Is the Deep State at war with the President-elect?
Is Democracy being subverted by an un-elected body of bureaucrats who seek to reign in the incoming administration? Or does the intelligence community truly know something we don’t about the dangers we face ahead?
These are a few of the troubling questions being asked ever since the release of an unconfirmed dossier by Buzzfeed, which contains many unverifiable allegations against Mr. Trump, specifically that the Russian government has kompromat (blackmail material) on the incoming president. I will not get into the details, as anyone not living under a rock is most likely aware, but they are less than flattering if true. Here is the rundown from the New York Times:
- The memos contain unsubstantiated claimsthat Russian officials tried to obtain influence over Mr. Trump by preparing to blackmail him with sex tapes and bribe him with business deals.They also claim that the Trump campaign met with Russian operatives to discuss the Russians’ hacking and leaking of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee
- Last week, when the F.B.I., C.I.A. and National Security Agency gave a classified report on the Russian hacking, leaking and efforts to influence the presidential election to Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump and congressional leaders, they attached a two-page summary of the unverified allegations in the memos.
- What We Don’t Know is whether any of the claims in the memos are true. or what exactly prompted American intelligence officials to pass along a summary of the unvetted claims… American intelligence agencies have not confirmed them, and Mr. Trump has said they are a complete fabrication.
Those are some of the main facts we know about this ongoing story. But there are so many more layers to it than that…
Sitting On Paydirt
David Corn of Mother Jones initially reported on the existence of this dossier back in October, but he did not feel the information was sufficiently verifiable to print, so he kept the specifics out of the story. He reported that upon investigating ties between Trump and the Russian government, he learned that:
A former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence reported that in recent months he provided the bureau with memos, based on his recent interactions with Russian sources, contending the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump—and that the FBI requested more information from him.
Corn was not comfortable publishing the allegations due to not being able to verify their accuracy, but did say:
A senior US government official not involved in this case but familiar with the former spy tells Mother Jones that he has been a credible source with a proven record of providing reliable, sensitive, and important information to the US government.
He did go on to note that the individual was a private contractor hired by both Republican and Democratic operatives to dig up dirt on Mr. Trump. This article provides fascinating context to the buzz currently circulating about this story. Check out the full report below:
A veteran spy has given the FBI information alleging a Russian operation to cultivate Donald Trump
It is clear that this story has been circulating for months now, and was being pitched to all of the major news outlets. Which is why some are crying foul about the whole thing…
A Deeper Look
The alternative media community is loudly opposing what they are seeing as a hostile takeover by the Deep State, which is loosely defined as the axis of power that is occupied by the Military Industrial Complex and the Intelligence Community (CIA, FBI, NSA, etc). The independent site Consortium News is calling it a scheme to take down the Democratically elected president and replace him with someone they can more easily control. From the article:
Is a military coup in the works? Or are U.S. intelligence agencies laying the political groundwork for forcing Donald Trump from the presidency because they can’t abide his rejection of a new cold war with Russia? Not long ago, even asking such questions would have marked one as the sort of paranoid nut who believes that lizard people run the government. But no longer. Thanks to the now-notorious 35-page dossier concerning Donald Trump’s alleged sexual improprieties in a Moscow luxury hotel, it’s clear that strange maneuverings are underway in Washington and that no one is quite sure how they will end.
Chris Hedges of Truthdig has been feircely critical of this leak, and approaches it from a perspective of defending alternative media :
[One] task of the report is to bolster the McCarthyist smear campaign against independent media, including Truthdig, as witting or unwitting agents of the Russian government. The demise of the …nation’s public broadcasting, designed to give a voice to those not beholden to corporate or party interests, leaves [few] electronic outlets with a national reach that are willing to give a platform to critics of corporate power and imperialism.
Hedges gave a great interview on RT. He gives some great critique of media and out of touch elitism:
Perhaps the most widely disseminated alternative media voice has been the always contentious Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept. He has penned a scathing indictment of the Intelligence Community, leveling them with charges of interfering with the democratic process. He pulls no punches in attacking Democrats for alingning themselves with the CIA for political gain
Cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive. Empowering the very entities that have produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit over the last six decades is desperation of the worst kind. Demanding that evidence-free, anonymous assertions be instantly venerated as Truth — despite emanating from the very precincts designed to propagandize and lie — is an assault on journalism, democracy, and basic human rationality. And casually branding domestic adversaries who refuse to go along as traitors and disloyal foreign operatives is morally bankrupt and certain to backfire on those doing it.
Greenwald also again went on the Tucker Carlson Show for round 2 of his unrelenting defense of his journalism:
Greenwald has been at the forefront of the fight against the Deep State, as he broke the Snowden story. He has been a pain in the intelligence communities’ ass ever since, and therefore is a go-to source on the subject. He is the editor in chief of the fantastic online journalism site The Intercept. I highly recommend it. Here is the original story:
The Deep State Goes to War With President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer
It should be noted that none of these individuals are Trump supporters at all, in fact quite the opposite. They are troubled by what they see as the establishment trying to wrangle control from the little people, which is something that liberals used to fight against.
Where There is Smoke…
While it is entirely possible that this is all a big, concerted effort to take down Trump, I think that some nuance on the subject is warranted. Buzzfeed has come under significant fire for releasing the briefing, and some have come to its defense, saying its contents are in fact newsworthy in light of all of the surrounding events. The Guardian published a piece that defended the reputation of the now outed former spy in the face of strong public condemnation. This story is moving rapidly, and it deserves detailed analysis, not incendiary rhetoric. Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi provides just such analysis:
The secret services either know far more than they’re letting on, or they’re using all this fluff and nonsense to try to sell the public on a conspiracy story they themselves can’t quite prove. Either possibility is crazy to contemplate.
He touches on the secretive and ongoing potential investigation by the FBI into the Trump-Russia connection (FBI chief James Comey couldn’t “confirm or deny a pending investigation.”). He also points out the outrage over the fact that the FBI chose to disclose that they were investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails, but not this inquiry. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of his article is on Israeli intelligence:
Meanwhile, Ynet in Israel is reporting that Israeli intelligence officials are deciding not to share intelligence with the incoming Trump administration. The report indicates they came to this conclusion after a recent meeting with American intelligence officials, who told them the Russians have “leverages of pressure” to use against Trump.
The linked report is fascinating, and if true should concern all of us. It is very troubling to think that Israeli intelligence, among the most elite in the world, is concerned about sharing information with Trump. For all of these reasons I simply cannot dismiss this story as ‘fake news’. The full story is below:
Taibbi: The Russia Story Reaches a Crisis Point
Making Sense of it All
Taibbi points out correctly that we all deserve more answers on this subject. He poses the poignant question, “If Israel gets to hear why they think Trump is compromised, how is the American public not also so entitled?” He also points out that speculation is not enough at this point, even Donald Trump deserves better than that. We should all call for an independent investigation into this matter, along with a full disclosure of all of the relevant facts. No more speculation or innuendo.
Much was made about how Wikileaks’ releasing of Mrs. Clintons’ private emails shed light on her campaign workings, and provided an unprecedented look behind the curtains. It provided us all with total transparency, the narrative goes. I would say the same is warranted here. We have thus far, total non-transparency. And in less than a week, all eyes will be squarely on the new administration. Will be looking at the full picture?