Welcome to the Deep State

Author: Gary Hart

It is unclear when the Deep State was created or created itself.  It almost certainly took shape in the 20th century.  Candidates for creating the Deep State, or permitting it to create itself, are Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman.  Roosevelt for domestic purposes, Truman for international purposes.

Being a machine that runs of itself, its members almost certainly are senior career civil servants in every cabinet department and agency.  That means, at least, fifteen cabinet departments and anywhere from seven to fifteen principal agencies.  To be effective the minimum number of Deep State members must be at least a hundred per department and agency.  Thus, the core of the Deep State would be in the neighborhood of two or three thousand individuals.

Over time, senior officials retire and must be replaced.  If this mysterious State arose under Roosevelt, then there must have been over time some tens of thousands of secret members of the Deep State.

Were they required to take an oath of secrecy to join this covert government?  That must have been part of the arrangement, otherwise one book, not to say a whole library of books would have been published by now describing in thrilling detail how it all works.

Perhaps the Deep State has enforcers who take care of those who squeal.  Great research question as to how many members or former members of the Deep State met untimely and violent deaths.

And where has the Washington press corps been all these years.  Anyone remember a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering the Deep State right under their noses?

Amazing that it took President Donald Trump, who had never participated in government or particularly spent much time in Washington to reveal this secret.  Perhaps he is waiting for the appropriate moment to document the existence of the Deep State and its membership.

Perhaps not.

As a veteran of a few years of service at the U.S. Departments of Justice and Interior, there was little evidence of Deep State activity.  Almost to a person, the career civil servants were intelligent, diligent, hard-working, and highly knowledgeable about their responsibilities.  They could, of course, have been sly devils meeting in the furnace room after hours passing out assignments for subverting the current Administration.  How were we to know?

Believers in the Deep State surely hold open the possibility that the Russian Government and its FSB have known about this all along.  They would, of course, have passed on what they know to their new friend, but circumstances being what they are, he would be foreclosed from employing them as his principal source of intelligence.  Speaking of which, Deep State members must be all over the dozen and a half of agencies in the intelligence community.

From the Masons to UFOs Americans have loved mysteries.  Once it was established that George Washington was a Mason, among other Founders, we have let that mystery go.  There are still those pesky UFOs that somehow pop up, much like Arthur Schlesinger’s cycles of American history, every twenty or thirty years.

Kurt Anderson’s new book calls this “Fantasyland” and the Deep State has its own neighborhood there.

If you are out to practice the politics of distraction, how better to do it than to place a bright spotlight on the Deep State, and it has the added advantage of nourishing and feeding the “base” as well as accounting for unfulfilled campaign promises.

Where is P.T. Barnum when we need him?  But wait, perhaps we have him after all and he is the consummate ring master.

[This essay appears in this month’s The National Interest.]

4 Responses to “Welcome to the Deep State”

  1. Tyler Says:


    My working definition of the deep state is “those special interests which are so powerful that they can effect policy change, and also commit crimes without being prosecuted.”

    I think such a deep state has existed in the United States for a long time. Peter Dale Scott has written about these people.

  2. Eric Jacobson Says:

    In a joint appearance with Bernie Sanders recorded in May 2017, Jimmy Carter attributed Trump’s victory to the manner in which America’s (and the world’s) elites have been pressing their advantages over the have-lesses and have-nots. See http://forum.cartercenter.org/media/pres-jimmy-carter-sen-bernie-sanders-conversation-0 at 5:35 mark. Correct!

    2016 will be remembered as a year when our elites became so worried about a genuine popular revolt against their dominant status, privileges and agenda (a revolt represented initially by Sen. Sanders’s populist Democratic presidential candidacy that “hit a gusher” in 2015-2016) that the powers-that-be felt compelled to play a “wild card” and cleared the Republican field for Donald Trump. Trump and his zealous opportunistic polemicists then rhetorically weaponized populist appeals to the discontented multitudes. Once elected, Trump promptly betrayed his base voters, allied with his ruling class brethren and continued oppressive business-as-usual. It was THE greatest political con job in American history!

    ALL the elements of elite control over America’s Not-Great society conspired to resist the real populist Sanders and elect the fake-populist Orange-man instead. They did so in compliance with the “first rule of American politics and government”: The super-rich “protect the power and privileges of the oligarchy at all costs.”

    In my view, labels such as “deep state” are mere heuristic tropes. C. Wright Mills called it “the power elite”. Pres. Eisenhower’s called it the Military-Industrial-Complex (originally drafted to read Military-Industrial-Congressional-Complex and which should have further referred-to the M-I-C-C-Intelligence and News complex).

    Ike was a Kansan and general who knew whereof he spoke and his warning upon leaving office was prophetic (ie. in the colloquial Jewish expression: not “chopped liver”). As Ike well knew, the potential for diabolical rogueries by such arms merchants, cloak-and-dagger personnel and news managers was quite real then; and in fact it was put on steroids over the ensuing 57 years.

    Although he spun it in a positive way JFK too was correct in saying: “Things do not just happen. Things are made to happen.” In our nation’s case there was enough communal momentum from the WW2 era that the generally wholesome pro-everyday-people trajectory of American society in the immediate post-war years could not be overborne by ultra-conservatives who hated the New Deal and had fascist leanings. The most they could do was exploit “the red menace” and erect strict centrist guardrails over our nation’s political economy and foreign policies.

    But when those centrist “guardrails” started to fail due to the upsurge in liberal consciousness (over civil rights, poverty, Vietnam, women’s, environmental and consumer issues, etc.) amongst the public between the 1950s-1970s (inclusive) these same elite hidden-hand reactionary types almost certainly resorted to assassinations to ensure the “vast right-wing conspiracy’s” political triumph over the center-left consensus that dominated American politics until Jan. 1981.

    Back in 1963 on the day of JFK’s assassination, former Pres. Eisenhower could barely restrain himself from telling the American people what his intuition seemed to be telling him about what had just happened — that it wasn’t (as Ike seemed to force himself to say) an instance of a lone “psychopath” who presents an ever-present risk in a free country. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyGzVQGgdqw . And Ike “ain’t seen nothin’ yet”. Ike lived just beyond the year of the locusts, 1968, when these same rightist elements almost certainly killed RFK and ML King, Jr.. I have no knowledge of Ike’s response to those political murders, but I rather doubt Pres. Eisenhower repeated the same false reassurance he gave the public in the wake of JFK’s public execution likely by diabolical deep state actors.

    Further in that regard, exactly one month after JFK’s murder former Pres. Truman (who had approved the creation of the CIA) published an intriguing op-ed article in the Washington Post, calling for the CIA to be limited to an intelligence-gathering role. See http://www.maebrussell.com/Prouty/Harry%20Truman%27s%20CIA%20article.html for Truman’s article itself and https://consortiumnews.com/2013/12/22/trumans-true-warning-on-the-cia/ for former CIA-analyst-turned-patriotic-critic Ray McGovern’s 2013 account and description of Alan Dulles’s (highly agitated) response to Truman’s article. Ray McGovern’s seemingly carefully researched and accurate account tends to confirm that, in the title phrase of author James Douglass’s 2008 book on the Kennedy assassination, the “unspeakable” had in fact happened.

  3. Robert P. Gray Says:

    Dear Senator Hart,
    History will deeply appreciate your efforts. What it might miss, however, is your sense of humor.

  4. Gary Hart Says:

    Harty thanks to Mr. Gray for observing what many have missed over too many years. GH

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