Just What Is the “Deep State”?


by Phil Erwin

There is a phrase bandied about in politics lately which carries a connotation of secrecy, subterfuge, conspiracy – perhaps even “collusion.”

The phrase is “Deep State,” and it suggests a shadow government within our representative government which acts to fulfill its own political ends, regardless of how those ends meet – or clash – with the expressed will of the voting public.

We’ve been hearing this phrase for a few years now, but it is rarely examined or defined. And without a clear definition, it’s easy to dismiss the notion as untrue, or “just politics,” or dumb!

After all, the notion of a “shadow government,” of a few individuals pulling the strings of our elected officials, just doesn’t seem real. Sounds more like a seriously paranoid delusion.

Former Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz set about correcting that mistaken notion.

Chaffetz spent two years as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which is chartered with the enormous task of watching all the arms, legs and tentacles of the federal government to verify that our laws are properly and fairly administered, and taxpayers’ purse strings are appropriately tended.

Truly a Sisyphean challenge.

Chaffetz probably didn’t appreciate the enormity of that challenge when he accepted it – a good thing, because he actually believed he could make a difference. And he tried to make a difference. He tried, and he tried.

But as is often said: The Ship of State turns very slowly.

Chaffetz found that the Deep State is real. Formidable. And not much interested in what he wanted to fix.

He found, in fact, that the Ship of State won’t turn at all, if the Deep State doesn’t want it to.

Eventually he tired of trying to right that Ship from his Chairman’s seat. So he left Congress and wrote about it in The Deep State: How an Army of Bureaucrats Protected Barack Obama, and is Working to Destroy the Trump Agenda. [HarperCollins, 2018]

This outstanding book, every American should read. It explains why our government just doesn’t seem to be ours anymore.

Why, for example, we never got the real story behind Benghazi; never saw anybody held accountable for serious IRS misbehaviors, or for Hillary’s team mishandling and destroying government documents. Why the Mueller investigation goes on ad infinitum, despite the clearly fraudulent basis for that investigation having been exposed months ago.

Why, no matter whom we elect, nothing ever really seems to improve.

It’s because nothing happens if the Deep State doesn’t want it to.

Chaffetz came to understand the reality, and the enormity, of the Deep State: That it’s not just a group of never-Trumpers at the top of the FBI and the Department of Justice, a “Star Chamber” operating in secret to plan the subversion of Trump’s administration. It isn’t simply a small cadre of radicals meeting in secret to run our government without our knowledge, awareness or control.

Rather, it’s an entire class of career bureaucrats spread throughout the many agencies of government who feel it is their righteous duty to run the government however they see fit, irrespective of what policies our elected leaders assign them to carry out.

The Deep State is really a fourth, unelected, unknowable branch of Government – one which doesn’t answer to We, the People. Since all governmental policy is implemented by government bureaucrats, the people we vote for are not who actually run our government! Instead, it’s run by bureaucrats whom we pay with our taxes, and who do pretty much whatever they want with those funds.

Such is absolutely not the “representative democracy” our government was designed to be. It is in fact a non-Constitutional, anti-American government, because We, the People, are not in control.

Here are some of Chaffetz’s key points:

  • The Deep State is real. It is a vast, self-perpetuating bureaucracy whose aim is singular: To exist. To be indestructible, and nearly impossible to disrupt. It is about pure, unfettered power, and it gets very angry when it is even questioned. [It’s members] don’t like exposure, accountability, or responsibility. They fight to outlast, and work the system for their advantage. And they hate disruptive forces such as Donald Trump.
  • The Deep State has an agenda [“Progressive”]. It rarely matches up with conservative principles.
  • But for a few brave whistle-blowers who willingly put their careers on the line, the absolute duplicity of Hillary Clinton’s team and the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi attack would never have been exposed.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) embodies the Deep State’s ideal government agency: Unlimited, unaccountable, unchecked, impervious to politics. And it epitomizes the Progressive agenda: More government, more regulation, more protection from you, less liberty for you – putting government out of reach of the people. The CFPB was intentionally designed to bypass Congressional oversight, checks and balances.

I think the notion that the Deep State actually determines governmental policy is a bit of a stretch, although it would explain why our elected officials can’t seem to make real change happen; and why Congress seems mired in never-ending investigations, yet never actually discovers anything.

Chaffetz exposes details behind the key Obama-era scandals – misdeeds which to this day are vehemently denied by Democrats, and which the Deep State effectively swept under the carpet:

  • Fast and Furious – The failed ATF “sting” operation which led to the death of a Border Patrol agent. Years later, his family still has no official accounting from government.

  • Benghazi – Where four Americans, including our ambassador, were killed in a terrorist attack on a consulate in Libya, and not one American was ordered to go to their aid! Instead, the Deep State worked to prevent publicity about this deadly debacle from affecting either Obama’s re-election, or the future Presidential plans of Hillary Clinton – whose State Department had actually interfered with consulate security. (Hence the administration’s idiotic fiction about a video “causing” the attack.)

  • In the months leading up to Obama’s re-election, the IRS targeted Conservative political groups such as the TEA Party in a deliberate effort to blunt their political clout. These actions were very unfair, anti-American, non-legal – but successful; and no individuals responsible were ever held accountable.

  • Various individuals in the IRS, and in Hillary Clinton’s close legal and campaign circles, have ignored Congressional subpoenas, illegally deleting and destroying public documents, records and property in order to hide damning information from Congress and the American public. These actions are all blatantly illegal; yet not a single person responsible has ever faced justice.

  • Clinton herself repeatedly violated federal laws by using a private email server to subvert public access to her activities while she was Secretary of State. There is no way to adjudge this as anything other than deliberately illegal behavior. But Hillary was actually protected from legal jeopardy by the government’s own law enforcement agencies! Ultimately, that led to the dismissal, demoting and/or resignations of a number of top officials in both the FBI and the Department of Justice. But Hillary herself remains free from legal consequences (although it undoubtedly led to a “questionable” opponent beating her soundly in 2016.)

That such illegal, immoral and/or anti-American behaviors completely escape any real punishments is proof positive that the People are not really in charge.

I am not, by nature, a pessimist. But Chaffetz’s view of the Deep State – monstrous, deeply entrenched, nearly impervious to political influence – creates a very pessimistic picture of America’s future. If we, the voters, expect to have any influence over our own government’s ever-growing control of our lives, we must understand the nature, scope and intentions of the Deep State.

Chaffetz’s book is the best place to start.

Deep state American politics and United States political symbol of a secret underground government bureaucracy

Phil Erwin is an author, IT administrator and registered Independent living in Newbury Park. He would like to support some Democrat ideals, but he has a visceral hatred for Lies and Damn Lies (and is highly suspicious of Statistics.) That pretty much eliminates supporting most Democrats, and a bunch of Republicans to boot.

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2 years ago

Damn Good ! About Time !
Something that gives a light in the darkness of our Nations operations !