The “Double Government” Secret Gets Out

Reading Time: 4 minutes

You know something is going on when the cautious Boston Globe publishes not one, but two, pieces dealing with the “double government.”

This cryptic phrase encapsulates a serious claim about the American body politic: That a permanent and largely unaccountable bureaucracy keeps on doing what it wants to do, no matter who the voters elect to the White House.

Both of the Globe articles refer to “National Security and Double Government,” a book by Michael J. Glennon, professor of international law at Tufts University. From the descriptions of its contents (we haven’t read the book yet, but we will—and perhaps excerpt), the author is talking, with due academic caution, about an out-of-control security/military apparatus.

The fact that the Globe thinks this book is important enough to warrant not one but two analytical pieces is significant, because Boston was the scene of the mysterious Boston Marathon Bombing.

In the aftermath of that tragedy, the national security apparatus and its allies in the media, academia and corporate America (including, significantly, the Globe itself) rushed to discourage us from looking deeper at what happened—while at the same time the nat-sec folks used the event to further expand their influence at the expense of civil liberties.

The Secret Government

One of the Globe’s pieces was a highly favorable review of Dr. Glennon’s book by former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards. Edwards, a co-founder of the staunchly conservative Heritage Foundation, has over the years become more and more of a maverick—and more outspokenly alarmed by the path America has taken.

The other piece, which appeared in the Globe the same day,was a Q&A with Glennon. The astonishing headline was:

Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.

The sub-headline wasn’t much tamer:

The people we elect aren’t the ones calling the shots, says Tufts University’s Michael Glennon

The genesis of the book was a question that confounded Glennon about President Obama: How did a man who won election pledging to change the national security policies of his predecessor effect so little of that? Here’s what Edwards wrote in his review:

The answer Glennon places before us is not reassuring: “a bifurcated system — a structure of double government—in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy.” The result, he writes, is a system of dual institutions that have evolved “toward greater centralization, less accountability, and emergent autocracy.”

The paradox, Glennon says, is that this barely accountable government machinery actually arose from President Harry S. Truman’s attempts to reduce the military’s growing and unchecked power. The unforeseen outcome was the growth of an unaccountable civilian power center.

No Secret Conspiracy (Or Theory)

Glennon’s was hardly the first well-reviewed book to deal with this topic. In 2009 Janine Wedel, an anthropology professor at George Mason University, published Shadow Elite, which received lavish praise from Arianna Huffington and the endorsement of her “book club,” despite the fact that the Huffington Post itself has a strong aversion  to  publishing “conspiracy” stories.

1Perhaps Wedel avoided being tarred with the hackneyed “conspiracy theorist” because she argues that the shadowy networks she describes are not necessarily criminal or in cahoots with multinational corporations, but merely the outgrowth of powerful and self-replenishing (if often incompetent) elites.

Glennon will likely avoid the damaging label as well, with extensive research and more than 800 footnotes in his book to back up his thesis. The author “is hardly the sort to engage in such fantasies,” Edwards wrote:

This is no secret conspiracy nor a plot to deprive Americans of their civil liberties. It is the unintended consequence of a thoughtful attempt to head off the very threats that those attempts have inadvertently created. But if Glennon’s book is enlightening it is also scary. And it’s not fiction.

Glennon turns to a familiar explanation—that every nation gets the government it deserves—to bolster his argument as to why the double government has been able to flourish:

“The ultimate problem is the pervasive political ignorance on the part of the American people. And indifference to the threat that is emerging from these concealed institutions,” he told the Globe.

***

Of course, the notion that the American political process and a largely compliant and docile media keep focusing attention on the wrong people and institutions is one of WhoWhatWhy’s central themes. This heretical insight is typically pooh-poohed in the corporate media and even in the so-called alternative media. Any attempt to raise the lid on what’s been called Deep Politics is routinely disparaged and condemned as the droolings of the deranged.

Well, everyone has his or her own comfort level with uncomfortable material. Some may need a credentialed professor or two to start the conversation, and a major newspaper to weigh in favorably, before they dare open their minds.

We won’t complain. We’re just glad to know that we were sane all along.

Next (though we aren’t holding our breath for this) we hope to see the Boston Globe publish an in-depth investigation of that sub rosa “Double Government” and its peculiar handling of the Boston Marathon Bombing—which to our eyes has, at best, the hallmarks of a security-fail cover-up. And an incident that considerably expanded the rationale for, and power of, the same NatSec establishment that has belatedly so alarmed the Globe.

Where else do you see journalism of this quality and value?

Please help us do more. Make a tax-deductible contribution now.

Our Comment Policy

Keep it civilized, keep it relevant, keep it clear, keep it short. Please do not post links or promotional material. We reserve the right to edit and to delete comments where necessary.

print

37 responses to “The “Double Government” Secret Gets Out”

  1. Eli Dumitru says:

    This is a desperate attempt to get people to give up on voting for Trump. Obama was a liar from the start. Dennis Kucinich revealed on “Democracy Now” before Obama was first elected that Obama was instructing the Democrats to pass Bush’s Bank Bail out, as-is, with no Amendments, before he was even elected president. Canada revealed that Obama’s campaign told them that his promise to the American people to withdraw from NAFTA, if he was elected, was a lie. The fact is, the president can and does fire bureaucrats. Obama has fired hundreds of military officers who don’t follow the New World Order agenda. A president dedicated to the Constitution could fire bureaucrats who don’t adhere to the Constitution.

  2. Andre Delage says:

    Excellent commentary… there is no Conspiracy Theory… it is all factual… unfortunately the Illuminati (Freemason) control the media, entertainment industries, and of course the government in all level… majority of the population doesn’t take it seriously as long as their life activities are not disrupt… so life goes one… you might be interested in the well done documented video title. ” The New World Order- Secret Societies and Biblical Prophecy” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL6v8nzFiUk

    and visit my web site… http://www.simplicityinthegospel.com/

  3. Sam Olivier says:

    Welcome to old news.
    What have Mark Lane, Fletcher Prouty, Peter Dale Scott and all the other brave authors been telling the US for many years? There is a murderous secret government – their henchmen sometimes referred to as “the jackals” – that, if necessary to its survival, will murder even a standing POTUS, if he threatens them. They did that successfully in Dallas and with the connivance of his bloodstained conservative successor, LBJ, mutilated the corpse and conned the nation to cover up the crime.
    I personally believe that Barack Obama governs in fear of them and has knuckled under to their objectives because he knows their power.
    Until this cancerous “security state” is rooted out and destroyed, the United States will, in my opinion, continue it’s downward plunge.away from “America, the beautiful,” to “America, the oppressor.” When it reaches the nadir and turns its guns and bombs on its own people who have finally risen revolt against it, then – with a 2nd revolution – we may see America reborn into a true democracy. Remember, the Founding Father who said “A Republic – if you can keep it.”
    If I could, I would emiigrate because this country now scares the hell out of me! The problem is where can one go to escape the long arm of the CIA? I frankly don’t know the answer to that.

    • queenvictrola says:

      When you become aware that the ones who can spy on everyone can blackmail or nail anyone, you realize who is actually running things in America. These jackal pedophiles use heinous child sex parties to blackmail sitting congressmen, judges, bureaucrats , diplomats and corporate CEOs, then photograph the high profile people who are invited, and guess what? They get all the laws they want passed, all the trade deals they want, all the wars they want, etc. So, it is easy to see who is in control in the West.

  4. vro_mickyg says:

    Professor Glennon : ““The ultimate problem is the pervasive political ignorance on the part of the American people. And indifference to the threat that is emerging from these concealed institutions,” he told the Globe.”

    I just have to wonder, if the threat is concealed, how does Prof. Glennon expect the public to be cognizant of the threat, much less respond to it? How can this ignorance be described as “indifference to the threat that is emerging”???
    If one isn’t aware of something, one can hardly be criticized for not responding to it.

    I am quite sure that what Prof. Glennon meant to say is something like: i know what the hell is going on, it’s a serious threat, and i’m bloody angry that most of the rest of you don’t see it.

    I am too (bloody angry), Prof. Glennon. So how do we un-ignorize the majority?? Seems to me, if one accepts ignorance as the cause, knowledge would be the answer. Not just knowledge that suits one’s view of reality, but knowledge of uncomfortable, ugly truths; such as the ugly truths about the US Empire, and the history of the governance to establish and maintain that Empire. How can we understand the resistance to acceptance of the facts and truths of this history??

    One can be led to a whowhatwhy, or similar site like truthout, but one cannot be forced to either read or accept and integrate into one’s life, what is presented there.

    You are a professor, i am a retired pipefitter. I think i am more forgivable for not having the answer to that (and i do not). If you do, i beg you please enlighten me. The answer to that seems the key to real political and social improvement to me.

  5. William Shanley says:

    Great work, Russ!

  6. Gomer Wumphf says:

    A major problem with government is incentives. While the private sector is rewarded for efficiently satisfying customers, the public sector bureaucrats are rewarded by loyalty to superiors, and amassing and centralizing power. In the Private sector bureaucracies also grow but there are pruning mechanisms – companies fail or sell off nonperforming units, etc. In the Public sector there are no pruning mechanisms. Every page, every sentence, every word of legislation and regulation is fertilizer that enables public sector bureaucrats to grow the bureaucracy and the power of the state. Public sector bureaucrats are in fact punished for efficiency and problem solving – they lose funding and therefore status and power. Consider for example:

    · Why is the cost of compliance (time wasted, litigation, record keeping, mal-investment, fraud, 100K+ IRS workforce, preparer fees, etc.) with our 70,000+ page Income Tax Code now exceeds half a trillion dollars a year?

    · Why, as the end of a fiscal year approaches, does every government bureaucracy rush to spend every remaining cent of funds?

    · What would happen to the Drug Enforcement Agency if the drug problem were “solved”?
    · Why is there a Bureau of Indian Affairs in the 21st century?

    · What has the Department of Energy accomplished re energy independence – the ethanol lunacy?

    · What has the Environmental Protection Agency accomplished other than insuring “dirty” jobs and processes move to such ecological wonderlands as China, India, Bangladesh, etc.?

    · Why is American education poorer but vastly more expensive today than before the creation of the Department of Education?

    · How does using the bureaucracy as a political weapon – e.g. IRS, EPA, OSHA, NSA, DoJ,
    etc. etc. etc. –inspire investment in business?

    How do web incentivize government bureaucrats to change behavior?

  7. straight shooter says:

    While this is encouraging, there’s also quite a bit of irony here. This is a book most likely published by a major publisher, which means it’s owned by a mainstream media company, and then reviewed in a major newspaper–mainstream media again–with a supposedly controversial subject (oooh, DOUBLE GOVERNMENT???). The problem is, just as I suspected it would be before I got to the end of your article, that Glennon comes to a disingenuous and patently false conclusion–that the problem lies with “the people.” This is just more outrageous disinformation from the oligarchy, similar to when the Federal Reserve recently blamed some bleak economic news on Americans not saving enough. The book’s release and promotion show that they are on to the fact that people are waking up to the duality, talk of “conspiracy theories” has become fashionable, and this is an acknowledgment of that. But as far as real truth, I’m betting there are no real breakthroughs. Just a repackaged “nothing to see here, everybody move along.”

    • gustave courbet says:

      While I understand and generally agree with your sentiment, I would add that mainstream publishers and media do report on aspects of the deep state, but rarely to the degree and depth that one gets from such outlets as Whowhatwhy or with the degree of consistency required for it to enter the popular discourse. Having researched the deep state for years, I often find articles from the New York Times or the Washington post that peak behind the curtain, but they are usually buried and seldom followed up. Also, I think that while assigning blame to the masses of uninformed Americans is deeply misguided, it is that ignorance that facilitates the functioning of this ‘double-government.’ The American people might not be to blame, but they are required to force a change upon the system.

    • straight shooter says:

      I totally agree.

    • John Galt says:

      Generally Agree but I consider it progress!! Beneficial to those who may not have a clue, even if we have to step to one side to avoid his fear of the real “conspiracies” and malevolent people that are behind much of this.

    • tombetz says:

      It’s published by Oxford University Press, hardly a major corporate publisher.

      You do yourself and Glennon a disservice to guess about what he says, especially when your guess is so wrong.

      You can get Glennon’s academic paper, which preceded the book, for free here:

      http://harvardnsj.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Glennon-Final.pdf

      I’m recommending the book to everyone I know, and giving printed copies of the paper away.

      I recommend it to you, as well.

  8. Sidewinder says:

    KEEP IN MIND: Michael J. Glennon is a proud Member of the Council on Foreign Relations!
    You Can Find Him HERE: http://www.cfr.org/about/membership/roster.html?letter=G

    • danny j says:

      Thanks. From the Boston Globe article linked here:

      “He was legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a consultant to various congressional committees, as well as to the State Department. “National Security and Double Government” comes favorably blurbed by former members of the Defense Department, State Department, White House, and even the CIA.”

      Sounds like a “gatekeeper” to me.

  9. B. Casey says:

    Fletcher Prouty…USAF Colonel Prouty wrote The Secret Team: The CIA Control the US and the World: http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/ST/ST.html

    It’s funny how some loose thier rank – Smedley received the Medal of Honor twice – Major General Smedley Butler’s War Is A Racket:
    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

    USAF Brig. General Ben Partin never wrote a book – but he should have.

  10. tosman says:

    “the original whistleblower of the shadow government, Fletcher Prouty, in his still breathtakingly relevant book The Secret Team.”

    Are you referring to USAF Colonel Prouty? It’s funny how some loose their rank… and Smedley Butler received the Medal of Honor – twice. Major General Butler wrote War Is A Racket:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Is_a_Racket

    USAF Brig. General Ben Partin never wrote a book – but he should have.

    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/ST/ST.html

  11. PecosinRat says:

    It’s funny (sort of) that here we are beginning to actually examine the underlying power structure and question our control over it, but we still cannot acknowledge the implications of the in-your-face-lie that 3 buildings collapsed “naturally” at (or very near) free fall acceleration. If you want to break the power of “double” government help your friends and neighbors understand the implications of steel superstructure buildings collapsing at free fall speed and falling somehow symmetrically straight down into the path-of-most resistance.

    • FiuToYou says:

      PecosinRat ; As an citizen of America, who’s been living outside the country for over 40 years, (due to completely being ‘fed-up and totally disillusioned’ in the end of the ’60’s), I totally agree with what you are saying. If by some ‘miracle’, you could get the American people to finally accept the real truth behind 9/11, then and only then, will there be the slightest chance of ‘UNITY’ in the country. This will never happen, until every one stops taking what’s forced down their throats daily, by the most corrupt, dishonest media establishment ever, in the history of the USA, not to mention the “DC nest of the scariest group of evil doer’s”, in that same boat. And by scary I mean that a lot of people around the world, are starting to feel we’re on the brink of total war, and it seems that American ‘leaders’ are fine with that. This is scary, very scary. But what is the answer. Get the people back to the “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and clean out the federal govt’s ‘scum’ in power. That would be a start, but getting back to 9/11, there’s enough evidence there to start educating people and steering them towards the truth. Plus the Universities have to start teaching the truth about so many things. “THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE”!!!!

    • PecosinRat says:

      Bubbalu; There is light at the end of the tunnel. I do some volunteer lobbying work with a broad network of political activist (from both the left and right). The very interesting thing is that during the last 10 years activists on both sides have begun to realize they have a lot fewer differences with each other that originally supposed. On the issue of 9/11, there is already a coalition of activists, academics, and legislators (see Rep. Walter Jones’ efforts to bring portions of the 9/11 Commission report that were redacted into the public sphere) that are pushing in every way to bring a more realistic view of what 9/11 really was into the public domain. See 911blogger.com or ae911truth.com for more info. Thanks for your comment!

  12. Bruce says:

    A very astute article which illustrates the contention, “That’s not the way the world really works anymore.We’re
    an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while
    you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again,
    creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how
    things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will
    be left to just study what we do.”, for all the good drawing such attention to it will do.

  13. Orangutan. says:

    “There exists a shadowy government with its own Air Force, its own Navy,
    its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas
    of national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from
    the law itself.”
    — Senator Daniel K. Inouye at the Iran Contra Hearings (1987)

    • Here’s a nice summation of one “federal program”–John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight”, is it, had this clip of an x-pentagon employee, now in academe, maybe, one Rosa Brooks, on the Death By Drones Program: “Right now we have the executive branch making a claim that it has the right to kill anyone, anywhere on earth, at any time, for secret reasons, based on secret evidence, in a secret process, undertaken by unidentified officials.”

      I wonder how long she had to work on that terse, one-sentence paragraph.

      Stunner. And “continuity of government,” indeed.

      BTW, FWIW, the Constitution actually spells out a reasonable facsimile of Continuity, in the 25th Amendment, and the earlier ¶5 (originally ¶6) of Article II: “In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.”

  14. SSAmest says:

    William Cooper used to talk about this in his radio show Hour of the Time. The Continuity of Government program or CoG was its original name.

  15. sartrol says:

    This explains why Obama doesn’t bother going to his security briefings!

  16. Unity 7777 says:

    There is indeed a secret conspiracy, don’t be stupid.

  17. Sumner Kagan says:

    quit putting the same old entrenched career politicians back in office then. You can make this claim all day long but in the end, the voters keep reelecting the slimeballs. Any vote for a bigger government with more control over the people simply means more power to politicians, yet people still gladly put them right back in control and gladly give them control of their lives, then cry about it later.

    • straight shooter says:

      You can’t possibly be that ignorant. Exactly who has been passed over who is NOT a ‘career politician?’ ALL our choices are career politicians who are selected to serve the oligarchy, regardless of their ‘party.” Wake up, man, wake up.

  18. Owen Cole says:

    I am commenting to display my thoughts on this matter. If this is true then it is deeply disatisfying. It brings to mind a horrifying parallel between what our society has become and George Orwells ‘1984’

  19. russbaker says:

    Apologies. In the transition to our new design, the comments on this story up to now–and only on this one story–were lost. Please do repost. Thanks, everyone.