This one is writing a book.
Courtesy of WaPo:
The Justice Department is looking for identifying details about the anonymous Trump administration official who excoriated the president’s “amorality” in an unsigned New York Times opinion column last year, according to a letter the agency sent Monday.
The author of the column, whose identity has remained a secret for more than a year, has also written a tell-all book that will publish this month — and Assistant Attorney General Joseph H. Hunt wants proof that the writer is not bound by a government nondisclosure agreement.
Either that, Hunt wrote in the letter, or the book’s publisher and the author’s agents should turn over the official’s employment information: where in the government the person worked, and when he or she worked there. If the official had access to classified information, Hunt warned, the book should be “submitted for pre-publication review.”
The book has been billed as the behind-the-scenes sequel to the searing column, which described a White House in dangerous disarray and an internal “resistance” force that sought to thwart Trump’s “misguided impulses.” The Times identified the author only as “a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure.” The book will list the author as “Anonymous.”
The letter — addressed to Carol Ross at the publishing company Hachette Book Group and literary agents Matt Latimer and Keith Urbahn of Javelin — was part of the agency’s “routine fact-gathering process,” said a Justice Department official.
But Latimer denounced Hunt’s request as an attempt to “intimidate and expose the senior official who has seen misconduct at the highest levels.”
Now it is true that folks working in the intelligence community are legally required to have books reviewed by the Justice Department before they can be published, but from what we know about Anonymous they supposedly worked inside the White House as a staffer or low level official.
Of course, we also know that White House staff were all required to sign nondisclosure agreements, but there is some question as to whether those would hold up in court.
If this were any other White House it might seem reasonable to ask for information that would allow the Justice Department to decide whether they were bound by NDAs or regulations regarding book deals.
But this is the Trump Justice Department which means that the second this person’s name is shared it will be all over Fox News.
This is Trump’s go to tactic for intimidating whistleblowers, impeachment witnesses, and potential tell all book authors.