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An Awkward Question for Robert Gates: Has the Deep State Taken Over? - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic


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If true, isn't that cause for alarm? When insiders seem to take it for granted that the president isn't quite in charge, when even Obama himself frames his relationship with the NSA as one where he proposes that they rein themselves in, rather than ordering them to act within constraints he sets, what are those of us on the outside to think? A while back, Mike Lofgren, a longtime congressional aide, expressed alarm at the power of the "Deep State," especially in the realm of national security:

Clearly there is government, and then there is government. The former is the tip of the iceberg that the public who watches C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part is the Deep State, which operates on its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power. The Deep State is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies, key nodes of the judiciary (like FISC, the Eastern District of Virginia, and the Southern District of Manhattan); cleared contractors, Silicon Valley (whose cooperation is critical), and Wall Street.

The excerpt of Gates's memoir suggests that the Deep State's power, and the attendant weakness of the elected officials meant to control U.S. policy, is in fact a problem. And I wonder if Gates would be willing to address the matter. Even if I've read too much into the particular excerpt I've cited, what are his thoughts on the subject? As the nation ponders whether or not to reform the surveillance state, how constrained is Obama by the Deep State? With regard to Iraq, Afghanistan, and counterterrorism efforts, is it Gates's assessment that the uniformed military is capable of running away with the policy process? If so, what reforms would he suggest to ensure full control by accountable, elected civilians?

Is "Deep State" the new name for "Military Industrial Complex"?

seems like, although it incorporates other actors like tech companies and the massive banks

Wow, it's like a giant machine that resists change.

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