Political allies of President Donald Trump say he is the victim of the "Deep State" — a group of government officials working in concert to leak damaging information about him, The Hill reported.
But Trump's critics insist the existence of a deep state is nothing more than a conspiracy theory floated by right-wing media outlets, the website reported.
The issue of leaks and who is responsible comes to the forefront this week as fired FBI Director James Comey is scheduled to testify before Congress.
However, the existence of a deep state continues to divide officials, The Hill noted.
David Bossie, who served as deputy campaign manager for Trump in 2016, told The Hill: "Call it what you want — leaks, deep state, or the permanent bureaucracy — it is dangerous for government employees to engage in activities that undermine a sitting president. This issue must be addressed immediately and in a bipartisan manner."
And even former Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich maintained the deep state within the bureaucracy is trying to "destroy Donald Trump's presidency," according to Fox News.
Kucinich claimed a "politicization" of intentionally nonpartisan agencies has resulted in leaks and a "threat to our republic."
The Hill's Niall Stanage wrote: "Perhaps the most dramatic example of a leak came when The Washington Post learned that Michael Flynn had discussed sanctions with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kisylak, during the transition period.
"The information led to Flynn's firing after the shortest-ever tenure as national security adviser."
But there are those who remain skeptical about a deep state, The Hill noted.
Gene Coyle, who worked for the CIA for 30 years, expressed doubt on whether it exists, but said there is no question Trump is justified in his concern about the leaks.
"If you are that appalled at the actions of an administration, you should quit, hold a press conference and publicly state your objections," said Coyle, a former field operations officer.
"You can't run an executive branch if more and more people think, 'I don't like the policies of this president, therefore I will leak information to make him look bad.'"
And Malcolm Nance, a retired naval intelligence officer and MSNBC contributor, said the idea of a deep state is silly, according to The Hill.
"What people want to do is take this crazy conspiracy theory… and use it as a bludgeon against the people," Nance said.
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