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Who is 'Anonymous' author Miles Taylor?

Who is 'Anonymous' author Miles Taylor?
© Greg Nash

A two-year Washington mystery finally ended Wednesday when Miles Taylor revealed that he had authored a previously anonymous op-ed published in 2018 declaring himself part of a secret “resistance” within the Trump administration.

The op-ed, which appeared in The New York Times, faced both praise from some of President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid 'white lives matter' protest MORE’s critics as well as its own criticism over the author’s insistence of anonymity and the claims made within the piece.

Among other things, the op-ed claimed that a number of senior administration officials were actively working behind the scenes to thwart “Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”

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“[M]any of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” it continued.

The op-ed’s publication caused a furor in Washington, including denunciations from the White House and the president, who demanded on Twitter that the Times reveal Taylor’s identity.

Some Democrats at the time also criticized the op-ed’s author, with some arguing Taylor should have done more while others, including former President Obama, warned that the actions were “undemocratic.”

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“Anonymous” would strike again in November 2019 with the publication of “A Warning,” which further claimed that Cabinet officials had discussed the potential of removing Trump from office via the 25th Amendment, which would allow the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members to declare the president unfit for office.

Vice President Pence and other senior administration officials denied at the time that those discussions had ever taken place, but the book’s claims about Trump’s decisionmaking further fueled speculation about the identity of “Anonymous.”

That speculation came to an end Wednesday when rumors began circulating that day that the identity of “Anonymous” would be announced, and hours later Taylor’s identity was revealed in tweets from the Times’s Ben Smith and CNN anchor Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperOmar: Minneapolis community is 'on edge' around Chauvin trial GOP governor: Infrastructure proposal looks more like the Green New Deal Sanders says 'a lot more work has to be done' on 'human infrastructure' MORE.

Until late last year, Taylor served as chief of staff to former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenLeft-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' House Republican condemns anti-Trump celebrities during impeachment hearing MORE and the department’s current secretary, Chad WolfChad WolfIntel heads to resume worldwide threats hearing scrapped under Trump Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye passage of infrastructure bill; health experts warn of fourth coronavirus wave Russia suspected of massive State Department email hack: report MORE. During that time, the department faced heavy public criticism over its implementation of the Trump administration’s immigration policy, including provisions that mandated the separation of children from the parents of suspected undocumented immigrants awaiting prosecution for alleged illegal border entry.

He resigned from the administration in November 2019, and in subsequent months has publicly criticized the administration and the president. In August, he again made headlines with allegations that Trump had offered pardons to Department of Homeland Security employees who broke the law while carrying out his administration’s immigration policy. Around this time, he joined with dozens of other former national security officials to endorse former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFederal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Biden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Jill Biden gives shout out to Champ, Major on National Pet Day MORE’s (D) presidential campaign against Trump.

A month later, he would also tell The New York Times that Trump had attempted to rescind an order directing flags be lowered to half-staff following the death of Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainColbert mocks Gaetz after Trump denies he asked for a pardon Five reasons why US faces chronic crisis at border Meghan McCain calls on Gaetz to resign MORE (R-Ariz.), with whom Trump had publicly feuded.

During one media appearance around this time, Taylor was questioned by CNN’s Anderson Cooper as to whether he had authored the 2018 op-ed, which Taylor denied at the time. During an interview with CNN’s Chris CuomoChris CuomoColbert mocks Gaetz after Trump denies he asked for a pardon Universally panned '60 Minutes' hit piece on DeSantis just made him a 2024 frontrunner Former Air Force officer denies Gaetz extortion claims MORE on Wednesday, Taylor offered Cooper a “mea culpa.”

“I owe Anderson Cooper a beer, I owe him a mea culpa, and the same thing for other reporters who at the same time period asked me, 'Are you Anonymous?' and I said no," said Taylor, who added that he lied to allow his anonymous criticism to stand on its own.

The White House responded with sharp criticism for Taylor on Wednesday; White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called Taylor a “low-level, disgruntled former staffer” as well as a “liar and a coward who chose anonymity over action and leaking over leading,” while her boss called on CNN to fire Taylor, who is a paid contributor at the network, and told a crowd at a campaign rally that Taylor should face prosecution.

“Who is Miles Taylor? Said he was 'anonymous', but I don’t know him - never even heard of him. Just another @nytimes SCAM - he worked in conjunction with them. Also worked for Big Tech’s @Google. Now works for Fake News @CNN. They should fire, shame, and punish everybody associated with this FRAUD on the American people!” Trump said in a series of tweets.