Last week the New Yorker, and yesterday Salon magazine, published editorials arguing against the very existence of an “American Deep State”. The arguments presented are very…interesting. Both are, perhaps, classic cases of protesting too much.
This article, appearing in the New Yorker on Sunday, sets out to tell its readers that there is no such thing as an American “deep state”, repeatedly rubbishing the very idea whilst – at the same time – making a compelling case for the exact opposite.
To start off the author, David Remnick, relates a very cheery sounding story about a young man’s transformative journey from junior naval officer to hard-hitting journalist. I shall relate it to you in bullet points, for the sake of brevity:
- In 1970 junior naval officer Bob Woodward, a Yale graduate and member of the Book and Snake secret society, goes to the White House Situation room. At night.
- Whilst there, he meets a high-up at the FBI named Mark Felt, an intelligence veteran and long-time loyalist to J. Edgar Hoover.
- For reasons unknown the two men discuss the career prospects of young Mr Woodward. Mr Felt gives Woodward advice about pursuing “only employment that interests him”.
- Later that year Woodward leaves the navy, and applies for a job at the Washington Post. He doesn’t get it, thanks to a complete lack of any journalistic experience. He spends a year working at a minor local paper instead, before being hired by the WaPo in 1971.
- Throughout this time Woodward and his FBI friend are in constant contact, Woodward thinking of Felt as a “career counselor”.
- Felt confides in Woodward that he sees the Nixon administration as “corrupt, paranoid, and trying to infringe on the independence of the Bureau”.
- In 1973 Felt, under the alias “Deep Throat”, leaks Woodward information on the Watergate break-in, and – by proxy – brings down the Nixon administration.
How does that story read to you? There are unquestionably overtones of Operation Mockingbird, right?
Well, not according to Remnick. He tells us the meeting was accidental, the friendship natural, the career advice sincere and the leak opportunistic. He asks the rhetorical question:
“Was Deep Throat part of the Deep State?”
As if the only logical answer is “no, of course not”, when in truth any answer other than “Yes, almost certainly” shows a level of willful blindness or chronic naivety that probably merits medication. We are expected to believe that a young naval officer, with no previous interest or experience in journalism, takes career advice from a senior FBI agent after one (accidental) meeting, leaves the navy, becomes a reporter, and ultimately acts as a key cog in what amounted to a “soft coup” in the United States. That is patently absurd.
As I said before, what is presented as a case against the existence of an American Deep State, makes a very strong argument for both its existence, and its power. …