The Deep State

The Deep State by Mike Lofgren Read Free Book Online

Book: The Deep State by Mike Lofgren Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mike Lofgren
and the Senate, President Obama has not been able to enact most of his domestic policies and budgets. Because of incessant GOP filibustering, not only could he not fill the numerous vacancies in the federal judiciary, he could not even get some of his most innocuous presidential appointees into office. Democrats controlling the Senate during the 113th Congress responded by weakening the filibuster, but Republicans inevitably retaliated with other parliamentary delaying tactics.
    Despite this apparent impotence—and defenders of the president are quick to proclaim his powerlessness in the face of ferocious Republican obstruction—President Obama can liquidate American citizens without due process, detain prisoners indefinitely without charge, conduct “dragnet” surveillance on the American people without judicial warrant, and engage in unprecedented—at least since the McCarthy era—witch-hunts against federal employees through the so-called Insider Threat Program. Within the United States, we are confronted with massive displays of intimidating force by militarized federal, state, and local law enforcement. Abroad, President Obama can start wars at will and engage in virtually any other activity whatever without so much as a by-your-leave from Congress, including arranging the forced landing of a plane carrying a sovereign head of state over foreign territory.
    Despite their habitual complaints of executive overreach by Obama, the would-be dictator, we have until recently heard very little from congressional Republicans about these actions—with the minor exception of a gadfly like Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Democrats, save for a few mavericks like Ron Wyden of Oregon, are not unduly troubled, either—to the extent of permitting seemingly perjured congressional testimony by executive branch officials on the subject of illegal surveillance. TheConstitution means one thing for most matters, but anything goes if someone in power invokes the sacred phrase “national security.”
    These are not isolated instances of a contradiction; they have been so pervasive that they tend to be disregarded as background noise. During the time in 2011 when political warfare over the debt ceiling began to paralyze the business of governance in Washington and the Treasury juggled accounts to avoid breaching the statutory limit on public debt, the United States government somehow scraped together $1 billion to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya and, when the instability created by that coup spilled over into Mali, provide overt and covert assistance to French military intervention there. And at a time when there was heated debate about continuing meat inspections and civilian air-traffic control because of the budget crisis, our government was somehow able to raise $385 million to keep a civil war going in Syria and to pay at least £100 million to the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to buy access to that country’s intelligence (including its surveillance intercepts within the United States, which the NSA would be legally or constitutionally barred from collecting). 1
    Since 2007, two bridges carrying interstate highways have collapsed because of inadequate maintenance of infrastructure; during that same period of time, the government has spent $1.7 billion constructing a building in Utah that is the size of seventeen football fields. This mammoth structure is intended to allow the NSA to store a yottabyte of information, which is equal to 500 quintillion pages of text—basically, everything that has ever been written. The NSA needs that much storage to archive every single electronic trace you make.
    An Evolution, Not a Conspiracy
    Yes, there is another government concealed beneath the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns

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