the corridors of power
the senior levels of government or administration where covert influence is regarded as being exerted and significant decisions are made
This expression comes from the title of C. P. Snow's novel The Corridors of Power (1964). Although most usual with power, the phrase can be more specifically applied to the most influential levels of the hierarchy within a particular place or organization, especially when they are regarded as operating covertly. The French word coulisse (meaning the wings in a theatre and corridor) has a similar figurative sense of the corridor as a place of negotiation and behind-the-scenes scheming.
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