Deep State
Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from US Government.

Blame it on the Deep State! This is what politicians do when they get in trouble. It helps that people don’t really know what they’re talking about. While the term is now common -- and commonly abused -- WhoWhatWhy has been exploring this fascinating topic for years.

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Regardless of how one feels about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, there is no doubt that his bombshell indictment of a dozen Russians on Friday shifted the dynamics ahead of President Donald Trump’s meeting in Helsinki with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Many Americans are concerned about Trump’s bizarre relationship with Putin, and WhoWhatWhy’s own coverage has shown that they probably should be. Therefore, they may feel that the announcement of the indictment, which charges the Russians with hacking Democratic email accounts in an effort to help Trump in the 2016 presidential election, was a good thing ahead of the Helsinki summit. After all, it put pressure on Trump not to take it too easy on Putin — as he has done in the past.

But the timing of the indictment is more than curious. Even a charitable assessment of the decision to make the announcement before Trump’s meeting with Putin shows that Mueller, as an unelected government employee, interfered in the ability of the US president to conduct foreign policy in a manner he thought fit.

To some, that is the very definition of the “Deep State” at work and the White House has a legitimate reason to criticize the Department of Justice for the timing of the announcement.

However, for every real example of unelected government officials or groups of people taking matters into their own hands, there are also many cases in which the “Deep State” is blamed for the most ridiculous things.

A perfect example is the case of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who is accused of having turned a blind eye to sexual abuse and harassment at the Ohio State University wrestling program when he was a coach there.

One of his supporters, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) asserted last week that this was somehow the work of the Deep State, as though sexual abuse of wrestlers 30 years ago was some sort of conspiracy to bring down a coach later in life if that coach ever ended up in Congress.

Clearly there is still some confusion as to what the “Deep State” is. The term was hardly used until the last few years, but has recently made it into the mainstream — partly because of Trump, who regularly employs the term. We also hear it referenced by mainstream media talking heads on TV, and it’s a topic of discussion at water coolers, bars, and dining tables across America.

What you may or may not know is that WhoWhatWhy has been exploring this fascinating subject for years, long before it became common parlance.

But just what is the Deep State?

To help you figure it out, below we present some of WhoWhatWhy’s premier work on the Deep State. We invite you to comment, and tell us what do you think about the Deep State.

Deep State Sampler


Russ Baker on the Media’s Deep State Conversion Moment

Deep State analysis is at the core of what we do at WhoWhatWhy. With that genre apparently no longer simply dismissed as “conspiracy theory,” the corporate media seem to be playing catch up to a game that is already well into overtime. 2/21/2017

A Unified Theory of Corruption — the Deep State  

Do you drive your friends nuts talking about the deeper influences beneath the surface of a corrupt society? Have you been accused of being paranoid or a conspiracy theorist because of these views? Now, a former longtime congressional staffer says you are not mistaken. Podcast, 1/8/2016

Peter Dale Scott Explains the Secret Cheney Operation on 9/11

The true significance of what happened on 9/11 goes far beyond what meets the eye. Peter Dale Scott focuses on a secret “Continuity of Government” plan that had been decades in the making. Consequently, he argues, there has been a permanent change to the United States that permeates the lives of all Americans, resulting in the suspension of Constitutional rights and the transformation of America in ways that we are still living with today. Podcast, 9/12/2015

How a Deep State Plot Sank Jimmy Carter

A compelling look at the facts lurking behind the official histories of events to uncover the real dynamics in play. How manipulations by Big Oil and a shadowy alliance of national intelligence agencies called the Safari Club helped Ronald Reagan defeat President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election. Peter Dale Scott, 11/2/2014

A Deep State: The Gun the US Doesn’t Have  

The Plame affair reminded us spies are real. And the Trump investigation is reminding us that spying might be necessary … but a sophisticated intelligence apparatus is not necessarily a Deep State. Toni Johnson, 6/11/2018

Trump vs. ‘Deep State?’ That’s How the Light Gets In

From Watergate to Iraq War propaganda, conflicts between the Deep State and the Executive branch have proven helpful to the public. They provided a glimpse into the White House and the nation’s intelligence apparatus, leading to important reforms. So perhaps an open conflict between the Trump administration and the Deep State isn’t such a bad thing. Peter Dale Scott, 3/6/2017

Donald J. Trump and the Deep State, Part 1

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump attacked Wall Street, but now he plans to roll back the recent reforms of the financial sector. This action confirms the importance of his connections to big money, both new (often self-made) and old (mostly institutional). Peter Dale Scott, 2/6/2017

Donald J. Trump and the Deep State, Part 2

The world’s richest are now more likely to be internet billionaires than traditional “captains of industry.” However, these young mavericks are still trying to shape the world in a way that suits them. With regard to the Deep State, the players may have changed, but the game remains the same. Peter Dale Scott, February 7, 2017

Is Anybody Running the Deep State?

Barrett Brown and Barry Eisler examine whether the Deep State even exists today, or is there simply no leadership smart enough to keep it going. Podcast, 8/28/2017

Carl Bernstein on the Deep State and Surveillance

Famed investigative journalist Carl Bernstein, who broke the Watergate scandal with Bob Woodward, recently spoke at the SXSW conference. WhoWhatWhy was there to ask him some questions. Jimmy Falls, 3/16/2017

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Rod Rosenstein (C-SPAN).


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