Consent of the governed.
In the meantime, some EPA people, long ago, developed their own “resistance strategies.” For instance, Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator in Barack Obama’s first term, had a nifty Deep State tactic—she hid her identity, even with her own agency. As far back as 2009, Jackson was using a fictitious name, “Richard Windsor,” for her e-mail, in a seeming attempt to evade the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and other transparency laws. By some reckonings, such evasion might be counted as a crime, but Jackson suffered no ill consequences. In fact, she is now a well-paid vice president at Apple.
Given that sort of no-penalty precedent, it’s little wonder that a pervasive culture of clandestine operating still permeates EPA. To illustrate, we might recall an EPA inspector general’s report prepared at the behest of the House Republicans: In 2014-2015, EPA employees sent or received 3.1 million text messages on government-issued devices; of these, just 86 were archived for the federal records. So what were all the rest of those 3-million-plus texts about? Maybe they were all personal, or maybe they were leaks, or maybe they were back-and-forths with Lisa Jackson—we’ll never know. And we can underscore: that’s just on government equipment; who knows what’s been happening on personal equipment, and on personal accounts.
So as we can see, secrecy is one weapon that EPA lifers can deploy. Another weapon is complexity. The same Times reporter on the environmental beat, Coral Davenport, recently interviewed Jackson’s successor at EPA, Gina McCarthy, who served from 2013 to 2017. McCarthy was eager to outline the torturous process that the Trump administration would have to follow to undo Obama regulations:
If you want to do these executive orders that require a whole rewrite of the rule, you have to get that right, legally. It took years to do those rules. To now ask for those things to be undone with less staff and low morale—how are they going to do it?
Yes, that’s standard Deep State stuff. As bureaucrats like to say to the political appointees of any administration, “We were here when you arrive, and we’ll still be here when you depart. In fact, by the time you figure out how things really work, it’ll be time for you to go!” In other words, the Deep State is eternal, and throughout that eternity, Deepists have mastered the arcane procedures needed to make any sort of change. So the message to interlopers is simple: Do it our way, or else face frustration, or even failure.
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
- Robert J. Hanlon.
Consent of the governed.
Nepotism begins at home