Skip to content

Despite CrowdStrike’s extremely casual treatment of infected DNC computers, waiting over a month to remove hackers, the entire world is forced to rely on CrowdStrike as the sole source of alleged explosive information on DNC email hacking. Not even FBI was allowed access. CrowdStrike on May 5 said it’s Russian hackers, then waited over a month before removing the malware-Daily Mail, Washington Post

FBI was forced to rely on CrowdStrike’s word for what happened to DNC computers and DNC emails, though CrowdStrike had knowingly allowed hackers to remain on DNC computers for over a month:

1/10/17, Comey: DNC denied FBI’s requests for access to hacked servers,” The Hill, Katie Bo Williams 

The bureau made “multiple requests at different levels,” according to Comey….

“We’d always prefer to have access hands-on ourselves if that’s possible,” Comey said, noting that he didn’t know why the DNC rebuffed the FBI’s request….

[A senior law enforcement official said],This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information. These actions caused significant delays and inhibited the FBI from addressing the intrusion earlier.”“…

……………….. 

4 key dates: April-June 2016, involving Crowdstrike and DNC computers, April 29, May 5, May 21, and June 10. Daily Mail (4/5/17) and Washington Post (6/14/2016): 

April 29, 2016– Conclusion of CrowdStrike’s 5 week investigation into whether Bernie Sanders campaign staffers had breached DNC computers: “According to internal emails, CrowdStrike was already working for the DNC to investigate whether Bernie Sanders campaign staffers had gained unauthorized access to its voter database. That five-week investigation appeared to have wrapped up on April 29, 2016.” Daily Mail, 4/5/17 (Comment: During the Bernie investigation, why didn’t CrowdStrike remove malware that had been on DNC computers since 2015?)

……………….. 

May 5, 2016Crowdstrike called back to the DNC for a malware job, hooked up monitoring software to the DNC system on May 5, 2016. During its May 5 hookup, CrowdStrike says it noticed malware right away (it ‘lit up’). But no mention is made of actually removing the malware: “Alperovitch said the company hooked up monitoring software to the DNC system on May 5, 2016 and it ‘lit up,’ indicating a breach.“…(A few days earlier, on April 29, 2016, CrowdStrike had concluded a 5 week job for the DNC investigating whether the Bernie Sanders campaign had gained unauthorized access to its computers. Daily Mail, 4/5/17
……………….

May 21, 2016: DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, wrote in one May 21 email that Bernie Sanders would ‘never be president.'”

This May 21 email smearing Bernie Sanders was among those eventually made public: 

*”The vast majority of the email theft appears to have occurred during” the time CrowdStrike was monitoring malware activity on DNC computers (May 5-June 10, 2016). Crowdstrike “monitored the hackers as they pilfered emails and research files,” for 5 weeks watched DNC emails walk out the door,  WOULD NOT REMOVE THE MALWARE until June 10, 2016.  Daily Mail 4/5/17

…………………….. 

June 10, 2016-“Over a month passed before CrowdStrike finally booted the hackers out of the system on June 10, 2016.” Between May 5 and June 10, 2016, CrowdStrike said “it built an entirely new computer and phone system for the DNC and monitored the hackers as they pilfered emails and research files:”Daily Mail, 4/5/17

Second source: 6/14/16, Washington Post also reports that DNC malware wasn’t removed until the second weekend in June (“over the past weekend”) in a “major computer cleanup campaign:”

June 14, 2016, “Some of the hackers had access to the DNC network for about a year, but all were expelled over the past weekend in a major computer cleanup campaign, the committee officials and experts said.” Washington Post (June 10, 2016 was a Friday) 

Washington Post confirms that CrowdStrike quickly (“within 24 hours”) installed software on DNC computers to analyze data. But Crowdstrike didn’t begin removing the malware “within 24 hours,” instead waited until the second weekend in June (as stated above):

“Within 24 hours, CrowdStrike had installed software on the DNC’s computers so that it could analyze data that could indicate who had gained access, when and how.”

From Washington Post, 6/14/2016: 

DNC says it acted “immediately”and “as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders.”

They waited 6 weeks “to kick out the intruders.”  (Late April 2016- second weekend in June 2016)

DNC leaders were tipped to the hack in late April (2016).”…

“DNC leadership acted quickly after the intrusion’s discovery to contain the damage.”…

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), DNC chairwoman:

When we discovered the intrusion, we treated this like the serious incident it is and reached out to CrowdStrike immediately. Our team moved as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders and secure our network.””…[The “intruders” weren’t “kicked out” until 6 weeks after DNC learned they were there (Knew they were there in late April 2016, knew they weren’t removed until second weekend in June 2016)].

…………………….

Link to Washington Post article:

6/14/2016, Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump, Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima
……………………….

Link to Daily Mail article:

4/5/17, “Exclusive: Cybersecurity experts who were first to conclude that Putin hacked presidential election ABANDON some of their claims against Russia – and refuse to co-operate with Congress,” Daily Mail, Alana Goodman

……………………….

Added:  All US “intelligence community” reports, all global media coverage of an alleged DNC email-Russia event are based on the opinion of a single source, CrowdStrike. “Not even the FBI has been granted access” to DNC computers–despite that CrowdStrike knowingly allowed hackers to remain on DNC computers for over a month, as noted above. CrowdStrike should have no voice whatsoever in this matter: 

“Not even the FBI has been granted access to the (DNC) servers. U.S. agencies have instead relied on CrowdStrike’s work. There is no other known forensic evidence which has been publicly disclosed to link the Kremlin to the attacks, including in a series of intelligence community statements and reports.” Daily Mail, 4/5/17
…………………..

Added: Democrats Ignored Cybersecurity Warnings Before Theft.” Bloomberg reported in July 2016 that FBI is investigating the DNC email theft–but, unfortunately the FBI was denied access to DNC computers, was forced to rely entirely on CrowdStrike’s opinion:The bureau made “multiple requests at different levels,according to Comey.”…

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining the attack, which law enforcement officials and private security experts say may be linked to the Russian government.”…

7/27/2016,Democrats Ignored Cybersecurity Warnings Before Theft,” Bloomberg, Michael Riley

The Democratic National Committee was warned last fall (2015) that its computer network was susceptible to attacks but didn’t follow the security advice it was given, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The missed opportunity is another blow to party officials already embarrassed by the theft and public disclosure of e-mails that have disrupted their presidential nominating convention in Philadelphia and led their chairwoman to resign.

Computer security consultants hired by the DNC made dozens of recommendations after a two-month review, the people said. Following the advice, which would typically include having specialists hunt for intruders on the network, might have alerted party officials that hackers had been lurking in their network for weeks — hackers who would stay for nearly a year. 

Instead, officials didn’t discover the breach until April (2016). The theft ultimately led to the release of almost 20,000 internal e-mails through WikiLeaks last week on the eve of the convention. 

The e-mails have devastated party leaders. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chairwoman, has agreed to resign at the end of this week’s convention. She was booed off the stage on opening day after the leaked e-mails showed that party officials tried to undermine the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton, who was formally nominated on Tuesday evening. Party officials are supposed to remain neutral on presidential nominations.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining the attack, which law enforcement officials and private security experts say may be linked to the Russian government. President Barack Obama suggested on Tuesday that Russia might be trying to interfere with the presidential race. Russian officials deny any involvement in the hacking and say they’re not trying to influence the election….

The consultants briefed senior DNC leaders on the security problems they found, the people familiar with the matter said. It’s unclear whether Wasserman Schultz was present. Now, she is likely to face criticism over not only the content of the e-mails — including one in which a party official proposes pushing stories in the news media questioning Sanders’s Jewish faith — but also the failure to take steps to stop the theft in the first place.

Shame on them. It looks like they just did the review to check a box but didn’t do anything with it,” said Ann Barron-DiCamillo, who was director of US-Cert, the primary agency protecting U.S. government networks, until last February. If they had acted last fall, instead of those thousands of e-mails exposed it might have been much less.

The assessment by Good Harbor Security Risk Management, headed by the former Clinton and Bush administration official Richard Clarke, occurred over two months beginning in September 2015, the people said. It included interviews with key staff members and a detailed review of the security measures in place on the organization’s network, they said.

The review found problems ranging from an out-of-date firewall to a lack of advanced malware detection technology on individual computers, according to two of the people familiar with the matter.

The firm recommended taking special precautions to protect any financial information related to donors and internal communications including e-mails, these people said.

The DNC paid $60,000 for the assessment, according to federal filings.

Mark Paustenbach, a spokesman for the DNC, declined to comment on the Good Harbor report. Emilian Papadopoulos, president of Washington-based Good Harbor, said he couldn’t comment on work done for a specific client.

Missed Warnings 

The security review commissioned by the DNC was perhaps the most detailed of a series of missed warnings. Officials at both the Republican National Committee and the DNC received government briefings on espionage and hacking threats beginning last year, and then received a more specific briefing this spring, according to another person familiar with the matter. 

Cyber-security assessments can be a mixed blessing. Legal experts say some general counsels advise organizations against doing such assessments if they don’t have the ability to quickly fix any problems the auditors find, because customers and shareholders could have cause to sue if an organization knowingly disregards such warnings. 

Papadopoulos said a risk analysis by his firm is designed to “help an organization’s senior leadership answer the questions, ‘What are our unique and most significant cyber security risks, how are we doing managing them, and what should we improve?’”

The firm typically recommends that clients conduct a so-called breach assessment to determine whether hackers are already lurking in the network, Papadopoulos said. He wouldn’t confirm whether such a recommendation was among those delivered to the DNC.

“We give recommendations on governance, policies, technologies and crisis management,” he said. “For organizations that have not had a compromise assessment done, that is one of the things we often recommend.” 

It isn’t certain a breach assessment would have spotted the hackers, according to Barron-DiCamillo, but it would have increased the chances. “Why spend the money to have Good Harbor come in and do the recommendations and then not act on them?” she asked.”

…………………………..

Added: FBI was denied access to DNC computers, was forced to rely on Crowdstrike opinion about alleged Russia access to DNC emails:

1/10/17, Comey: DNC denied FBI’s requests for access to [allegedly] hacked servers,” The Hill, Katie Bo Williams 

The bureau made “multiple requests at different levels,” according to Comey, but ultimately struck an agreement with the DNC that a “highly respected private company” would get access and share what it found with investigators. 

“We’d always prefer to have access hands-on ourselves if that’s possible,” Comey said, noting that he didn’t know why the DNC rebuffed the FBI’s request…. 

The DNC told BuzzFeed in a statement published last week [Jan. 2017] that the FBI never requested access to its servers after they were breached. 

But a senior law enforcement official disputed that characterization the following day.

“The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated,” the official said. 

This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information. These actions caused significant delays and inhibited the FBI from addressing the intrusion earlier.” 

CrowdStrike, the private security firm in question, has published extensive forensic analysis backing up its assessment that the threat groups that infiltrated the DNC were associated with Russian intelligence.”
……………………

Added: Re: “Threat groups,” (The Hill, above) aren’t groups of people despite what the term may suggest. Threat groups” are a set of software and related network infrastructure:

A common misconception of “threat group” is that it refers to a group of people. It doesn’t. Here’s how ESET [link goes to general site] describes SEDNIT, one of the names for the threat group known as APT28, Fancy Bear, etc. This definition is found on p.12 of part two “En Route with Sednit: Observing the Comings and Goings”:

“As security researchers, what we call “the Sednit group” is merely a set of software and the related network infrastructure, which we can hardly correlate with any specific organization.” 

Unlike Crowdstrike, ESET doesn’t assign APT28/Fancy Bear/Sednit to a Russian Intelligence Service or anyone else for a very simple reason. Once malware is deployed, it is no longer under the control of the hacker who deployed it or the developer who created it. It can be reverse-engineered, copied, modified, shared and redeployed again and again by anyone. In other words — malware deployed is malware enjoyed!… 

It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as Crowdstrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will.”…

…………..

Not a ‘bombshell?’ US Office of Special Counsel finds Obama admin. Justice Dept. officials broke federal law and must be disciplined. Obama Justice officials went to elaborate lengths in refusing to hire military veterans for jobs specifically mandated for veteran priority-Washington Times, May 17, 2017

Why isn’t it “explosive” and a “bombshell” that Obama administration Justice Dept. knowingly broke federal law?

May 17, 2017, Obama’s Justice Department refused to hire military veterans for jobs: probe, Stephen Dinan, Washington Times

The Obama Justice Department discriminated against military veterans, trying to force them to withdraw their applications for two job postings — then canceling the postings altogether and rewriting the jobs to prevent the veterans from qualifying, a government watchdog said Wednesday.

Under federal law, veterans should have gotten preferential consideration for the two positions in the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program.

But Justice officials had their eye on non-veterans, and scheduled meetings off-site to try to force the veteran candidates to withdraw their applications, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel said.

The veterans refused to withdraw and human resources told the ICITAP hiring officials that they had to hire the veterans. Intent on avoiding that, the ICITAP then canceled the initial job-postings and re-listed the jobs a year later, in 2016, with new qualifications that excluded the veterans, the OSC’s investigative report said.

The OSC said it was illegal to try to force the veterans to pull out of the job search.

OSC found hiring violations for two positions at DOJ where officials sought to encourage preference eligible veterans to withdraw their applications,” the watchdog agency said. “DOJ wanted to hire a non-veteran candidate. When the veterans declined to withdraw, DOJ selected the non-veteran candidate, despite rules mandating that veterans receive priority in hiring over non-veterans in certain circumstances.”

The ICITAP officials told investigators they didn’t try to pressure the veterans, but instead explained why they should withdraw.

OSC investigators said even if that was what happened, it still violated the law.

The re-listing of the jobs was also sketchy, but not a clear violation of the law, the OSC said.

The OSC demanded officials be disciplined for the lapses, and recommended new training for Justice Department staff to be aware of their obligations. The agency said the department accepted the recommendations.”

Mafia has controlled large Italy migrant center for a decade with help of Catholic priest and Catholic charity group. Migrant center became ‘money printing operation for organized crime,’ migrants starved-BBC

May 15, 2017, Mafia controlled Italy migrant centre, say police,BBC 

One of Italy’s largest migrant centres has been in the hands of the mafia for more than a decade, police have said.

Police say the Arena clan made money by providing services at Isola di Capo Rizzuto in Italy’s far south and siphoning off state funds.

The clan is alleged to have hidden behind a local Catholic charity which officially runs the centre.

The claims came to light on Monday, when officers arrested 68 people, including a local priest.

Another of those arrested was Leonardo Sacco, head of the Catholic Misericordia association that is supposed to control the Sant’Anna Cara immigrant centre. The centre holds 1,500 people at a time.

It is alleged the Arena clan, part of the powerful ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate, may have taken more than a third of the €100m ($109m/£85m) destined for the centre in the past 10 years.

The priest, named as Edoardo Scordio, had received €132,000 already this year for “spiritual services”, an assistant prosecutor alleged.

Police in Catanzaro, a city in the southern Calabria region, said more than 500 agents were involved in the arrests of suspects “accused of mafia association, extortion, carrying illegal weapons, fraud, embezzlement to the detriment of the state, (and) theft”.

The arrests come two years after L’Espresso magazine published an investigation, alleging funds were being stolen and managers were making money by starving the migrants who lived there.

A year earlier, it was alleged the number of migrants said to be living at the centre had been greatly over exaggerated, while in 2013 a health inspection found asylum seekers were being fed small portions of out-of-date food.

Police believe the clan, through Mr Sacco [of Catholic charity group], was awarding contracts, including for food supplies, to other members of the ‘Ndrangheta syndicate, as well as setting up its own associations.

According to Rosy Bindi, the head of parliament’s anti-mafia commission, the centre had effectively been transformed intoa money printing operation for organised crime”.

“This operation shows the ability of the mafia to take advantage of the weaknesses and fragility of our times with its predatory and parasitic approach,” she added.”

map from BBC

Former FBI chief Comey was placed under Inspector General investigation during Obama administration for his handling of Hillary emails. Also to be explored by IG were FBI Dep. Dir. McCabe and Justice Dept. official and former Podesta lawyer, Peter Kadzik. IG review of Comey was praised by former Hillary campaign official-Washington Post, Jan. 12, 2017

Jan. 12, 2017,Justice Department inspector general to investigate pre-election actions by department and FBI, Washington Post,

The Justice Department inspector general will review broad allegations of misconduct involving FBI Director James B. Comey and how he handled the probe of Hillary Clinton’s email practices, the inspector general announced Thursday.

The investigation will be wide-ranging, encompassing Comey’s various letters and public statements on the matter and whether FBI or other Justice Department employees leaked nonpublic information, according to Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.

The inspector general’s announcement drew praise from those on both sides of the political aisle and again put a spotlight on Comey, who emerged as a controversial figure during the 2016 race. Democrats, including Clinton, have blamed the FBI director for the Democratic candidate’s loss, arguing that the renewed email inquiry and Comey’s public missives on the eve of the election blunted her momentum.

Comey has also been criticized for months by former Justice Department officials for violating the department’s policy of avoiding any action that could affect a candidate close to an election. President-elect Donald Trump has notably declined to commit to keeping the FBI director.

Brian Fallon, a former Clinton campaign spokesman, praised the investigation Thursday.

This is highly encouraging and to be expected given Director Comey’s drastic deviation from Justice Department protocol,” Fallon said. “A probe of this sort, however long it takes to conduct, is utterly necessary in order to take the first step to restore the FBI’s reputation as a non-partisan institution.”

Lawmakers and others had called previously for the inspector general to investigate the FBI’s actions regarding the Clinton probe ahead of the election, alleging that Comey violated long-standing policies with his communications about the case and that information seemed to have leaked inappropriately — perhaps to former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Trump supporter.

Horowitz said Thursday that he will explore the circumstances surrounding the actions of Comey and others, though he will not relitigate whether anyone should have faced charges.

“The review will not substitute the OIG’s judgment for the judgments made by the FBI or the Department regarding the substantive merits of investigative or prosecutive decisions,” Horowitz said in his statement, using an abbreviation for the Office of the Inspector General.

Comey said in a statement: “I am grateful to the Department of Justice’s IG for taking on this review. He is professional and independent and the FBI will cooperate fully with him and his office. I hope very much he is able to share his conclusions and observations with the public because everyone will benefit from thoughtful evaluation and transparency regarding this matter.”

The FBI’s probe into whether Clinton mishandled classified information by using a private email server when she was secretary of state has long been ¬controversial and politically charged. 

Perhaps most notably, Comey on Oct. 28–after previously announcing publicly that he was recommending no charges in the case — sent a letter to congressional leaders telling them that agents had resumed the Clinton probe after finding potentially relevant information in an unrelated case. That investigation involved disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. 

The day before, senior Justice Department leaders had warned Comey not to send the letter, because it violated two long-standing department policies — discussing an ongoing investigation and taking any overt action affecting a candidate so close to an election. Comey has notably declined to talk about any possible investigations of Trump or his campaign, as recently as this week rebuffing requests from legislators to confirm that agents were looking into any such matters.”

[Ed. note: On March 20, 2017 Comey admitted for the first time that he’d been secretly investigating Trump since July 2016: The FBI Has Been Investigating Trump’s Russia Ties Since July,” Wired.com, 3/20/17, Andy Greenberg: “In a hearing of the House of Representatives’ Select Intelligence Committee Monday into possible Russian interference in the election, FBI Director Comey stated for the first time that the agency he leads is investigating Russia-Trump ties. “I’ve been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI as part of our counterintelligence mission is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the United States’ 2016 presidential election,” Comey told the House committee.”…Why had Comey withheld this fact for 8 months? “There is only one reasonable explanation for FBI Director James Comey to be launching a counter-intel investigation in July 2016, notifying the White House and Clapper, and keeping it under wraps from congress [citing “sensitivity of the matter.”] Comey was a participant in the intelligence gathering for political purposes – wittingly, or unwittingly.”]

(continuing): ““I don’t-especially in a public forum, we never confirm or deny a pending investigation,” Comey said this week.

The inspector general did not say he would investigate Comey’s comments on Trump or any matters related to Russian interference in the election.

Comey sent a second letter to Congress on the Clinton case, just days before the election, declaring that the investigation was complete and that he was not changing the decision he had made in July to recommend no charges. But the damage-in the minds of Clinton supporters, at least-had been done.

Horowitz wrote that he will explore “allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed” in connection with both letters. When he is finished, his office will probably issue a lengthy report detailing what it has found, as it has done in other high-profile matters, though it is also possible he could recommend criminal charges for anyone found to have broken the law. The probe could take a significant amount of time.

Horowitz wrote that his inquiry will extend back to at least July — when Comey announced he was recommending the Clinton case be closed without charges.

He wrote that he will explore “allegations that Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information”-potentially a reference to Giuliani, who seemed to claim at one point he had insider FBI knowledge. Horowitz also said he would explore whether FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe should have been recused from the case. McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, ran for a Virginia Senate seat and took money from the political action committee of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a fierce Clinton ally.

The FBI asserted at the time that Andrew McCabe had checked in with ethics officials and followed agency protocols. And, when his wife was first recruited to run, he was not yet deputy director. He was elevated to that post in February 2016, after his wife was out of politics.

Through an FBI spokesman, McCabe declined to comment. Giuliani said in an interview Thursday night that he had talked only to former FBI officials, who relayed some agents’ general displeasure with Comey’s recommendation that Clinton not be charged. He said he did not talk to current agents with knowledge of any probes, and he would cooperate with the inspector general investigation.

Horowitz wrote that he would delve more deeply into the FBI publishing, just days before the election, 129 pages of internal documents from a years-old probe into former president Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive Democratic donor Marc Rich. And he said he would also probe whether Peter Kadzik, the Justice Department’s assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, “improperly disclosed non-public information to the Clinton campaign and/or should have been recused from participating in certain matters.” Kadzik used to be the lawyer for Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and WikiLeaks released hacked emails showing communications between the two men about the State Department’s review of Clinton emails for Freedom of Information Act purposes.

In an interview, Kadzik, who said he was speaking in his personal capacity, called the inspector general’s investigation “disheartening.” He noted that the information he gave Podesta about a hearing and a court document already was public and that it came before the FBI opened its criminal investigation.

Of whether he should have recused himself from any involvement in that criminal probe, Kadzik said, “It’s not as if I had any decision-making authority or role in the criminal investigation.” Kadzik declined to say whether he would cooperate with the inspector general’s probe.

“My answer is, I wish the inspector general would have talked to me first,” he said.

Notably absent from the list of matters being considered is Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch’s controversial meeting in June with former president Clinton aboard her plane on the tarmac of the Phoenix airport. The half-hour conversation, which Lynch has said she regrets, created the appearance to some that the attorney general was politically compromised. Some officials say it left a leadership vacuum and probably prompted Comey to give his controversial July news conference, at which he announced he was recommending no charges for Clinton but criticized her and her aides as “extremely careless.”

The tarmac meeting could be encompassed in the investigation of possible leaks of information, and Horowitz wrote that his investigators would consider “other issues that may arise during the course of the review.”

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R- Iowa), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, took note of the omission.

“It’s good to hear that the Inspector General agreed to my request to look at multiple concerns that I raised throughout the investigation,” Grassley said in a statement.Conspicuously absent, though, is any specific reference to the Attorney General’s failure to recuse herself from the probe, particularly after her meeting with former President Clinton. It’s in the public interest to provide a full accounting of all the facts that led to the FBI and Justice Department’s decision-making regarding the investigation.”” 

“Anne Gearan and Karen DeYoung contributed to this report.”

…………………

Three related 2016 Washington Post links:

Oct. 29, 2016, “Justice officials warned FBI that Comey’s decision to update Congress was not consistent with department policy,” Washington Post
………………….

Oct. 30, 2016, FBI agents pressed Justice unsuccessfully for probe of Clinton Foundation,” Washington Post

“FBI agents argued-based at least in part on news accounts- earlier this year that the Clinton Foundation should be investigated for potentially giving donors special political access and favors. The Justice Department’s public integrity unit said they did not have enough evidence to move forward.

The Clinton Foundation said it was never contacted by the FBI, suggesting the bureau’s efforts were in a preliminary stage as prosecutors weighed in. But agents in New York have sought to keep their inquiries alive, feuding with the Justice Department about the lengths to which they can go, according to people familiar with the matter.”…

………………………

Nov. 3, 2016, “‘He’s got to get control of the ship again’: How tensions at the FBI will persist after the election,” Washington Post 

“‘He’s got to get control of the ship again’, said Robert Anderson, a former senior official in the FBI who considers Comey a friend. “There’s a lot of tension in the organization, and there’s a lot of tension in Congress and the Senate right now, and all that counts toward how much people trust the FBI.””…

……………………

President Trump looks forward to visit of Egyptian President al-Sisi on Monday, April 3, 2017

Trump and al-Sisi meeting, Sept. 19, 2016, AFP

4/1/17,Security to be Main Component of US-Egypt Ties: White House, news18.com, PTI (India), Washington

“The Egyptian President will meet his US counterpart Donald Trump at the White House on April 3, which officials said would lay the foundation of a strong bilateral relationship.

“The President is excited to welcome Egyptian President al-Sisi to the White House on April 3 and he wants to use the visit to reboot the bilateral relationship and build on the strong connection the two presidents established when they first met in New York last September,” [photo above] a senior Trump administration official told reporters. 

Noting that Egypt is one of the traditional pillars of stability in the Middle East and has been a reliable US partner for decades, he said Trump’s initial interactions with al-Sisi, including their phone call on January 23, have already improved the tone of the relationship. 

Trump aims to reaffirm the deep and abiding US commitment to Egypt’s security, stability and prosperity,the official said, adding that al-Sisi has taken a number of bold steps on very sensitive issues since becoming President in 2014.

“He has called for reform in moderation of Islamic discourse, initiated courageous and historic economic reforms and saw to reestablish Egypt’s regional leadership role. He has also led Egypt’s campaign to defeat a long-running terrorist threat in Sinai, the official said.

The US wants to support President al-Sisi’s efforts in all of these areas.

“Our relationship has historically been driven by security and that will remain a key component of the engagement with Egypt. The US and Egyptian militaries have built close relationships and many military officers from Egypt have trained at US military installations,” he said.

Trump supports al-Sisi’s ambition to develop a comprehensive counter-terrorism approach that involves military, political, economic, as well as social efforts, the official said, adding that at the same time, Trump also wants to increase the focus on economic and commercial cooperation in bilateral relationship.

Building a more stable and productive economy is a critical step to ensuring long-term stability in Egypt, the official said.

The Egyptian President has begun a necessary economic reform plan that would strengthen the Egyptian economy if it is fully executed, he said….

“We are optimistic that we are heading in the right direction and President Trump is very much looking forward to the visit, the White House official added.”

Above image, 9/19/16, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) looks on as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi speaks during a meeing at the Plaza Hotel on September 19, 2016 in New York. / AFP / DOMINICK”

……………………

Reuters article

Egypt considers the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.

3/31/17,  Trump seeks to ‘reboot’ U.S. relationship with Egypt in Monday talks, Reuters, by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland 

President Donald Trump will seek to rebuild the U.S. relationship with Egypt at a Monday meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi focused on security issues and military aid, a senior White House official said on Friday.

“He wants to use President Sisi’s visit to reboot the bilateral relationship and build on the strong connection the two presidents established when they first met in New York last September,” the official said, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity. 

Egypt has long been one of Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East, receiving $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid annually. The country is fighting an Islamist insurgency in Sinai, and hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police have been killed fighting insurgents.

The bilateral relationship was strained when former President Barack Obama criticized Sisi for cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest Islamist group.

Sisi does not make a distinction between the Brotherhood, which says it is peaceful, and Islamic State militants. Egypt considers the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group. 

Obama froze aid to the country for two years after Sisi, then a general, overthrew President Mohamed Mursi in mid-2013 after mass protests against Mursi’s rule. Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, had been elected the previous year….

Trump’s relationship with Sisi got off to a good start when they met last September in New York while Trump was running for president, the White House said.

Trump supports Sisi’s approach to counterterrorism, which includes both military and political efforts, his efforts to reform Egypt’s economy, and Sisi’s calls for “reform and moderation of Islamic discourse,” the official said.

Asked whether the United States would designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, as Egypt has, the official said Trump was interested in hearing Sisi’s views during the meeting.

“We, along with a number of countries, have some concerns about various activities that the Muslim Brotherhood has conducted in the region,” the official said.”…

………………….

Added:

1/15/2014, UAE lists Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group,” Reuters, Dubai

The United Arab Emirates has formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood and local affiliates as terrorist groups, state news agency WAM reported on Saturday citing a cabinet decree.

The Gulf Arab state has also designated Nusra Front and the Islamic State, whose fighters are battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as terrorist organizations, along with other Shi’ite militant groups such as the Houthi movement in Yemen.

Saturday’s move echoes a similar move by Saudi Arabia in March and could increase pressure on Qatar whose backing for the group has sparked a row with fellow Gulf monarchies.”…

…………….

The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy. It’s effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed-Feb. 21, 2014 by Mike Lofgren, congressional staff member for 28 yrs., posted at BillMoyers.com

The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction.”…”I use the term [Deep State] to mean a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process.” (Footnote 1) Via link in 11/2/2015 article from The Intercept about former CIA chief Allen Dulles who was fired by JFK: “A New Biography Traces the Pathology of Allen Dulles and His Appalling Cabal,” by Jon Schwarz

2/21/2014, Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State,” by Mike Lofgren, BillMoyers.com (“Mike Lofgren is a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees”…)

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power. [1]…

Yes, there is another government…a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment.” All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation.

In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude. [2] 

How did I come to write an analysis of the Deep State, and why am I equipped to write it? As a congressional staff member for 28 years specializing in national security and possessing a top secret security clearance, I was at least on the fringes of the world I am describing, if neither totally in it by virtue of full membership nor of it by psychological disposition. But, like virtually every employed person, I became, to some extent, assimilated into the culture of the institution I worked for, and only by slow degrees, starting before the invasion of Iraq, did I begin fundamentally to question the reasons of state that motivate the people who are, to quote George W. Bush, “the deciders.” 

Cultural assimilation is partly a matter of what psychologist Irving L. Janis called “groupthink,” the chameleon-like ability of people to adopt the views of their superiors and peers. This syndrome is endemic to Washington: The town is characterized by sudden fads, be it negotiating biennial budgeting, making grand bargains or invading countries. Then, after a while, all the town’s cool kids drop those ideas as if they were radioactive. As in the military, everybody has to get on board with the mission, and questioning it is not a career-enhancing move. The universe of people who will critically examine the goings-on at the institutions they work for is always going to be a small one….

After a while, a functionary of the state begins to hear things that, in another context, would be quite remarkable, or at least noteworthy….“You mean the number of terrorist groups we are fighting is classified?” No wonder so few people are whistle-blowers, quite apart from the vicious retaliation whistle-blowing often provokes: Unless one is blessed with imagination and a fine sense of irony, growing immune to the curiousness of one’s surroundings is easy….

The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street. All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council. Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISA], whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan, where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted. The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. The rest of Congress, normally so fractious and partisan, is mostly only intermittently aware of the Deep State and when required usually submits to a few well-chosen words from the State’s emissaries. 

I saw this submissiveness on many occasions. One memorable incident was passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008. This legislation retroactively legalized the Bush administration’s illegal and unconstitutional surveillance first revealed by The New York Times in 2005 and indemnified the telecommunications companies for their cooperation in these acts. The bill passed easily: All that was required was the invocation of the word “terrorism” and most members of Congress responded like iron filings obeying a magnet. One who responded in that fashion was Senator Barack Obama, soon to be coronated as the presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. He had already won the most delegates by campaigning to the left of his main opponent, Hillary Clinton, on the excesses of the global war on terror and the erosion of constitutional liberties. 

As the indemnification vote showed, the Deep State does not consist only of government agencies. What is euphemistically called “private enterprise” is an integral part of its operations. In a special series in The Washington Post called “Top Secret America,” Dana Priest and William K. Arkin described the scope of the privatized Deep State and the degree to which it has metastasized after the September 11 attacks. There are now 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances — a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government. While they work throughout the country and the world, their heavy concentration in and around the Washington suburbs is unmistakable: Since 9/11, 33 facilities for top-secret intelligence have been built or are under construction. Combined, they occupy the floor space of almost three Pentagons — about 17 million square feet. Seventy percent of the intelligence community’s budget goes to paying contracts.

And the membrane between government and industry is highly permeable: The Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, is a former executive of Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the government’s largest intelligence contractors. His predecessor as director, Admiral Mike McConnell, is the current vice chairman of the same company; Booz Allen is 99 percent dependent on government business. These contractors now set the political and social tone of Washington, just as they are increasingly setting the direction of the country, but they are doing it quietly, their doings unrecorded in the Congressional Record or the Federal Register, and are rarely subject to congressional hearings.

Washington is the most important node of the Deep State that has taken over America, but it is not the only one. Invisible threads of money and ambition connect the town to other nodes. One is Wall Street, which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary marionette theater. Should the politicians forget their lines and threaten the status quo, Wall Street floods the town with cash and lawyers to help the hired hands remember their own best interests. The executives of the financial giants even have de facto criminal immunity. On March 6, 2013, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder stated the following: “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.” This, from the chief law enforcement officer of a justice system that has practically abolished the constitutional right to trial for poorer defendants charged with certain crimes. It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies, if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice — certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee. [3]

The corridor between Manhattan and Washington is a well trodden highway for the personalities we have all gotten to know in the period since the massive deregulation of Wall Street: Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner and many others. Not all the traffic involves persons connected with the purely financial operations of the government: In 2013, General David Petraeus joined KKR (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) of 9 West 57th Street, New York, a private equity firm with $62.3 billion in assets. KKR specializes in management buyouts and leveraged finance. General Petraeus’ expertise in these areas is unclear. His ability to peddle influence, however, is a known and valued commodity. Unlike Cincinnatus, the military commanders of the Deep State do not take up the plow once they lay down the sword. Petraeus also obtained a sinecure as a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The Ivy League is, of course, the preferred bleaching tub and charm school of the American oligarchy. [4] 

Petraeus and most of the avatars of the Deep State — the White House advisers who urged Obama not to impose compensation limits on Wall Street CEOs, the contractor-connected think tank experts who besought us to “stay the course” in Iraq, the economic gurus who perpetually demonstrate that globalization and deregulation are a blessing that makes us all better off in the long run — are careful to pretend that they have no ideology. Their preferred pose is that of the politically neutral technocrat offering well considered advice based on profound expertise. That is nonsense. They are deeply dyed in the hue of the official ideology of the governing class, an ideology that is neither specifically Democrat nor Republican. Domestically, whatever they might privately believe about essentially diversionary social issues such as abortion or gay marriage, they almost invariably believe in the “Washington Consensus”: financialization, outsourcing, privatization, deregulation and the commodifying of labor. Internationally, they espouse 21st-century “American Exceptionalism”: the right and duty of the United States to meddle in every region of the world with coercive diplomacy and boots on the ground and to ignore painfully won international norms of civilized behavior. To paraphrase what Sir John Harrington said more than 400 years ago about treason, now that the ideology of the Deep State has prospered, none dare call it ideology. [5] That is why describing torture with the word “torture” on broadcast television is treated less as political heresy than as an inexcusable lapse of Washington etiquette: Like smoking a cigarette on camera, these days it is simply “not done.”

After Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent and depth of surveillance by the National Security Agency, it has become publicly evident that Silicon Valley is a vital node of the Deep State as well. Unlike military and intelligence contractors, Silicon Valley overwhelmingly sells to the private market, but its business is so important to the government that a strange relationship has emerged. While the government could simply dragoon the high technology companies to do the NSA’s bidding, it would prefer cooperation with so important an engine of the nation’s economy, perhaps with an implied quid pro quo. Perhaps this explains the extraordinary indulgence the government shows the Valley in intellectual property matters. If an American “jailbreaks” his smartphone (i.e., modifies it so that it can use a service provider other than the one dictated by the manufacturer), he could receive a fine of up to $500,000 and several years in prison; so much for a citizen’s vaunted property rights to what he purchases. The libertarian pose of the Silicon Valley moguls, so carefully cultivated in their public relations, has always been a sham. Silicon Valley has long been tracking for commercial purposes the activities of every person who uses an electronic device, so it is hardly surprising that the Deep State should emulate the Valley and do the same for its own purposes. Nor is it surprising that it should conscript the Valley’s assistance. 

Still, despite the essential roles of lower Manhattan and Silicon Valley, the center of gravity of the Deep State is firmly situated in and around the Beltway. The Deep State’s physical expansion and consolidation around the Beltway would seem to make a mockery of the frequent pronouncement that governance in Washington is dysfunctional and broken. That the secret and unaccountable Deep State floats freely above the gridlock between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue is the paradox of American government in the 21st century: drone strikes, data mining, secret prisons and Panopticon-like control on the one hand; and on the other, the ordinary, visible parliamentary institutions of self-government declining to the status of a banana republic amid the gradual collapse of public infrastructure.

The results of this contradiction are not abstract, as a tour of the rotting, decaying, bankrupt cities of the American Midwest will attest. It is not even confined to those parts of the country left behind by a Washington Consensus that decreed the financialization and deindustrialization of the economy in the interests of efficiency and shareholder value. This paradox is evident even within the Beltway itself, the richest metropolitan area in the nation. Although demographers and urban researchers invariably count Washington as a “world city,” that is not always evident to those who live there. Virtually every time there is a severe summer thunderstorm, tens — or even hundreds — of thousands of residents lose power, often for many days. There are occasional water restrictions over wide areas because water mains, poorly constructed and inadequately maintained, have burst. [6] The Washington metropolitan area considers it a Herculean task just to build a rail link to its international airport — with luck it may be completed by 2018.

It is as if Hadrian’s Wall was still fully manned and the fortifications along the border with Germania were never stronger, even as the city of Rome disintegrates from within and the life-sustaining aqueducts leading down from the hills begin to crumble. The governing classes of the Deep State may continue to deceive themselves with their dreams of Zeus-like omnipotence, but others do not…. 

The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction. Washington is the headquarters of the Deep State, and its time in the sun as a rival to Rome, Constantinople or London may be term-limited by its overweening sense of self-importance and its habit, as Winwood Reade said of Rome, to “live upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face.” “Living upon its principal,” in this case, means that the Deep State has been extracting value from the American people in vampire-like fashion. 

We are faced with two disagreeable implications. First, that the Deep State is so heavily entrenched, so well protected by surveillance, firepower, money and its ability to co-opt resistance that it is almost impervious to change. Second, that just as in so many previous empires, the Deep State is populated with those whose instinctive reaction to the failure of their policies is to double down on those very policies in the future. Iraq was a failure briefly camouflaged by the wholly propagandistic success of the so-called surge; this legerdemain allowed for the surge in Afghanistan, which equally came to naught. Undeterred by that failure, the functionaries of the Deep State plunged into Libya; the smoking rubble of the Benghazi consulate, rather than discouraging further misadventure, seemed merely to incite the itch to bomb Syria. Will the Deep State ride on the back of the American people from failure to failure until the country itself, despite its huge reserves of human and material capital, is slowly exhausted? The dusty road of empire is strewn with the bones of former great powers that exhausted themselves in like manner. 

But, there are signs of resistance to the Deep State and its demands. In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, the House narrowly failed to pass an amendment that would have defunded the NSA’s warrantless collection of data from US persons. Shortly thereafter, the president, advocating yet another military intervention in the Middle East, this time in Syria, met with such overwhelming congressional skepticism that he changed the subject by grasping at a diplomatic lifeline thrown to him by Vladimir Putin. [7] 

Has the visible, constitutional state, the one envisaged by Madison and the other Founders, finally begun to reassert itself against the claims and usurpations of the Deep State? To some extent, perhaps. The unfolding revelations of the scope of the NSA’s warrantless surveillance have become so egregious that even institutional apologists such as Senator Dianne Feinstein have begun to backpedal — if only rhetorically — from their knee-jerk defense of the agency. As more people begin to waken from the fearful and suggestible state that 9/11 created in their minds, it is possible that the Deep State’s decade-old tactic of crying “terrorism!” every time it faces resistance is no longer eliciting the same Pavlovian response of meek obedience. And the American people, possibly even their legislators, are growing tired of endless quagmires in the Middle East. 

But there is another more structural reason the Deep State may have peaked in the extent of its dominance. While it seems to float above the constitutional state, its essentially parasitic, extractive nature means that it is still tethered to the formal proceedings of governance. 

The Deep State thrives when there is tolerable functionality in the day-to-day operations of the federal government. As long as appropriations bills get passed on time, promotion lists get confirmed, black (i.e., secret) budgets get rubber-stamped, special tax subsidies for certain corporations are approved without controversy, as long as too many awkward questions are not asked, the gears of the hybrid state will mesh noiselessly. But when one house of Congress is taken over by tea party Wahhabites, life for the ruling class becomes more trying.

If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent, uninterrupted cash flow and the confidence that things will go on as they have in the past….

The final factor is Silicon Valley. Owing to secrecy and obfuscation, it is hard to know how much of the NSA’s relationship with the Valley is based on voluntary cooperation, how much is legal compulsion through FISA warrants and how much is a matter of the NSA surreptitiously breaking into technology companies’ systems. Given the Valley’s public relations requirement to mollify its customers who have privacy concerns, it is difficult to take the tech firms’ libertarian protestations about government compromise of their systems at face value, especially since they engage in similar activity against their own customers for commercial purposes. That said, evidence is accumulating that Silicon Valley is losing billions in overseas business from companies, individuals and governments that want to maintain privacy. For high tech entrepreneurs, the cash nexus is ultimately more compelling than the Deep State’s demand for patriotic cooperation. Even legal compulsion can be combatted: Unlike the individual citizen, tech firms have deep pockets and batteries of lawyers with which to fight government diktat…. 

When the contradictions within a ruling ideology are pushed too far, factionalism appears and that ideology begins slowly to crumble. Corporate oligarchs such as the Koch brothers are no longer entirely happy with the faux-populist political front group they helped fund and groom. Silicon Valley, for all the Ayn Rand-like tendencies of its major players, its offshoring strategies and its further exacerbation of income inequality, is now lobbying Congress to restrain the NSA, a core component of the Deep State. Some tech firms are moving to encrypt their data. High tech corporations and governments alike seek dominance over people though collection of personal data, but the corporations are jumping ship now that adverse public reaction to the NSA scandals threatens their profits. 

The outcome of all these developments is uncertain. The Deep State, based on the twin pillars of national security imperative and corporate hegemony, has until recently seemed unshakable and the latest events may only be a temporary perturbation in its trajectory.

But history has a way of toppling the altars of the mighty. While the two great materialist and determinist ideologies of the twentieth century, Marxism and the Washington Consensus, successively decreed that the dictatorship of the proletariat and the dictatorship of the market were inevitable, the future is actually indeterminate.

It may be that deep economic and social currents create the framework of history, but those currents can be channeled, eddied, or even reversed by circumstance, chance and human agency. We have only to reflect upon defunct glacial despotisms such as the USSR or East Germany to realize that nothing is forever. 

Throughout history, state systems with outsized pretensions to power have reacted to their environments in two ways. The first strategy, reflecting the ossification of its ruling elites, consists of repeating that nothing is wrong, that the status quo reflects the nation’s unique good fortune in being favored by God and that those calling for change are merely subversive troublemakers. As the French ancien régime, the Romanov dynasty and the Habsburg emperors discovered, the strategy works splendidly for a while, particularly if one has a talent for dismissing unpleasant facts. The final results, however, are likely to be thoroughly disappointing…. 

The Snowden [NSA] revelations (the impact of which have been surprisingly strong), the derailed drive for military intervention in Syria and a fractious Congress, whose dysfunction has begun to be a serious inconvenience to the Deep State, show that there is now a deep but as yet inchoate hunger for change. What America lacks is a figure with the serene self-confidence to tell us that the twin idols of national security and corporate power are outworn dogmas that have nothing more to offer us. Thus disenthralled, the people themselves will unravel the Deep State with surprising speed.” (end of article) 

Following 3 paragraphs also from above article, 7 footnotes follow:

“President Obama can liquidate American citizens without due processes, detain prisoners indefinitely without charge, conduct dragnet surveillance on the American people without judicial warrant and engage in unprecedented at least since the McCarthy era — witch hunts against federal employees (the so-called “Insider Threat Program”). Within the United States, this power is characterized by massive displays of intimidating force by militarized federal, state and local law enforcement.

Abroad, President Obama can start wars at will and engage in virtually any other activity whatsoever without so much as a by-your-leave from Congress, such as arranging the forced landing of a plane carrying a sovereign head of state over foreign territory. Despite the habitual cant of congressional Republicans about executive overreach by Obama, the would-be dictator, we have until recently heard very little from them about these actions — with the minor exception of comments from gadfly Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Democrats, save a few mavericks such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, are not unduly troubled, either even to the extent of permitting seemingly perjured congressional testimony under oath by executive branch officials [James Clapper] on the subject of illegal surveillance. 

These are not isolated instances of a contradiction; they have been so pervasive that they tend to be disregarded as background noise.”… 

7 footnotes:

[1] The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey and is said to be a system composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services, military, security, judiciary and organized crime. In British author John le Carré’s latest novel, A Delicate Truth, a character describes the Deep State as “… the ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster.” I use the term to mean a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process.

[2] Twenty-five years ago, the sociologist Robert Nisbet described this phenomenon as “the attribute of No Fault…. Presidents, secretaries and generals and admirals in America seemingly subscribe to the doctrine that no fault ever attaches to policy and operations. This No Fault conviction prevents them from taking too seriously such notorious foul-ups as Desert One, Grenada, Lebanon and now the Persian Gulf.” To his list we might add 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

[3] The attitude of many members of Congress towards Wall Street was memorably expressed by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), the incoming chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, in 2010: “In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.”

[4] Beginning in 1988, every US president has been a graduate of Harvard or Yale. Beginning in 2000, every losing presidential candidate has been a Harvard or Yale graduate, with the exception of John McCain in 2008.

[5] In recent months, the American public has seen a vivid example of a Deep State operative marketing his ideology under the banner of pragmatism. Former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates — a one-time career CIA officer and deeply political Bush family retainer — has camouflaged his retrospective defense of military escalations that have brought us nothing but casualties and fiscal grief as the straight-from-the-shoulder memoir from a plain-spoken son of Kansas who disdains Washington and its politicians.

[6] Meanwhile, the US government took the lead in restoring Baghdad’s sewer system at a cost of $7 billion.

[7] Obama’s abrupt about-face suggests he may have been skeptical of military intervention in Syria all along, but only dropped that policy once Congress and Putin gave him the running room to do so. In 2009, he went ahead with the Afghanistan “surge” partly because General Petraeus’ public relations campaign and back-channel lobbying on the Hill for implementation of his pet military strategy pre-empted other options. These incidents raise the disturbing question of how much the democratically elected president–or any president–sets the policy of the national security state and how much the policy is set for him by the professional operatives of that state who engineer faits accomplis that force his hand.”

“Mike Lofgren is a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees. His book about Congress, The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted, appeared in paperback on August 27, 2013.”
…………………………

Trump remains highly popular with 86% approval among Republicans and independent leaners per Pew Poll and is preferred by Republicans over the party’s congressional leaders. Asked specifically who they’d trust if the two sides disagreed, most Republicans chose Trump-LA Times, 2/22/17

Pew survey dates: Feb. 7-12, 2017

2/22/17, Among Republicans, Trump is more popular than congressional leaders,LA Times, David Lauter

“Amid strain between the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress, the White House holds the high ground, a new survey indicates.

Among Republicans, President Trump has greater popularity than the party’s congressional leaders. Asked specifically who they would trust if the two sides disagreed, most Republicans chose Trump over their party’s leadership.

The findings, from a new survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center underscore Trump’s continued sway with the Republican congressional majority. Although the president has historically low job approval ratings among the public at large, he remains highly popular among Republican partisans and in Repubican districts.

As for Democrats, they’re strongly in an oppositional mood. Asked if they were more worried that Democrats in Congress would go too far in opposing Trump or not go far enough, more than 70% of Democrats said they feared their party would not go far enough. Only 20% said they worried the party would go too far.

Republicans in Congress have eyed Trump warily on several fronts. His positions on trade and entitlement reform break with years of the party’s positions. His reluctance to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin has generated tension. And the administration’s lack of clarity on healthcare and tax policy have Republican leaders guessing which way to turn on major issues.

But Republican partisans have fewer reservations than their elected representatives. Eighty-six percent to 13%, those who identify as Republicans or as independents who lean Republican have a favorable view of Trump, the Pew survey found.

By comparison, 57% have a favorable view of Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, with 22% unfavorable and 21% having no opinion. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is slightly better known, with 65% of Republicans holding a favorable view, 23% an unfavorable view and 13% having no opinion.

Asked who they would trust if the two sides disagreed, 52% of Republicans said they would side with Trump and 34% with the Republicans in Congress. Republicans younger than 40 were the only major exception; 52% to 36%, they said they would side with Congress.

At the same time, Republican partisans now have a warmer opinion of their party leadership than they had during most of President Obama’s tenure….

During the Obama years, GOP partisans tended to be frustrated that their side could not reverse the president’s initiatives, even with a majority in the House, starting in 2010, and then in the Senate for Obama’s last two years. Their view of the GOP leadership has rebounded strongly since the election.

Democrats’ view of their congressional leadership has been more stable. And both sides widely dislike the other party’s leaders.”
……………………………. 

Pew Poll “Methodology

“The analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted February 7-12, 2017 among a national sample of 1,503 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (377 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 1,126 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 680 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. A combination of landline and cell phone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. For detailed information about our survey methodology, see http://www.pewresearch.org/methodology/u-s-survey-research/ 

The combined landline and cell phone sample are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin and nativity and region to parameters from the 2015 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and population density to parameters from the Decennial Census. The sample also is weighted to match current patterns of telephone status (landline only, cell phone only, or both landline and cell phone), based on extrapolations from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey. The weighting procedure also accounts for the fact that respondents with both landline and cell phones have a greater probability of being included in the combined sample and adjusts for household size among respondents with a landline phone. The margins of error reported and statistical tests of significance are adjusted to account for the survey’s design effect, a measure of how much efficiency is lost from the weighting procedures.”…