The Deep State Paranoid Conspiracy
Amid the flurry of misinformation, redirects and self-created ‘alternative facts’ of the extreme conservative right, there exists a main theme of paranoia that is consistent and strong. This seems to be embedded as an integral part of their belief system and has been exemplified in the sheer volume of foreign created “fake news” that this group adopted. However, even though their nominee won the presidency, the extreme right continues to maintain their suspicions of an internal group that they refer to as “Deep State,” whose sole mission is to undermine the current administration.
This has been exacerbated by the fact that President Donald Trump himself has both ridiculed and demeaned the reputation of the Federal security agencies, allowing his followers to feel additional doubt in the reporting or support. The situation is a perfect recipe to encourage conspiracy theories of all sorts so that any information leaks or data that is released that doesn’t follow the line of Trump’s policies can be attributed to the supposed Deep State condition.
Every presidency has experienced information leaks throughout the years and all felt that they were situations of high security concern. However, given the current administrations radical conservative views and actions that are not supported by a majority of citizens, it becomes a setup to encourage even the most bizarre of conspiracies. The most recent conspiracy that was announced by Trump was in the accusation that President Obama had the Trump Towers wiretapped. Considering that a President cannot order a wiretap, that no proof has been given and that Trump apparently made the accusation based on a right-wing Breitbart conspiracy reports, it is yet another layer to feed the paranoid right.
Deep State Isn’t New
The current reference to Deep State relates to a group or groups of individuals within the architecture of the government that operates outside of the standard democratic system. It is also known as a ‘shadow government’ and can contain those people that have been long-term employees that hold the integrity of the democracy over any partisan view. The paranoia of the White House on this subject has been so great that White House press secretary Sean Spicer, required staffers to pile their cell phones up on a table so that they could be investigated. Add to this the firing of State Department employees, whose job it is to maintain the integrity of the government itself beyond any partisan and many of whom had worked to support the country through a variety of Presidents, and it seems that the ‘top down’ phobia is stoking the extreme right attitudes.
It should be noted that this particular spin on the words ‘Deep State’ is more recent. As reported in a CNN article on the topic, “In 2012, a CNN report described it as a “term many Turks use to refer to alleged criminal networks within security forces and the government bureaucracy.” It was first used in the New York Times in reference to Turkey in a 1997 article that defined it as “a set of obscure forces that seem to function beyond the reach of the law….It has since been used to describe unelected but influential members of groups including the bureaucracy or the military in countries like Egypt and Russia, and increasingly in some circles, the United States.”
The Reason for the Shark Frenzy
While many could be blamed for the buy-in to the Deep State conspiracy theory, including movies, books and even WikiLeaks on the topic, the fact remains that the extreme right has a propensity to not only accept paranoid conspiracy theories, but to look for them. This was proven during the Presidential campaign when local and foreign sources created the ‘fake news’ sources that were readily absorbed by the right-wing conservatives, even when fact check sites proved them wrong. They were promoted and used as fodder by Steve Bannon of Breitbart to continue their personal vendetta against the government. Once Bannon was named as a White House chief strategist, it became a lot easier to spread the ideas of a shadow government. A Politico article stated, “To Steve Bannon and his colleagues in the White House, the Deep State is an adversary to be destroyed. In recent remarks, the president’s chief strategist called for the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” According to the Washington Post, he’s been whispering in President Trump’s ear about the Deep State’s alleged campaign to ruin him. And, truth be told, charged with leaking for its own purposes, thwarting Trump’s policy priorities and ousting his appointees, this Deep State sure looks quite guilty in the context of a chaotic first six weeks in office.
Where are the Adults in The Room?
When Republican Congressman, Mike Kelly, of Pennsylvania went on record to accuse President Obama of moving back to Washington, D.C. for the sole purpose of undermining Trump, Robert Baer, a former CIA Operative appeared on CNN to not only debunk the Deep State idea, but try to address the topic head-on. Bauer stated: “This is an alt-right conspiracy theory that there’s such a thing as the deep state. I have dealt with deep states in the Middle East where there are generals and intelligence officers and they are deep states. We don’t have one here in the United States. There is not a concerted effort. There are leakers, both Republicans and Democrats, but they’re not organized and there’s nobody organized this, certainly the former president, President Obama, is not doing this. And this is another distraction. I think going down the conspiracy theory hole is not going to get us anywhere and it’s just going to wreck the credibility of this administration and, you know, we need some adult supervision here.”
When you have people in high level government positions that are pushing the Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh and Steve Bannon conspiracies, both integrity and credibility are thrown out of the window. We lose the perspective of representatives carrying forward responsible attitudes that are designed to promote the validation of a democracy and instead, transitions into a dark rabbit hole that can be easily used as an excuse for every form of failure.