The monster that is unfettered government surveillance may be unleashed, and out of control. And it is being enabled and abetted by the very institution that we rely on to protect us – a free and fair media.
The prevailing thinking, and the reported word in the myriad journals and organs that abound today, are that government surveillance and the mass collection of data on citizens presents a clear and present danger to civil liberty and privacy. In the context of the last eight years of Obama and the election to determine his successor, the narrative has usually centered around Obama’s failures regarding privacy, freedoms, and transparency.
From there, the narrative has shifted into a search for clues as to how things would pan out under a Clinton or Trump presidency. But what if it didn’t matter one iota which candidate won? What if the spy apparatus is so deep-rooted that it can’t be dislodged? It’s scary to contemplate.
A Washington Times opinion piece explores the notion that decades of increased government surveillance, and just plain intrusion into our privacy, has created an element which many have dubbed the ’’deep state”. In short, it is a layer of government bureaucracy – in this case, the intelligence community – which is so entrenched that it owes its allegiance not to any particular party or person in power. Instead, it is a power only unto itself, and s answerable only to itself. It is now apparently miffed at the possibility of having sunlight shone on it after at least eight years of operating in the shadows with impunity. And it doesn’t like it, so it acts out.
This deep state is perpetuated by career bureaucrats in the security layer of government – safely ensconced in their jobs, regardless of who holds the reins of power in Washington. Presently, judging from the massive number of leaks detailing possible disarray or malfeasance in the nascent Trump administration, the inhabitants of the deep state are doing all they can to thwart the governing policies of a man who has put them under public scrutiny.
That they may not view Donald Trump as the legitimate president, despite his being legally and constitutionally certified the winner, is of no consequence to them. If Hillary Clinton had won and tweaked them as Trump has, the response would be the same. Though it is doubtful that the media would be as gleeful or cooperative with the leaks emanating from the intelligence community. After all, Trump is doing much more than just tweaking the press – electronic, as well as the print media.
Because Trump has come out against spying and leaking, and questioned the veracity of the intelligence community, specifically as it regards communications with Russia, he is a target of it. And he has company in members of the Supreme court, Congress, and the military. The spy community has gotten away with it for so long because we have mistakenly thought them to be patriots who were protecting us.They are not; they are just as greedy, shifty
They are not; they are just as greedy and shifty, and have the self-survival instincts of a politician or a chairman of the board. As I pointed out, the spooks would go after whoever is occupying the Oval Office, regardless of political affiliation if he or she should shake their tree.
Senate minority leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, was prescient when he warned Trump not to criticize the spy agencies. He said in an MSNBC interview that President Trump was ’’being really dumb.” He further opined, ’’ “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.” And it appears they have… with a vengeance.
What is ironic is that the knee-jerk reactions to this mess are to make more laws or Presidential executive orders to stem it. Yet these very initiatives create just another layer of bureaucracy – another layer of cover – for the deep-seated “deep state”. Unfortunately, all efforts to hinder its advance are usually lost to the argument that national security comes first.
Pardon the pun, but safety trumps privacy in real world politics. I have written often about ’’government creep,” whereby laws enacted in favor of safety not only trample privacy, but lead to even more repressive legislation. Well, it has crept and embedded itself securely amidst the fog of the government ether.
The intelligence community could not be successful without a compliant media, only too eager to smear the ’’illegitimate” president. They apparently disregard the fact that their ’’getting into bed” with the government spy apparatus destroys their objectivity and credibility, and with it their purpose and value to democratic society. This surprising reality is acknowledged by Glenn Greenwald, of all people, and is reflected in a recent Tweet:
1) Trump presidency is dangerous.
2) CIA/DeepState abuse of spy powers to subvert elected Govt is dangerous.
One can cogently believe both.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 15, 2017
This permanent government or deep state lives in perpetuity, and without any apparent allegiance or ongoing oversight. It is akin to a government-within-the-government. And unless this danger is addressed and mitigated any meaningful attempts to protect privacy, it will merely be a band-aid on a life threatening wound. This story has “legs,” so stay tuned.
As always, all views expressed in this article are entirely Stan’s own.