Donald Trump has been slow to fill administrative positions that require Senate confirmation (and thus public scrutiny), but he's quietly hired 400 "beachhead team" members "to serve as his eyes and ears at every major federal agency, from the Pentagon to the Department of Interior" — a rats' nest of ex-lobbyists running agencies they used to lobby, campaign staffers being given cushy jobs, neo-nutjobs from the Breitbart depths who endorse birtherism and other, more exotic conspiracy theories, and a whole Mos Eisley Cantina's worth of scum and villainy.
This motley crew was hired in secret with their identities kept under wraps until Pro Publica used public records requests to reveal their identities, down to little Danny Tiso, who just graduated from high school in 2015, but is now a senior manager at the Department of Labor, having filled the intervening time campaigning for one Donald J Trump (who campaigned on a pledge of "draining the swamp").
Also included are the likes of Alexandra Campau, a healthcare lobbyist now fronting for the department of Health and Human Services; Justin Mikolay, former Palantir lobbyist, now installed at the DoD; and Chad Wolf, a former defense lobbyist now an official "advisor" to the TSA — they are part of a cohort of 36 registered lobbyists that are among the crop of gators that Trump brought to the swamp with him. That's a big undercount of lobbyists, too: most lobbyists exploit loopholes that let them get away without registering.
Jon Perdue, a self-described guerrilla warfare expert and fellow at a little-known security think tank, wrote a book called "The War of All the People: The Nexus of Latin American Radicalism and Middle Eastern Terrorism." He is also a onetime contributor to Breitbart.
Perdue was featured on CNBC's reality series "Make Me a Millionaire Inventor" for his invention, the Packbow, which Perdue came up with while studying "collapsed societies, and what people who lived in those societies came up with to either defend themselves or to survive." It's a bow and arrow that doubles as a compass, tent pole, walking stick, spearfishing rig, and water purification tablet receptacle.
Perdue was hired as a special assistant at the Treasury Department. The agency didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
John Jaggers ran the Trump campaign in Maryland and Virginia, where he made headlines for endorsing the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was "very, very sick and they're covering it up." As he put it last August: "The woman who seeks to be the first female president of the United States wears a wool coat at every single thing. Have you ever stopped to wonder why? It's a big deal, folks."
Jaggers was hired Jan. 20 as senior adviser at the General Services Administration, which oversees tens of billions of dollars of government procurement every year. But records show he left the job on March 3. He declined to comment.
Meet the Hundreds of Officials Trump Has Quietly Installed Across the Government
[Justin Elliott, Derek Kravitz and Al Shaw/Pro Publica]