The news division was not told about the publication of the op-ed (even Times executive editor Dean Baquet was kept in the dark) and its reporters covering the White House have no idea who the anonymous official is. The op-ed's author claims they're part of a resistance within the administration.
The unsigned piece appeared to reinforce the claims made in a new book by journalist Bob Woodward, excerpts of which were made public Tuesday, that describes a virtual cabal of high-minded White House and cabinet officials scheming to prevent Trump from taking decisions damaging to the USA economy and national security.
"I thought I would be more effective by retaining my public role then getting involved in either the treatment of those who were feeling scared or in the actual intervention with the President", she added.
Other possibilities for the op-ed author in the political guessing game include everyone from James Mattis to John Kelly and even Ivanka or Melania Trump.
The former NY businessman and reality TV star has had an unusually high level of staff turnover and has sometimes publicly criticized his top aides. "Unidentified sources have become the majority of the voices people hear about in today's news".
President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Thursday evening to ask if New York Times journalists are going to "investigate themselves" over the op-ed written anonymously by one of his administration's officials.
Dao would not expand on the definition of "senior official" and said only a "very small number" of people at the New York Times knows the author's identity.
Defense Secretary Mattis said, "The contemptuous words about the president attributed to me in Woodward's book were never uttered by me or in my presence".
In the column, the author presents a damning assessment of the Trump presidency and suggests there is a network of officials working behind the scenes to protect the nation from Trump.
A spokesman for Pence said the vice president does not write anonymous opinion columns.
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In one example, former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn reportedly took a letter off Trump's desk to keep him from signing it because Cohn feared the consequences for the US position in Asia.
"This is just another example of the liberal media's concerted effort to discredit the President", White House Press Secretary Sanders said.
"So if the failing New York Times has an anonymous editorial, can you believe it", Trump added.
Another MSNBC talking head, Howard Fineman, said that he was troubled by the fact that the op-ed appears to describe how "unelected aides have staged a slo-mo coup".
"If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to the government at once!" he tweeted.
"He's this dumb Southerner", Trump is quoted as saying while mocking Sessions' accent in Woodward's new book.
Conservatives were adamant that they were wrong - leaping on yet another reason to chastise an outlet that Trump has accused of peddling "fake news".
"We are disappointed, but not surprised, that the paper chose to publish this pathetic, reckless, and selfish op-ed", Sanders said. "I would know. I am one of them".
While Ryan thought that there was no role for Congress to investigate the identity of the writer, close Trump allies like Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said there was a national security component to this saga that might require oversight.