In the haunted world of state-sanctioned spookery, parsing truth from fiction isn’t always an easy task. Zzyzz, Whiteside and our newest contributor ThePiedSpicer consider whether we should be taking America’s Intelligence Community at their word and if everything is a feint.
Zzyzx: Parts of the Intelligence Community have done little to hide their antipathy for Trump since the Summer of 2016. It’s unsettling to see the spooks come out of the shadows. I harbor suspicions about their intentions.
Which leads me to at least ask the question: Is Russia a feint? By which I mean, is the Deep State using Russophobia to achieve its own ends to unseat Donald Trump, who for his part has shown unprecedented animosity towards the IC? Some, like T.A. Frank, think so. WikiLeak’s Vault 7 infodump seems to point to such a conclusion, claiming that the CIA was actually behind the DNC hacks and they tried to pin it on Russia. And for the Democratic establishment, who would like to latch on any excuse for losses across the board in 2016 other than their own failures, Russia makes an easy target. Do you buy into the idea that the Deep State is wagging the dog here?
Whiteside: Why can’t it be both? There’s plenty of evidence to say that the Deep State is angry with Trump and that their goal is to hurt him but it’s pretty obvious they don’t need to work hard to do that, since Trump’s White House is so thoroughly corrupt. The Deep State’s claim that they’d like to see Trump die in prison comes to mind.
Zzyzx: So it’s clear, maybe as open and clear as the Deep State’s ever been, that they find the entire Trump presidency to be objectionable (We do too, but for vastly different reasons. This is really a strange bedfellows sort of situation). There’s also an odd chain of events over the last few weeks that seems to strain the credulity of a centrist liberal argument like Frank’s that this is only smoke an mirrors. The weekend before last it was reported that Trump/Bannon were about to strike back at the Deep State. By Wednesday, WikiLeaks has released that trove of documents that cast the CIA in an especially bad light (as opposed to their usual bad light, that involves a sordid history of trying to overthrow democratically elected governments in other countries, leading to massive bloodshed and right wing dictatorships). I mentioned earlier how Vault 7 makes it look like the CIA was behind the so-called Russian hacking all along, but doesn’t WikiLeaks have well-documented ties to the Russian government? Couldn’t this claim itself be the feint?
ThePiedSpicer: Absolutely. WikiLeaks has been comprised for a while, but this is just getting ridiculous. How many more coincidences can their possibly be?
Whiteside: Trump could be no more corrupt than any other president we have elected. There were definitely things that came out of the Obama White House that made you say ‘hmmmmm’ and wonder who was on the take. It’s quite possible that every administration is as thoroughly compromised as this one, but because of his actions towards the Deep State they have decided to not look the other way this time. I think WikiLeaks’ latest release feels like it specifically avoided targeting the presidency. Where Snowden’s leaks and the earlier WikiLeaks material from diplomatic cables seemed targeted towards their parent governments, it seems odd that the Vault 7 stuff was being presented as separate from the Trump admin rather than an ongoing policy of the United States government stretching back through the last three presidencies.
Zzyzx: I noticed that as well. I think the assumption — and I think it’s the correct assumption — is that most people who read the news stories won’t think of what they’ve read in the greater context, if they’re even aware of it. They’ll skim the article or just read the headline, say “Aha!” Even if they don’t personally like Trump or his politics, it will have undermined the Deep State in the eyes of the public just a bit.
Late last week, Trump asked 46 US Attorneys appointed under Obama to resign. US Attorney Preet Bharara refused to resign, and was fired as a result. It’s been rightly pointed out that other presidents have done the same, but as with all things Trump, the timing seems suspect.
ThePiedSpicer: My problem with the firing is that Preet Bharara, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, was in the middle of investigating the Trump Organization. Trump removing him follows a pattern. Two Attorney Generals in two states were investigating Trump University. Donnie made a donation to both campaigns, and both investigations were dropped. It leads me to believe that Trump initially promised Bharara the opportunity to stay on because he believed (for some reason) that the attorney would play ball. After it became clear he wouldn’t, down came the axe.
Whiteside: I think ThePiedSpicer’s point about WikiLeaks applies here as well. We’re well beyond the point where coincidences can be ignored. There’s too much smoke, there’s too much fire.
ThePiedSpicer: As for the Deep State, I am wary of making large overriding connections because without clear evidence, it is only speculation and more so than my last statement. That being said, I tend to lean towards that the Russian hacks happened like the IC has been telling us. This is not to say that Trump’s people didn’t have contact (it would lend credence to the argument about why the RNC emerged relatively unscathed). More likely, in my opinion, Trump and his people are out to protect their own, largely monetary, interests. These interests happen to go against the grain of the upper brass of the IC. Hence the war. I think there’s a strong argument that Trump’s people have been involved with Russian sources for while. But the theory that the Deep State pulled off last year’s hacks doesn’t hold much water. That’s not to say they didn’t or can’t happen, but let’s see if something besides a WikiLeaks dump floats to the surface.
Zzyzx: Right. It’s important to not think of the Deep State as a monolith, but as a series of competing agencies with different agendas and counter-agendas, often within the same building. And remember, the president and his functionaries have some control over who’s in and out. Unlike the State Department or DoJ, purges could already be happening and not being reported on.
ThePiedSpicer: At the very least, given the revelation that Trump has been appointing eyes and ears to every department he can, it points to imminent purges.
Zzyzx: It does increasingly look like a political game of whack-a-mole, with Donny furiously slamming his rubber mallet on anything that looks like it could send him to jail.
Any final thoughts?
ThePiedSpicer: I would just like to reiterate what you said – it’s probably safer to think about the Deep State as a non-monolithic entity and that the principle should probably be applied to our system of government as a whole and our media.
Zzyzx: Yeah. That doesn’t mean we’re not all justified in our concern about what’s going on, but things are rarely simple.
Except lizard people. Donald Trump is 100% a reptilian preparing earth for its human harvest.
Whiteside: All hail the lizards.
(Year Zero/Day Fifty-Three)