Both represent top-down or closed power, as opposed to the open power of the public state or res publica that represents the people as a whole. I argue in this book that the power of the American public state needs to be revived, and its out-of-control deep state radically curtailed.
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I am not an opponent of deep states per se: publics are not infallible and sometimes need to be opposed. But in our current crisis the proper balance between the public state and the deep state has been lost, and the deep state's secret top-down powers have become a major threat to democracy. A well-functioning deep state serves to impose needed wisdom and discipline, but in recent years America's unchecked deep state has been imposing both folly and indiscipline.
The tension between an open public state and a closed deep state or security state existing within it is an old and widespread phenomenon. In the United States it has become more acute since the beginning of the Cold War in the s, when the investment firms of the Wall Street overworld provided President Harry Truman with his secretary of defense, James V. This same overworld provided them both with the ideas and personnel for a new Central Intelligence Agency. The policy making of the closed deep state, shielded by secrecy, has tended increasingly toward global dominance at any price, without regard to consequences.
The collective wisdom of foreign policy experts, usually most represented in the State Department, has been powerless to restrain it. Over and over throughout this book I reveal occasions where the relatively sane proposals of the State Department have been trumped by the bureaucratic paranoia of people whose career success was based on their commitment to worst-case scenarios.
This "paranoid style in American politics" has traditionally referred to marginal elements that exist remote from true power. But there has been a paranoid tradition of the deep state as well, dating back to the Alien and Sedition Acts of recently cited by the Department of Homeland Security as a model for its Endgame program.
Closed policy making that puts security first above all, especially when protected by secrecy, is a formula for bureaucratic paranoia. Instead, this book makes a more general argument that the bureaucratic paranoia inside the American deep state, undisciplined by the available wisdom of the public state, helped years ago to create al Qaeda and then to create the circumstances in which, almost inevitably, elements in al Qaeda would turn against the United States. Having worked briefly in the Canadian bureaucracy, I have observed that bureaucratic debate where power is involved tends to favor paranoid or worst-case analyses, especially those that justify budget and bureaucratic growth.
How the Deep State Came to America: A History
Today's bureaucratic paranoia has indeed been institutionalized by what has been popularized as Vice President Cheney's "one percent doctrine": "Even if there's just a one percent chance of the unimaginable coming due, act as if it is a certainty. It's not about 'our analysis,' as Cheney said. It's about 'our response' Justified or not, fact-based or not, 'our response' is what matters.
As to 'evidence,' the bar was set so low that the word itself almost didn't apply. If there was even a one percent chance of terrorists getting a weapon of mass destruction This doctrine is a license for untrammeled expansion of the secret deep state. As the deep state metastasizes, its origins in the overworld become less clear and possibly less relevant. In using the term "overworld," we must be careful not to reify it or attribute to it a unity and coherence it does not possess.
It is a term of convenience to indicate, at least initially, a somewhat amorphous realm of sociopolitical change on which we should focus attention. The overworld is emphatically less cohesive than a class, despite what popular historian Frederick Lundberg and others have suggested.
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Ultimately its much discussed institutions, like the Council on Foreign Relations CFR and the Trilateral Commission, are more significant as symptoms and evidence rather than as sources of overworld power. The overworld was clearly centered in Wall Street in the s, and CIA was primarily designed there. With the postwar shifts of U. Cheney's global oilfield services firm Halliburton, today a "bridge between the oil industry and the military-industrial complex," was nowhere near the Wall Street power center in the s.
This shift in the overworld led by to a polarizing debate over the Vietnam War.
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The expanding military-industrial complex, dedicated to winning that war at any cost, found itself increasingly opposed by elements on Wall Street which at the time I labeled the "CIA-financial establishment" who feared the impact of the war's costs on the stability of the dollar. I argue that Nixon's inability to satisfy either of the two polarized factions—symbolized by the American Security Council and the Council on Foreign Relations—was a major factor in the unprecedented and ultimately unresolved drama of Watergate.
Today, with the relative decline of the domestic civilian economy and the proliferation of military business, we can see an emerging military-financial complex. This is symbolized by the easy movement up from the Pentagon to Wall Street of such key players as the director Bruce P. Jackson of the Project for the New American Century.
One can measure the emergent power of the military in the establishment by comparing the relatively critical stance of the mainstream media toward the Vietnam War and the recent misleading White House propaganda about Iraq that was published uncritically in the New York Times. Increasingly a gap has widened between the mainstream press and television—the so-called old media—and the emerging new media of open communications via the Internet. In a sense, the current American political crisis can be seen as a tension between the goals of this military-financial complex, on the one hand, and the requisite conditions for a healthy civilian economy and civil society on the other.
Through all these shifts certain essential continuities can be traced in the overworld's influence—first on CIA and increasingly on national security policy in general.
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Most recently, private power consolidated its influence by managing to establish a small but extremely important "shadow government," or "parallel government. More important, they may also have contributed to changes in U. History has demonstrated, four or five times over, the dialectics of democratic openness. What has been the reason for obscuring the evidence regarding the Pakistani connection?
His mother used to teach at Gunn High School. He never studied, trained, or even had any intention to become an authority on terrorism. But never underestimate the power of one man's curiosity.
Holed up every night in front of the computer in his San Francisco home, poring over news on the Internet, Paul Thompson grew increasingly frustrated with how incomplete the story of September 11 was. Armed with only a broadband connection, he started to gather every credible fact he could find online. Then he condensed each point of information and put it in chronological order.
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His Terror Timeline quickly became a monster of about fifteen hundred items, tracing the last quarter century of terrorist activity, incorporating a detailed trail of intelligence failures, and providing a nearly minute-by-minute account of the day of the attacks. What had started as Thompson's hobby soon became his obession. Early this year, he quit his job with an environmental protection group, moved halfway around the world to New Zealand, and began dedicating his full attention to a solitary pursuit that paid nothing and seemed unlikely to be seen by more than a handful of people.
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Finally, he found a small audience through the Center for Cooperative Research, a California-based historical-record-keeping Web site that shared his philosophy of nonpartisanship, information sharing, and reliance on mainstream news sources. The marriage was a fruitful one. People started e-mailing him to point out new information and to make corrections to his data. Open-source historiography had arrived.
The result is that Thompson has assembled by far the most comprehensive and detailed record of September 11 and the events surrounding it ever created. Thompson may have furthered the cause of journalism to a greater degree than if he worked as a journalist himself.