Washington seems to be a little pissed off that Anonymous—the character who wrote the 2018 New York Times op-ed about the so-called “resistance” inside President Donald Trump’s administration—turns out to be less the high-ranking confidential source ladling out secrets to the press at midnight in a Rosslyn parking structure and more a low-level munchkin. As promised, Anonymous unmasked himself just before the election, revealing himself as Miles Taylor, who held the title of deputy chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security at the time the op-ed was published.
Oh, the press corps loved the Anonymous story plenty when it broke, unleashing the bloodhounds and assigning forensic linguistics examination on his op-ed and then his 2019 book, A Warning, to sleuth out the author’s identity. The press spun its Rolodexes searching for the “senior administration official,” as the New York Times called him, who had described the president as an inept manager and a menace to the nation. Might he be Ambassador Jon Huntsman or John Bolton? Former Pentagon aide Guy Snodgrass or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo? Or even Vice President Mike Pence? Not since Deep Throat or the search for the Primary Colors author has Washington had so much fun playing whodunit. So what a bringdown it was for all to learn that the guy was a 33-year-old relative nobody.
Some critics of Taylor seek to disqualify his whistleblowing because so much awfulness played out at DHS during his tenure—why was he whistleblowing the president but not DHS? But the biggest gripe seems to be about where he fits in the hierarchy of power. Across Twitter and elsewhere people are furious with Taylor for puffing himself up to be something bigger than he is. Still others were ticked off at the New York Times for inflating his standing when his position and his physical demeanor appeared to be much more junior. “I would not describe him as a senior administration official,” former Clinton administration press secretary Joe Lockhart told the Washington Post.