March 2, 2021 at 9:33 am #100002104zpodiumKeymaster
The dossier lists fifteen bullet points as the likely profile of the author, and several of them turned out to be wrong, including that the person was a “Female With Several Children,” a “Middle East Expert, Pro-Israel, Iran Hawk,” an “Experienced Writer” who had ties to former national security adviser John Bolton and who worked at the National Security Council and not at a Cabinet agency.
The Dec. 2, 2019, memo, entitled “Identity of Anonymous” and which has never been published publicly, seems to reverse-engineer the search for Anonymous and cherry-pick clues to pin the blame on Coates.
The memo — which was riddled with incorrect theories — shows how Anonymous set off significant turmoil inside the White House and also how senior officials were eager to go after their colleagues.
Anonymous turned out to be Miles Taylor, who was the chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security and eventually became an outspoken Trump critic before revealing himself as Anonymous in late October of last year.
Besides pushing a populist trade agenda for Trump, Navarro focused heavily on trying to figure out who Anonymous was. Ironically, for a dossier discussing who Anonymous was, the memo is unsigned. But three former Trump administration officials said that Navarro had written it. Two officials said that he gave it to then-White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney in January, who never believed Navarro’s findings.
Navarro did not have a comment.
Mulvaney was “irritated” by Navarro’s memo and told Navarro, “I don’t have time for this,” said one of the former officials.
The person said that Navarro had shared that Trump was “aware” of the memo, and another said that “Navarro was pimping the idea that Victoria was Anonymous to the President.”
Mulvaney declined to comment on the record.
Coates told POLITICO that she had heard that the memo was sent to Trump. A spokesperson for Trump had no comment.
“There is no question in my mind that it got Victoria fired,” said one of the former officials.
Asked why Navarro targeted Coates in the first place, another former official said only he had “decided she was a globalist early on.”
Despite telling CNN in February 2020 that the extent of his hunt was just reading and thinking about the book and op-ed, a person familiar with the matter said that Navarro was clearly circulating his theory around town and that he floated the notion that Coates was Anonymous to a reporter at The Washington Post, but the Post was not able to verify Navarro’s claims. A Post spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Asked by CNN last February if he thought Coates was Anonymous, he said: “Suspects are everywhere.” He also called hunting for the author a “vocation.”
“It’s shocking to realize senior administration officials were so easily duped by this garbage,” Coates said in a statement. “President Trump was not well served.”
The report lists six points that Navarro offered as “major corroborating evidence” that Coates was Anonymous, including that she had written under an anonymous pen name before on a blog and had two “indirect” links to the word “lodestar” and the Flight 93 metaphor used in the book’s epilogue.
Part of the memo discusses Navarro’s contention that because the op-ed and book were made up of “short declarative sentences,” that it was likely that they had the person had written previous op-eds or books.
That helped Navarro point to Coates as the likely author, given that she had written an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and a 2016 book called “David’s Sling: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art” and helped in the writing of books by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The real author, Taylor, had never written a book before; “A Warning” was his first published book.
The memo also believes that the author is a “Female with Several Children” and points to how Coates dedicated her art history book to her husband and her two kids “who make everything worthwhile.” “A Warning” was dedicated to “My children” even though Taylor currently has no kids. (The book did say: “Certain details have been withheld or modified without changing the facts in order to preserve the anonymity of those involved.”)
The strongest piece of evidence that Navarro seemed to have was Coates’ ties to the two former Rumsfeld aides who started the literary agency that sold Anonymous’ book, Javelin.
“It is an open debate as to whether Javelin is simply a mercenary that will sell anything that will sell or whether it is an agency with a particular Never Trump agenda,” Navarro writes.
While Keith Urbahn and Matt Latimer of Javelin had initially said they would not confirm or deny specific individuals had written “A Warning,” after Coates got on thin ice at the White House because of the Anonymous rumors, they backtracked and publicly denied she was the author.
“To be very clear so there is no chance of any misunderstanding: Dr. Coates is not Anonymous,” Latimer said in a statement last February. “She does not know who Anonymous is. We have never discussed Anonymous or the book, A WARNING, with her prior to its publication. She did not write it, edit it, see it in advance, know anything about it, or as far we know ever read it.”
But that was not enough to save her job, and she was eventually moved to the Department of Energy as the senior policy adviser in late February. (Her boss at the time, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, said in a statement that she had “served the president loyally since the earliest days of the administration” but did not publicly say at the time she wasn’t Anonymous.)
The only “conclusions” listed in the memo appeared to reflect the possibility that Coates wasn’t actually anonymous.
“While there is a reasonable probability that our POI may be Anonymous, our POI may also be innocent,” Navarro wrote. “Extreme care must be taken in any investigation of this matter, and one should presume innocence until actually proven guilty.”
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