The Asymmetric Outrage of Big Government Scandals
Of course not. We know exactly what they would do: leak the emails and memos to the press. Some might even publicly resign in protest, in a noisy press conference with their Pearl Harbor files in hand.
That any significant number of them would have actually followed administration dictates would be unthinkable, because their colleagues and superiors would shun them per the culture described above.
In the real world, none of that happened, of course. There would be a few noble souls who fought it, but for the most part, the troops dutifully went along, because it made perfect sense that enemies of their own agency (and of course the benevolent state itself) must not be allowed to carry out their nefarious and evil schemes. The Constitution is not a suicide pact, after all.
This is the danger the Founders foresaw, but that too many in our day have forgotten or never learned. The State will always attempt to arrogate power unto itself and grow, and will develop intrinsic antibodies to any attempt to rein it in, and defenders of liberty and limited government will always have to wage an uphill fight just to hold the battle lines, let alone avoid continued retreat. Let us hope that in this overreach, it will be (as the state’s defenders might themselves say) a “teachable moment” and a rare opportunity to significantly roll it back.