Deep State From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
“For other uses, see Deep state (disambiguation). “State within a state” redirects here. A deep state is a type of governance made up of potentially secret and unauthorised networks of power operating independently of a state’s political leadership in pursuit of their own agenda and goals. In popular usage, the term carries overwhelmingly negative connotations, although this does not reflect scholarly understanding. The range of possible uses of the term is similar to that for shadow government.”
Nowhere in the Constitution does it carve out a spot for secretive bureaucracies that never have to answer to the public.
Much ink has been spilled over the past few years on the subject of “the deep state”, what it is, who operates it, where it is located, whether it is secretly working. It has therefore become important to undertake a more serious treatment of the deep state, one that avoids the pitfalls of the partisan fracas. On December 6th and January 6th , President Trump’s Words Shook the World. . . Video below:
To attempt a definition, the deep state is that portion of the federal administrative bureaucracy that is unaccountable, secretive and opaque, relatively permanent, and armed with extremely dangerous powers, regularly abused (though we might observe here that such powers themselves are abuses per se).
Of particular importance here are the military, intelligence, and national security components of this apparatus, not only because their activities are the most dangerous and most offensive to the rule of law, but because they are the most secretive and unresponsive to electoral politics.
Nominally and formally a part of the executive branch, this bureaucracy is a de facto fourth branch, nowhere contemplated by the Constitution, isolated from any notion of popular sovereignty. It is unaccountable in that it acts with impunity and without meaningful oversight from the people’s representatives in Congress or from the President.
There is no one to check it or rein it in. Almost all of its actions are kept secret, privileged and classified as implicating sensitive national security concerns; the deep state is thus completely lacking in transparency, always pointing to the safety and security of American citizens to justify its secrets. Related to its secrecy is its mendacity, its reliance on a systematic program of lies and disinformation designed to hide its actions from the public and the democratic branches of government.
Also: List of Indictments, Arrests and Executions – Dismantling the Deep State Operatives and Doubles. January 29, 2021
So commonplace are the lies of the intelligence and national security establishment that American journalists on the whole no longer even feign surprise or outrage when intelligence bigwigs like James Clapper and Michael Hayden (to give just two prominent examples) brazenly lie to our elected representatives; they are handsomely rewarded for their “service,” uniformly belauded by the Right People with the Right Opinions. This is dangerous to a free society, more dangerous than Trump’s ridiculous brand of Know Nothingism.
The deep state is also characterized by its relative permanence, its personnel remaining in their positions regardless of who occupies the White House. Indeed, the “deep” in “deep state” denotes, perhaps, elements that are abiding or enduring, unchanged by the country’s two and four‐year electoral substitutions, a group of permanent power centers underneath, if you will, politics.
Finally, it is defined by the kind of absolute power it wields, the power of life and death, its very real license to kill—and to do so outside of the judicial process, beyond the reach of the law (domestic or international) and elected officials.
It kills, tortures, imprisons, spies, and conspires in the overthrow of foreign governments all without any requirement that it answer to anyone. We must ask how a supposed liberal democracy reconcile itself to such power.
It is interesting to witness elite Beltway centrists grapple with the deep state as an object of commentary, to see them vacillate between two irreconcilable positions:
(A) the deep state does not exist, but is only a ridiculous, though still dangerous, right‐wing conspiracy theory concocted by Trump apologists to damage faith in government institutions and legitimate civil service;
(B) something like the deep state certainly exists, but is worthy of praise and admiration as the locus of the knowledge, expertise, and superior judgment of qualified professionals who have nobly chosen to serve their country rather than making lots of money in the private sector.
The defenders of this extra‐democratic infrastructure, found in the so‐called “reasonable center,” appear to be willfully ignorant of its dark history. In a piece titled “God bless the ‘deep state,’” Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson gushed, “the deep state stands between us and the abyss.” In order to sincerely believe this, one would have to know virtually nothing about the record of criminality associated with the intelligence agencies and the FBI.
Still, however horrifying is the notion “God bless the deep state,” it at least has its transparent embrace of authoritarianism to recommend it; it is, for that reason alone, to be preferred to either the proud ignorance or outright dishonesty of the view that the deep state (whatever we choose to call it—on which more below) simply does not exist. Those among the Beltway literati who acknowledge that it does believe that this kind of power is good and proper insofar as it is exercised by the Right People, by people like them, urbane professionals who hold the Right Opinions, attend the right charity events, and hold the appropriate level of scorn for Donald Trump.
To distrust “our expert civil servants” is, for progressives, evidence of a lack of sophistication, a crude populism or anti‐elitism that unthinkingly resents achievement and expertise. This sycophantic, near‐absolute deference to and respect for the intelligence and national security elite may be the single worst thing to come out of the Trump years, worse even than any of the administration’s own actions.
It is striking that the most knowledgeable and articulate critics of this system of government have no interest in “the Trump circus,” as William M. Arkin called it. Arkin and his like have been focused on a deeper and more serious threat, “the increasing power of the national security community” and “the creeping fascism of homeland security,” subjects in which the news media seem to have no interest whatsoever, particularly since the election of Donald Trump.
Upon his election, or perhaps as his campaign became more viable, the character of the conversation around the deep state changed; it took on the appearance of a shallow partisan talking point and a nutty conspiracy theory rather a subject of serious scholarly and journalistic inquiry, which is what it had been for years before Trump entered the political fray.
In his book National Security and Double Government , international law scholar Michael J. Glennon identifies a “Trumanite network” responsible more than anything else for the transfer of power from the Constitution’s three branches of government “to unelected bureaucrats who run the national security apparatus.”
He argues that we have moved in the direction of an “autocracy” with less and less democratic accountability. “The watchdogs are asleep at the switch,” he says, speaking of Congress. Congress didn’t know torture black sites existed, for example, among many other crimes and abuses to which they were blind. John Kerry, at the time Secretary of State, remarked that many of the government’s surveillance programs have been “on automatic pilot,” with no one in the civilian government able to stop or control them.
And as President Obama said, “The CIA gets what it wants.” It could’ve been said no less accurately of any of the other national security agencies. It must be noted that Glennon takes care to distinguish this Trumanite network from the deep state, pointing out that there was never a conscious or deliberate decision to adopt this system—that the United States rather drifted into it.
He contends that to refer to the system of double government he describes in his book as entailing the deep state only confuses matters. For Glennon, the definition of the deep state requires a kind of shadowy conspiracy to commandeer or overthrow legitimate democratic government, a “silent coup, in which a group of nefarious plotters has taken over the government of the United States.” And that, he says, is not how double government has emerged in America.
Also: CIA Top Secret List of 8 Million Names Who Will Be Rounded Up When Martial Law Is Imposed (video)