcement that the Justice Department and FBI are to go after leakers more aggressively, as well as consider the possibility of prosecuting media reporters for publishing articles based on leaked information, have been criticized as having a “chilling effect” on free speech.

Sessions, the attorney general, said that law enforcement officers would review policy on subpoenaing journalists to reveal sources. Refusal to reveal sources could result in prosecution and jail sentences for reporters. Such a development would indeed denote a serious infringement of accepted journalistic protections.

Nevertheless, such First Amendment concerns over the right to free speech in this context seem rather contorted. The facts seem to indicate that the Trump presidency is being assailed by anonymous political enemies and that the media leaks are a key battleground for undermining his authority.

Surely, the more disconcerting issue is how secretive agencies have been waging a non-stop media campaign over the past six months to destabilize an elected president. It seems misplaced to treat the issue, and the latest reaction of the Trump administration, as simply a matter of press freedom – when a full-on information war is being conducted to damage Trump.

Strangely enough – despite the torrent of disclosures – nothing has emerged to merit charges of criminality against Trump. Admittedly, he and his entourage have been revealed as reactionary, uncouth, bigoted, distasteful and so on. But there’s nothing criminal.

And certainly, on the relentless media claims of Russian meddling in the US election and collusion with the Trump campaign, not one piece of evidence has emerged from the deluge of leaks. That outcome in itself would tend to prove that the whole “Russian collusion” narrative that has dominated major media like the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN for the past six months, has all been a tempest in a thimble.
Trump has a point. If his private conversations with foreign leaders are subsequently leaked to media, then that represents a national security threat and a gross violation of his authority to negotiate with international counterparts.

The disclosures this week in the Washington Post of transcripts to the phone calls between Trump and the Australian premier, as well as, separately, the Mexican president, may not appear to have much importance. Trump comes across as boorish and racist when he refers to the subject of immigration.

His personality also seems bullying and feckless. The private exchanges almost sound funny if not cringeworthy.

Still, the leaking and publishing of these private conversations are a gross infringement of the president’s authority. What if the subject of the conversation was nuclear weapons? What if Trump’s interlocutor had been Russian president Vladimir Putin?

What the leaks are about is an agenda to destabilize, neutralize and even oust the Trump presidency. It has been cogently argued elsewhere that the unelected dominant forces of the US Deep State – the intelligence-military-industrial complex – did not want Donald Trump to win the presidential election last year.

They wanted his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton to prevail. For one urgent reason that she was willing to pursue a more confrontational foreign policy toward Russia. Trump’s oft-repeated desire to normalize US-Russia relations is anathema to the vested interests of the Deep State.

Ever since his ascent to the White House, powerful sections of the US elite have refused to accept the presidential election result. The Trump presidency has been hobbled at every turn. This has primarily taken the form of accusations of collusion with Russia, for which three high-level investigations have been appointed – and with nothing to show so far.

The continual commotion over media leaks is another weapon wielded against the Trump administration. As the New York Times noted about the tripling of leak investigations under Trump, compared with Obama, that represents a “significant devotion of resources” and distraction from normal government business.

As with the recent imposition of new sanctions against Russia by the US Congress, the purpose is to put a straitjacket on Trump’s ability to negotiate with Moscow for restoring bilateral relations.

Thus the leaking of sensitive, private information is another form of straitjacketing. If Trump knows he can’t have a phone call with an Australian prime minister without it being plastered all over the media, how is he going to hold any meaningful discussions with Russia’s Putin?

The irony here is that the Trump administration’s crackdown on leakers is being labelled by some media outlets as having a “chilling effect” on press freedom.

The real, more disturbing, chilling effect is coming from Trump’s enemies within the Deep State who want to show this incumbent of the White House that he has no power to pursue policies that they don’t want.

The object lesson here is to show the limits of American democracy. The people can vote for whomever they like, but the real powers-that-be will decide the fate of the president.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.