During an unusual press conference last Friday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions admitted that he was shocked by the number of leaks by various government agencies that had reached the press – most of which have been related to Donald Trump’s contentious presidency.
Apart from condemning the leakers, the head of the department charged with criminal prosecution of federal crimes announced that the number of investigations pertaining to leaks, including the transcript of a conversation between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, had tripled. The attorney general announced that charges had been filed against four people for the unauthorized release of confidential information.
This is the official version of the drama that envelops the most powerful presidency of the world. However, the executive branch can do little to stop the leaks, which are a natural reaction to a series of presidential errors. Many of these revelations have made it possible to understand the modus operandi of the White House with more clarity, which also helps to explain the declining popularity of its principal tenant.
Sessions frames these leaks as a threat to national security, but he fails to mention the threat presented by the central players in these events. In the end, these leaks only reveal a portion of what transpires within the highest governmental chambers.
Appeals to nationalism are of little benefit to the strongest democracy in the world, because they merely attack the consequences of the leaks, without addressing the motives of those who seek the possibility of resistance, or at least of making public some information the state is trying to hide, through leaking information to the media.
Thanks to these leaks, the American president’s cocksure and inappropriate attitude in his dealings with Peña Nieto was revealed to be a charade. Trump’s words prove he is a leader preoccupied with appearances, one who seeks to drag others into his persistent farce in order to justify the unsustainable claims made ad nauseam during the campaign, when he promised to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico — a promise which seems more unlikely to be fulfilled with every passing day.
The attorney general is mistaken in believing that threats will end the leaks, because the information that has come to light during these short but chaotic months has been leaked not only by the intelligence sector, but also by various members of the executive branch and legislative branch, making it clear that there are many people who are not only interested in the flow of information, but who are disposed to disseminate it and demand greater transparency.
A witch hunt, like the one denounced by President Trump, has begun in Washington. However, despite Trump’s claims, this witch hunt is not directed against his presidency, but rather, intends to silence and intimidate those who seek to make the exercise of power more transparent. As the slogan of The Washington Post states: “Democracy dies in darkness.”