It’s the hid­den source of na­tional se­cu­rity pol­icy.

The Washington Post Sunday - - OUTLOOK -

Ac­cord­ing to some on the right, there ex­ists a group of un­ac­count­able men and women who have col­lec­tively de­cided to go rogue. For­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Michael Flynn “was ousted by for­mer Obama of­fi­cials to pro­tect [the] Iran Deal,” re­ported the Blaze, a con­ser­va­tive site. And ac­cord­ing to some on the left, in­clud­ing civil lib­er­tar­ian Glenn Green­wald, deep-state of­fi­cials want to make sure Rus­sia re­mains an en­emy of the United States.

The re­al­ity is that the deep state is a ma­jor, hid­den am­pli­fier of na­tional se­cu­rity pol­icy that is set by elected of­fi­cials and car­ried out pri­mar­ily through pub­lic com­mu­ni­ca­tion, con­cen­trated diplo­macy and overt mil­i­tary ac­tion. After 9/11, for in­stance, the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion de­cided that pre­emp­tively killing ter­ror­ists be­fore they could strike the home­land was a top pri­or­ity. The mil­i­tary car­ried out that pol­icy by war, as did the CIA’s drone fleet. Sim­i­larly, the CIA’s “en­hanced in­ter­ro­ga­tion” pro­gram mor­phed quickly into a state-sanc­tioned tor­ture regime, be­cause the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion wanted it to work and as­sumed it was work­ing. The pol­icy was ap­proved at the high­est lev­els of our gov­ern­ment by ci­ti­zens we elected to serve us. Con­gres­sional lead­ers knew the gist of what was hap­pen­ing, even if they didn’t get all the de­tails.

If Pres­i­dent Trump de­cides to reach out to Vladimir Putin, the deep state will help him, even if the prod­uct of its in­tel­li­gence­gath­er­ing sug­gests wari­ness and cau­tion. Th­ese op­er­a­tions are merely meant to as­sist dif­fi­cult po­lit­i­cal choices made by the ex­ec­u­tive branch.

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