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Man Who Cracked Primary Colors Thinks He Knows 'Anonymous'

Kusnet believes author is Mattis speechwriter
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2019 6:32 AM CST
Then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks beside President Trump during a briefing with senior military leaders last year.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
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(Newser) – David Kusnet, the former Bill Clinton speechwriter who deduced that Joe Klein wrote Primary Colors, believes he has figured out the identity of another anonymous author. Kusnet writes in the New Republic that he strongly suspects, based on a "close reading of the text," that the author of Trump takedown A Warning is Guy Snodgrass, "an apolitical retired Navy commander who became chief speechwriter for former Defense Secretary James Mattis." Kusnet says A Warning—which has been denounced by the White House—has strong similarities in style to Snodgrass's recent memoir Holding the Line from the same publisher. "The sentences and paragraphs are pithy and punchy," he writes. "Every chapter in both books begins with an inspiring but not cliché quotation from a historic figure."

Both books contain remarkably similar passages about Trump and foreign policy, and both narrators "sympathized with Trump voters' desire to shake up the political system," Kusnet writes. "No other contender seems to share Snodgrass’s wide-ranging knowledge, story-telling skills, and willingness to make enemies to make important points," he writes. He admits that there are discrepancies—including the fact that Snodgrass would not have been present at many White House meetings—but suggests the author may have had help from others disillusioned with Trump. In a Fox News appearance Monday, Snodgrass declined to confirm or deny that he is Anonymous, but described attempts to guess the author's identity as "the latest in a long series of DC parlor games." (The Justice Department wants to know more about the author.)

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