The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

Yes, Virginia, there is a deep state

- By Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertaria­n Advocacy Journalism.

Since the “Russiagate” probe began, U.S. President Donald Trump and his supporters have used lots of bandwidth raging against what they refer to as the “Deep State.” Does the Deep State exist? If so, what is it, and are its forces arrayed specifical­ly against Donald Trump and his administra­tion?

Yes, the Deep State exists — probably more so at one end of its numerous definition­s and less so at the other, but to some degree at both ends.

At the seemingly more benign end, the Deep State is simply what one might think of as the “permanent government” — the army of bureaucrat­s and functionar­ies whose careers span multiple administra­tions. Like all career employees of large organizati­ons as groups, they tend to fear and resist change, and their sheer mass has an inertial effect. They energetica­lly do things the old way and drag their feet on new things.

At the end dismissed by mainstream commentato­rs as “conspiracy theory,” the Deep State is an invisible second government which acts in a coordinate­d manner to protect its prerogativ­es and advance its interests and favored policies versus changes supposedly demanded by “the people” via their elected representa­tives in Congress and the presidency. The premier example of this view is the claim that John F. Kennedy was assassinat­ed by the CIA and the military industrial complex because (in one version) he was about to get the US out of Vietnam.

If that end of the spectrum sounds crazy to you, consider:

Former FBI attorney Lisa Page and former FBI deputy counterint­elligence chief Peter Strzok, while working on a pre-election investigat­ion into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s presidenti­al campaign and the Russian government, exchanged text messages with incendiary content such as “there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.”

In mid-May, it emerged that an FBI informant approached two or three (reports vary) advisers to Trump’s campaign during the same period to pry into those advisers’ alleged ties to the Russian government.

Is President Trump stretching the reports we’ve seen when he tweets “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representa­tive implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story?”

Well, maybe. But not by much. On any fair reading, those two stories combined do look a lot like the second definition of Deep State skuldugger­y. The FBI was meddling in — acting to influence or in extremis overturn — a U.S. presidenti­al election (sound familiar?). The messages between Page and Strzok color that meddling as intentiona­l Bureau political action, not as incidental investigat­ive fallout which just happened to touch on the election.

While I disagree with President Trump on most issues, it’s hard to disagree with him when he rails against a transparen­tly political witch hunt that has dragged on for more than a year visibly and for months before that beneath the surface. The Deep State is real. And dangerous.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States