In an extraordinarily comprehensive deep dive into the chaos that attended the takeover of the National Security Council by Donald Trump's appointees, Politico reveals that staffers both hid and shared documents and opinions that they believed documented possible illegal acts.
Describing the turmoil that came when Trump installed now-disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn who ordered sea changes in U.S. policies involving allies and opponents alike, Politico described career officials fearful they might be involved in possible lawbreaking.
Stating the career officials "created an underground," Politico reports "officials sought ways to quietly share information with colleagues in other agencies and among themselves just so that the relevant officials would know what was happening."
Saying they wanted to leave a record of what was occurring under the Trump administration, staffers put "certain ideas and opinions in emails or copying other agencies on communications."
"Many staffers knew that by including the agencies, the information would more likely be subject to the Freedom of Information Act and could one day see the light of day or even land in history books," Politico reports. "Some admit they hoped that people in the agencies would leak the information to reporters. And many acknowledge they wanted a record, somewhere, of themselves objecting to policies they thought could be illegal."
Staffers also made use of tools that would hold the documents while being reviewed thus making them available to anyone searching for them.
"Many printed reams of material they could put in their 'box' — the package of NSC staffers’ work material that is archived and eventually made available to the public," the report states. "One person said that although he spent three times longer at the NSC under Obama than under Trump, he had only one 'box' for Obama and three for Trump."
The report also states that longtime foreign policy experts in the department were dismayed with new Trump appointees.
"These people are incompetent. They literally don’t know what they’re doing, and they don’t care to know what they’re doing,’” one NSC staffer explained. ‘I don’t know why I’m doing this. Nobody listens to professional advice.”
You can read more here.