National Security Council (NSC) career staffers are purging their social media accounts of any past anti-Trump sentiments, the New York Times reports.
The purge comes amid increased suspicion among NSC political appointees that career officials are leaking key details of the Trump administration’s possible courses of action. These White House political appointees reportedly call these leaks the “insider threat” and are considering monitoring the phone calls and emails of career staffers.
The White House was reportedly incensed by leaks within the NSC of plans by Secretary of Defense James Mattis to have U.S. sailors board an Iranian ship in international waters to search for contraband headed to Houthi rebels in Yemen. Mattis set aside the operation after the plans leaked.
Political appointees on the NSC, like White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, have instead resorted to drafting plans with little paper trail.
“They ran all of these executive orders outside of the normal construct,” one official told Foreign Policy in late January. The effort reflects a deep distrust of career NSC officials, and others within the bureaucracy, who the White House fears will leak plans to the media.
The NSC also experienced an exodus of career officials prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, with many officials saying they did not want to work for him. “Career people are looking get out and go back to their agencies and pressure is being put on them to get them to stay,” a U.S. official told The Guardian in December.
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