I've mentioned former Republican congressional staffer Mike Lofgren in a couple of previous posts. This interview pushes his new book -- “The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government” -- straight to the top of my "must read" list. A few excerpts:
What are the key institutions and players within the deep state?
The key institutions are exactly what people would think they are. The military-industrial complex; the Pentagon and all their contractors (but also, now, our entire homeland security apparatus); the Department of Treasury; the Justice Department; certain courts, like the southern district of Manhattan, and the eastern district of Virginia; the FISA courts. And you got this kind of rump Congress that consists of certain people in the leadership, defense and intelligence committees who kind of know what’s going on. The rest of Congress doesn’t really know or care; they’re too busy looking about the next election.
So that’s the governmental aspect. What about in the private sector?
You’ve got Wall Street. Many of these people — whether it is David Petraeus … or someone like [Bill] Daley, who is the former chief of staff to President Obama … or Hank Paulson, who came from Goldman Sachs to become Treasury Secretary and bailed out Wall Street in 2008; or the people that Obama chose to be Treasury secretary — like Tim Geithner. They all have that Wall Street connection.
And the third thing now is Silicon Valley.
Which raises the question of whether the line between the public sector and the private sector even matters anymore, at least when it comes to the deep state.
It is hard to distinguish them anymore. All these guys simply go through the revolving door to the point where you can hardly distinguish [government employees from private sector workers]. A good percentage of the people sitting at their desks right now in the Pentagon are private sector contractors. They are literally in the Pentagon, in the NSA building, in all these organizations. They are the ones who essentially run the show, by virtue of having the technical knowledge.
Do the people who work in the deep state have a common ideology or narrative that they tell themselves and one another, something that justifies their behavior or explains why their interventions into the democratic process are “necessary”?
I think it’s an ideology that dare not speak its name. They claim it is not an ideology, that it is simply their technocratic expertise giving you the benefit of their knowledge. However, their knowledge is always based on a neoconservative view of foreign policy, [and] in domestic policy, it enforces neoliberalism.
We may interpret this as an insider's confirmation of certain key precepts posited by Peter Dale Scott and other observers.
Jamie's journey. For an interesting example of a "Deep Stater," I invite you to consider the example of Jamie Gorelick, the former Deputy Attorney General during the Clinton administration. After her tour of duty under Clinton, she was transported to a magic land where money rains down from a cloudless sky.
Please note: I am going to link to Gorelick's Wikipedia pageas it currently stands. I suspect that this text may soon morph, so snatch it while you can. Although the person who compiled these facts obviously has an angle, the citations seem to be valid.
While serving as Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton, Gorelick spoke in favor of banning the use of strong encryption and called for a key escrow system to allow the Federal government access to encrypted communication.
Gorelick is a lobbyist for the lending industry fighting student loan reform
Even though she had no previous training nor experience in finance, Gorelick was appointed Vice Chairman of Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) from 1997 to 2003. She served alongside former Clinton Administration official Franklin Raines. During that period, Fannie Mae developed a $10 billion accounting scandal.
On March 25, 2002, Business Week interviewed Gorelick about the health of Fannie Mae. Gorelick is quoted as saying, "We believe we are managed safely. We are very pleased that Moody's gave us an A-minus in the area of bank financial strength – without a reference to the government in any way. Fannie Mae is among the handful of top-quality institutions." One year later, Government Regulators "accused Fannie Mae of improper accounting to the tune of $9 billion in unrecorded losses".
In an additional scandal concerning falsified financial transactions that helped the company meet earnings targets for 1998, a "manipulation" that triggered multimillion-dollar bonuses for top executives, Gorelick received $779,625.
A 2006 report of an investigation by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight into Fannie Mae's accounting practices and corporate governance revealed that from 1998 to 2002 Gorelick received a total of $26,466,834.00 in income.
Is there an honest way for a former government employee to make that kind of money in the finance industry within the space of four years, despite having no experience in that industry? Perhaps so -- but only if we define the word "honest" in the strictest, most legalistic sense.
Our spooky president. Let's return to the Lofgren interview. He has some interesting things to say about Obama:
I once made a joke to a friend that President Obama was to the deep state what the press secretary is to the president. Was I closer to the truth than I realized? Or was I going too far?
I don’t believe so. [Obama] was a guy who was so carefully cultivated. You saw that already in the 2004 Democratic convention. He was going to filibuster the FISA Amendments Act regarding the telecoms illegal collusion with intelligence agencies, but somewhere in 2008, he decided he was going to vote for it. And that was right about the time that somebody supplied him with John Brennan, the current CIA director, who was going to tutor him on what it takes to be president from the national security perspective.
It doesn’t suggest a lot of autonomy on Obama’s part.
This guy is to some extent controlled. That doesn’t mean he is not articulate or bright or doesn’t know what’s going on; he is obviously more so, on all accounts, than his predecessor. But Obama, or any other president, has a very limited latitude of what he’s going to do on the very big issues of international finance and national security. He is very hemmed-in on those accounts. So he becomes a kind of a spokesman.
As readers know, I have posited the theory that Obama was tagged by the CIA back in the 1970s, and may even hail from a CIA-linked family. See here, here, here, here, here and here.
Lofgren does not actually endorse that theory. But am I out of line to suggest that the "Obama as CIA" idea may lurk behind his words?
When a politician has an Agency history, you can usually smell it on him (or her). It's like a subtle perfume -- you can't quite place it, but there's definitely something in the air. The nose knows, as they say.
Incidentally, the "Obama as CIA asset" theory had its origins in these very pages. Most people who know of the theory associate it with Wayne Madsen. To the best of my knowledge, Madsen did not address the topic until 2010, while my series on Obama and the CIA originated in 2008.
Madsen went on to write a book titled The Manufacturing of a President, which I cannot recommend. Like so many catastrophically disorganized volumes produced by conspiracy theorists, the book overflows with detritus and nonsense, rather like Fibber Magee's closet. As one of my exes used to say: "That's not an essay -- it's a brain dump." Only a small fraction of Madsen's book addresses the question of Obama's possible relationship to CIA -- and only a fraction of that fraction contains information not previously published in this humble blog, which Madsen never mentions. (He also completely misinterprets the career of our president's father.)
In light of my recent health scare...
In recognition of the amazing generosity of my readers...
Glad you're feeling better, J! I think virtually all governments, certainly at the national level, have a deep state. The problem in the US is that the Deep State has become top-heavy and it's dragging the rest of the country down (along with much of the world). What I'd like quantified is how many Americans are hip to the existence and machinations of the Deep State.
posted by Anonymous : 2:35 PM
Thanks for all the links from the past that is strangely the future. I have always felt the one that is potus is a plant. Then just every once in while some one slips through the looking glass JFK.