Two events last week should make anyone sit up and take notice who upholds the constitution and laws of the United States. They led me to do an extended analysis of what the so-called "Deep State" and its allies are apparently trying to accomplish.
First, the NSA deleted data that a court had ordered it to preserve.
Since 2007, the NSA has been under court orders to preserve data about certain of its surveillance efforts that came under legal attack following disclosures that President George W. Bush ordered warrantless wiretapping of international communications after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. In addition, the agency has made a series of representations in court over the years about how it is complying with its duties.
However, the NSA told U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in a filing on Thursday night and another little-noticed submission last year that the agency did not preserve the content of internet communications intercepted between 2001 and 2007 under the program Bush ordered. To make matters worse, backup tapes that might have mitigated the failure were erased in 2009, 2011 and 2016, the NSA said.
. . .
“We don't know exactly how bad it is,” the lawyer said, adding: “Even if you take them at their word that this was just an honest mistake, what it shows is despite your best intention to comply with important restrictions, it can be really difficult to implement ... It shows that with the really tremendous volume of information they’re vacuuming up, it is impossible to be meticulous.”
There's more at the link.
Note the last paragraph in the above excerpt. To my mind, that's a cop-out. If you collect so much data that you can't guarantee you'll comply with a court order, because you can't keep track of it all, it's your duty to inform the court about that at the time the order is made - not years later, when it's too late to do anything about it!
Next, the FBI has also failed to preserve information it was legally required to retain.
The FBI “failed to preserve” five months worth of text messages exchanged between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the two FBI employees who made pro-Clinton and anti-Trump comments while working on the Clinton email and the Russia collusion investigations.
The disclosure was made Friday in a letter sent by the Justice Department to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).
“The Department wants to bring to your attention that the FBI’s technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI mobile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page,” Stephen Boyd, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs at the Justice Department, wrote to Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of HSGAC.
He said that texts are missing for the period between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.
Boyd attributed the failure to “misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI’s collection capabilities.”
Again, more at the link.
If anyone actually believes that either or both agencies were guilty of a mere slip of the tongue, or a flick of a finger, I have a bridge in Brooklyn, NYC that I'd like to sell you. Cash only, please, and in small bills. There's just no way that this data was lost 'accidentally' - particularly when other data from the same period has apparently survived with no trouble at all. I can't believe this was anything other than deliberate defiance of the law and the courts, from both agencies. Those responsible are cocking a snook at the law - and they expect to get away with it. Since the actual perpetrators can't be identified, they can't be punished. Those responsible fully expect to get off scot-free.
Philip Giraldi points out:
There is a growing consensus among many observers in Washington that the national security agencies have become completely politicized over the past seventeen years and are now pursuing selfish agendas that actually endanger what remains of American democracy. Up until recently it has been habitual to refer to such activity as the Deep State, which is perhaps equivalent to the Establishment in that it includes financial services, the media, major foundations and constituencies, as well as lobbying groups, but we are now witnessing an evolutionary process in which the national security regime is exercising power independently.
. . .
Formerly intelligence and law enforcement agencies acted under the direction of the White House but without any political bias. Transitions from Democratic to Republican administrations were consequently seamless for the employees of CIA, FBI, DIA and the NSA, but this has changed. In the 2016 election a line-up of retired senior officers from those organizations openly supported the Clinton campaign and even went so far as to construct elaborate conspiracy theories regarding Trump and his associates, including the claim that Donald Trump is actually an agent of Russia.
The desire to discredit and ultimately delegitimize Trump even involved some active duty senior officers, including John Brennan, Director of CIA, who exploited Agency relationships with foreign intelligence services to develop information on Trump, and James Comey of the FBI who initiated an investigation of Trump’s associates. Both were involved in the later surfacing of the notorious Steele Dossier, a collection of fact mixed with fiction that sought to destroy the Trump presidency even before it began.
. . .
Antiwar activist Justin Raimondo ... concludes that “Our intelligence agencies are at war with the executive branch of government…to reverse the  election results.” Raimondo believes that Trump is being particularly targeted because his unpredictability and populism threaten the wealth and power of the elites and he notes “If you think they’ve ruled out assassination you’re being naïve.”
Raimondo believes that something like a civil war is coming, with the war party Establishment fighting to defend its privileged global order while many other Americans seek a return to normal nationhood with all that implies. If true, the next few years will see a major internal conflict that will determine what kind of country the United States will be.
More at the link.
A very interesting article in New York magazine's online edition examines the views of Glenn Greenwald, who broke the Snowden story and has been an acerbic observer of Washington D.C. for many years. He's criticized the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations impartially whenever he felt it necessary, which argues for his journalistic independence. New York magazine is most emphatically not a conservative source - rather the opposite - so its willingness to publish so searching an article (even though it doesn't endorse Greenwald's views) is praiseworthy, IMHO. Here's an extended excerpt, but you really should click through to read the entire article for yourself. It's worth your time.
For the better part of two years, Greenwald has resisted the nagging bipartisan suspicion that Trumpworld is in one way or another compromised by a meddling foreign power. If there’s a conspiracy, he suspects, it’s one against the president; where others see collusion, he sees “McCarthyism.” Greenwald is predisposed to righteous posturing and contrarian eye-poking — and reflexively more skeptical of the U.S. intelligence community than of those it tells us to see as “enemies.”
And even if claims about Russian meddling are corroborated by Robert Mueller’s investigation, Greenwald’s not sure it adds up to much — some hacked emails changing hands, none all that damaging in their content, maybe some malevolent Twitter bots. In his eyes, the Russia-Trump story is a shiny red herring — one that distracts from the failures, corruption, and malice of the very Establishment so invested in promoting it.
. . .
“When Trump becomes the starting point and ending point for how we talk about American politics, [we] don’t end up talking about the fundamental ways the American political and economic and cultural system are completely ****** for huge numbers of Americans who voted for Trump for that reason,” he says. “We don’t talk about all the ways the Democratic Party is a complete ******* disaster and a corrupt, sleazy sewer, and not an adequate alternative to this far-right movement that’s taking over American politics.”
. . .
Thanks to this never-ending hot take, Greenwald has been excommunicated from the liberal salons that celebrated him in the Snowden era; anybody who questions the Russia consensus, he says, “becomes a blasphemer. Becomes a heretic. I think that’s what they see me as.” Greenwald is no longer invited on MSNBC, and he’s portrayed in the Twitter fever swamp as a leading villain of the self-styled Resistance. “I used to be really good friends with Rachel Maddow,” he says. “And I’ve seen her devolution from this really interesting, really smart, independent thinker into this utterly scripted, intellectually dishonest, partisan hack.” His view of the liberal online media is equally charitable. “Think about one interesting, creative, like, intellectually novel thing that [Vox’s] Matt Yglesias or Ezra Klein have said in like ten years,” he says. “In general, they’re just churning out Democratic Party agitprop every single day of the most superficial type.” (Reached for comment, none of these people would respond to Greenwald.)
. . .
Rather than see Trump as a product of a rotten power structure, as Greenwald does, and the 2016 election as a wild reaction against that power structure, as Greenwald also does, it was easier for most American liberals to frame his victory as an accident. And rather than look within to eradicate the conditions that wrought Trump, it was more comforting to pin his rise on an external foe.
The Russian scandal proved ideal. “Across the political aisle, American elites are preoccupied with rejuvenating a Cold War in the name of believing that all of our problems are traceable to the Kremlin,” Greenwald argued. The notion that “Putin is not some fumbling dictator but some kind of an omnipotent mastermind,” he went on, “stems very much from this human desire to believe that when things go wrong, it can’t be our fault.”
Put another way: If you believe the 2016 election was a populist uprising against complacent elites, the Russia preoccupation can seem like an effort to ignore what Trump voters — and Sanders voters — were trying to say. Alternatively, if you believe Trump’s victory was a Russia-perpetrated fraud, normalcy is restored simply by removing him from office. Which, conveniently, is what many hope Mueller’s Russia probe will do.
. . .
These critics note the irony that many who were critical of national-security abuses during the Bush and Obama years have now, in the name of defending the republic, put their faith in opaque intelligence agencies and retired generals. That uncomfortable alliance between liberals and the “deep state” is the Greenwald-Trumpworld relationship inverted; on Russia, the America Firsters in the White House share more with dovish lefties than with Washington’s centrist power elite. To borrow from the language of Brexit, the ideological split on the Russia question may be more “Leave” versus “Remain” than Republican versus Democrat. In other words, Establishment insiders versus skeptical outsiders.
“For me, the fundamental question is: How satisfied are you with the prevailing order, with the status quo?” By this, Greenwald does not mean life in the Trump era but the behavior of American elites over the past several generations. “How benevolent do you regard American power and American institutions?” The answer to that question says a lot about how you rate the Trump threat.
More at the link.
When you put together all those perspectives, I submit that there's a pattern of criminal activity, perhaps even amounting to high treason in some senior personnel. I suggest that all the circumstantial evidence points to an underlying conspiracy. It's become a cliche to say that "there's no smoke without fire", but in this case, the smoke is so damned thick - and there's so damned much of it - that I see no other possible conclusion. I'm surprised those in Washington D.C. can see through the murk!
Tom Luongo suggests that the "Deep State", in which he includes the military-industrial complex, is actually at war with what he calls the "Shadow Government" of intelligence agencies. I'm not sure he's right . . . but I'm not sure he's wrong, either. Go read his article, and decide for yourself.
I don't have any answers to this conundrum, but I believe the evidence is clear. The security and law enforcement agencies of the US government have apparently become a law unto themselves. They don't see their primary loyalty as being to the elected Administration, but to their own priorities and vision of what their role should be in an America of their creation.
This is frightening - and it's more than enough reason for all Americans, whatever their political affiliation, to get behind efforts to bring these organizations under control. If that takes criminal indictments with regard to the Comey affair, or Uranium One, or the Mueller pseudo-investigation, or the seemingly illegal activities of the Obama administration in "weaponizing" departments of state against its political opponents, then so be it. It's long overdue.