MATT TAIBBI: Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State.
On The Young Turks the other night, during a segment called — this is not a joke — “RebelHQ,” commentator Ben Carollo extolled the virtues of the CIA.
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Carollo looks like he’s about six, and I say that fully conceding jealousy over his full head of hair. It’s relevant only because he’s representative of a generation of young, left-leaning intellectuals who grew up in the Trump years believing the CIA, FBI, NSA, and other such agencies to be trusted, straight-and-narrow defenders of democratic “norms.” These credulous kids with piercings and chin-beards who think the secret services are on their side are the fruits of one of the great P.R. campaigns of our time.
Six or seven years ago, “Deep State” was a term you would only see in left-leaning media. Bill Moyers explored the theme on his site from time to time, and when The Nation asked Edward Snowden about it, he said, “There’s definitely a deep state. Trust me, I’ve been there.”
The “deep state” was on the liberal left’s front burner then because a spate of horrendously ugly revelations put it there. We learned via Snowden that the NSA was collecting the communications of people all around the world in secret (Carollo might want to mark down that congress wasn’t informed) in a program the U.S. Court of Appeals just last year declared illegal.
As Obama’s Middle East “advisor” Ben Rhodes famously said, “The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”
When Trump arrived, it almost immediately became obvious his historical destiny was to be the best thing that ever happened to the secret services. In the same way hydroxychloroquine became snake oil the instant Trump said he was taking it, the “Deep State” became a myth the moment Trump and his minions started saying they believed in it.