Is the ‘Deep State’ Real?

How much power do unelected bureaucrats and intelligence agents wield inside the United States government?

Since Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, a large amount of classified information has leaked from the government to the press. The majority of this information from anonymous and barely anonymous sources has been designed to discredit, damage and possibly end his presidency.

Meanwhile, intelligence agencies have withheld intelligence reports from the president, and former spy chiefs have denounced the president as inexperienced, unstable and unethical. Federal agents have raided the office of the president’s personal attorney. Bureaucrats have found ways to obstruct, slow down, openly challenge or simply ignore the president’s instructions. When President Trump has publicly criticized and fired officials for such behavior, news commentators have accused him of dismantling a pillar of American government.

The vague complexities and “plausible deniabilities” inside the labyrinth of the federal government are confusing enough. But these scandals, investigations, accusations and lies within the government are absolutely bewildering to many. But it all comes down to one definite, disturbing fact: The federal government is at war with itself.

Bureaucrats in Washington are waging a civil war against the Trump administration. He said he wanted to “drain the swamp,” but the swamp is fighting back. Many commentators are saying that something called the “deep state” is trying to exert its control over the United States government to the point of forcing President Trump from office.

The vague complexities and “plausible deniabilities” inside the labyrinth of the federal government are confusing enough. But these scandals, investigations, accusations and lies within the government are absolutely bewildering to many. But it all comes down to one definite, disturbing fact: The federal government is at war with itself.

Republican strategist Roger Stone said that if globalists within the government succeed in ousting President Trump, a “spasm of violence” could erupt. Some describe the nation as hurtling toward rioting and urban warfare.

Such warnings sound extreme. But to know how seriously you should take the deep-state threat, you have to understand what it is and why it is fighting President Trump.

Deep State Rising

The term “deep state” originated in the 1970s in Turkey to describe a powerful, unelected government of bureaucrats, spies and military officers who colluded with drug cartels to put down a Kurdish insurgency.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “deep state” as “a body of people, typically influential members of government agencies or the military, believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy.”

In the United States, the term typically describes the permanent bureaucracy of unelected officials who govern the country with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency.

Fears that such a group of unelected officials could secretly be directing government policy date back to 1947, when President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act. This act created the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Central Intelligence Agency. During the Cold War, officials like cia director Allen Dulles and Federal Bureau of Investigation director J. Edgar Hoover recruited at least a thousand former Nazi agents to work as American spies and informants. This was done behind the backs of the American people, and President Truman came to deeply regret his role in establishing these agencies.

“I never had any thought that when I set up the cia that it would be injected into peacetime cloak-and-dagger operations,” he wrote in the Washington Post on Dec. 22, 1963. “Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the president has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and a subject for Cold War enemy propaganda.”

Harry Truman addresses the media in 1945 in Washington, D.C.
AFP/AFP/Getty Images
“I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak-and-dagger operations…”

Instead of making the cia more accountable to the American people, however, government officials allowed the intelligence community to continue operating with negligible oversight and considerable independence, to the point of assassinating foreign leaders and illegally monitoring the communications of U.S. citizens, up to and including the president of the United States. In 1971, a Navy stenographer admitted to rifling through burn bags, interoffice envelopes and briefcases for communications between President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and also passing on top-secret documents to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. (The espionage became known as the Moorer-Radford affair.) The Joint Chiefs of Staff was illegally spying on its commander in chief.

When Sen. Frank Church led an investigation into cia, fbi and National Security Agency activities in the 1970s, he warned that technological advancements were giving these agencies unprecedented surveillance powers.

“If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know,” Senator Church said on nbc’s Meet the Press in 1975. “I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss.”

But the technological capacities that Church warned about grew stronger during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. President Bush signed an executive order in 2002 authorizing the nsa to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals if the government suspected that they had ties to terrorists. Even though President Obama promised to curb data collection of U.S. citizens, he greatly expanded the power of America’s entrenched surveillance state. During his administration, intelligence agents illegally monitored journalists, members of Congress, the Trump presidential campaign and millions of American citizens.

Even though Barack Obama is no longer president, most of the 850,000 people who held top-secret clearances in his administration are still on the job.

The Fourth Branch of Government

Whether we call it the deep state or something else, it is undeniable that Washington has a deeply embedded bureaucracy that has existed for decades. Many of these bureaucrats staunchly oppose President Trump and his inner circle. The problems this reality creates represent an enormous distortion of how America’s Founding Fathers established the government.

From left: the U.S. capitol building, White House and Supreme Court building

When the framers of the U.S. Constitution designed three coequal branches of government, they gave the legislative branch the power to write laws, the judicial branch the power to interpret laws, and the executive branch the power to enforce laws. The gigantic bureaucracy many Americans think of when they think of the federal government is not in the Constitution at all. It is supposed to exist only to serve the executive branch—which is the president—in carrying out its constitutional duties. Instead it has become an unelected fourth branch of government.

Early presidents were assisted by a limited number of officials whom they nominated and appointed. About 1,000 nonmilitary employees assisted George Washington. A century later, about 40,000 nonmilitary employees assisted Benjamin Harrison. Less than 50 years later, Franklin Roosevelt swelled the number of federal bureaucrats to an all-time high of 3.5 million nonmilitary employees. Today, there are 2,794,000 federal employees in 15 departments, 69 agencies and 383 nonmilitary sub-agencies. This sprawling administrative state consumed $3.98 trillion in 2017, one fifth of America’s total economic output.

These unelected bureaucrats are technically supposed to report to the president, but there are far too many of them to manage. New presidents appoint less than 1 percent of federal positions. The other 99 percent are career bureaucrats. This is why most federal agencies have evolved into independent entities over which the president has limited control. The deep state doesn’t just consist of intelligence agents; it’s much bigger than that. This is seriously concerning to anyone who believes America’s strength, stability and survival depend on the principles of individual freedom in constitutional government.

“This exponential growth has led to increasing power and independence for agencies,” wrote Georgetown law professor Jonathan Turley in a Washington Post editorial. “The shift of authority has been staggering. The fourth branch now has a larger practical impact on the lives of citizens than all the other branches combined” (May 24, 2013).

One study found that elected lawmakers in Congress enacted 138 public laws in 2007—whereas unelected federal bureaucrats established 2,926 regulations. A similar study found that federal judges conduct roughly 95,000 proceedings each year, compared to 939,000 cases tried by administrative “courts” tied to individual federal agencies in the executive branch. Subverting the separation of powers established in the Constitution, many federal bureaucracies possess all three powers of the legislature (regulations), the judiciary (administrative “courts”) and the executive (enforcement by armed agents).

If Americans are no longer governed by laws passed by their elected representatives, they no longer live in a democratic republic. They live in an authoritarian technocracy run by powerful, unelected bureaucrats, civil servants, military leaders and intelligence agents.

Revenge of the Bureaucrats

Donald Trump is a political outsider who has promised to shrink the government (“drain the swamp”), which returns power over an individual’s life to his state government, local government or himself. The president’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, said the “deconstruction of the administrative state” was a core objective of the Trump administration. Even after Bannon left, President Trump has since stepped up his war on federal regulations, vowing last December to shrink the Code of Federal Regulations by an astounding 87 percent.

“[T]he never-ending growth of red tape in America has come to a sudden, screeching and beautiful halt,” he said. “We’re going to cut a ribbon because we’re getting back below the 1960 level, and we’ll be there fairly quickly.”

To accomplish this goal, President Trump signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to cut two old regulations for every new regulation they pass. He has used budget cuts and a hiring freeze to reduce the federal workforce by almost 17,000 employees so far. He has also laid out a plan to fill the courts with judges dedicated to challenging the growing power of federal agencies to make, interpret and enforce federal regulations.

All of this reduces the authority of government bureaucrats who derive their relevance, their lifestyles and their paychecks from taxpayer dollars paid to them in return for them micromanaging people’s lives.

Therefore, federal officials have strong motives to subvert the president’s agenda. Days after President Trump was inaugurated and established a travel ban on several Middle Eastern nations, the interim head of the Justice Department refused to implement it. Shortly thereafter, the Washington Post reported that bureaucrats were seeking advice from Obama-era appointees on how to push back against the Trump administration (which, constitutionally, they were supposed to be serving). Bureaucrats have carefully timed and carefully targeted leaks of information that they think will damage the president. They provide this information to powerful, sympathetic media channels in an attempt to undermine the new administration.

Deep State Coup d’état

While federal bureaucrats are trying to subvert the president’s agenda, top brass at the fbi are trying to subvert the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Recovered text messages exchanged by fbi agent Peter Strzok and fbi lawyer Lisa Page reveal that Strzok told fbi deputy director Andrew McCabe that the department needed an “insurance policy” in case Donald Trump was elected. At the heart of this “insurance policy” is a dossier produced by strategic intelligence firm Fusion gps. It claims the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steal the election.

This dossier was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and none of its claims have been verified. Still, the fbi used the dossier to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. By applying a “two-hop” rule, this warrant allowed the fbi to spy on Page, anyone connected to Page, and anyone connected to anyone connected to Page (potentially including Mr. Trump himself).

Despite knowing that the dossier was unverified, President Obama called a meeting of key officials from the U.S. intelligence community on Jan. 5, 2017, to discuss how the fbi’s investigation of the Trump campaign could continue after Mr. Trump was sworn in as president. This meeting included then cia director John Brennan, then fbi director James Comey, nsa director Michael Rogers and then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. They discussed how to continue an investigation on the next sitting president. If they could have kept Donald Trump out of office, they would have effectively staged a coup d’état by overturning the results of a democratic election.

John Brennan, James Comey, James Clapper, Robert Mueller and Michael Rogers

Former fbi director Robert Mueller is currently leading a Special Counsel investigation into allegations of Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election. Even though he has not turned up any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Democrats like Rep. Al Green and billionaire Tom Steyer are still using the rumors generated by Clinton’s Steele dossier as weapons in an ongoing campaign to impeach President Trump.

This is the “insurance policy” Strzok and McCabe discussed. If deep-state agents can use unverified rumors to keep a political candidate they don’t like out of office, what can’t they do? What happens when the intelligence community goes rogue and starts fighting its own boss? In the past, in nations like Turkey and Egypt, people have risen up against the deep state when it tried to overturn the results of a democratic election. The rift between President Trump and the American deep state is more serious than most people realize. The president is at war with the most technologically advanced surveillance state to ever exist, and things stand to get violent.

Revolution and War

Americans today are not living in the nation of their Founding Fathers, or even of their own fathers. The nation’s government is evolving away from the constitutional republic it once was into an authoritarian technocracy. President Trump is leading a populist revolt against the American deep state.

The Bible reveals that this revolt will end in unprecedented bloodshed unless the nation as a whole turns to God in repentance!

In The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong explained how modern Britain and America descended from ancient Israel. The Bible records that in the time just before Jesus Christ’s return, sinful behavior among the Israelites would lead to government corruption and violent revolution.

Request Herbert W. Armstrong’s free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy to learn the remarkable story of America’s rise and what made America great to begin with.

“Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers” (Isaiah 1:4-7).

This passage describes cause and effect. The government is sick. The nation is faint. But why? Because the people are “laden with iniquity.” Because the government is sick and faint, the people “revolt more and more.”

It is not a coincidence that the deep state has risen as the morality of the nation has fallen. Blasphemy, corruption, covetousness, family breakdown, hatred, idolatry, murder, sexual sins and thievery have consumed America. People have abandoned personal responsibility and biblical morality. They have embraced selfish individualism, social welfare and materialism. As a result, they look to the government to provide, instead of relying on God. By delegating more and more power to the central authority of a human-run government, American citizens have created an administrative state with the power to confiscate the freedoms of those who oppose it.

While millions of Americans may now be waking up to the threat this sprawling network of deep-state departments presents to the nation, their populist revolution does not address the root causes behind this crisis. Corruption and bitter division in America today is leading to a conflict so devastating that the whole country will be laid desolate, and its cities will burn with fire. These serious problems are not caused by one man or a group of government officials. Ultimately, they are caused by the sins of the American people as a whole. Only the repentance of the people can prevent the sickness in America’s government from escalating into full-scale revolution and war.

“Many Americans are troubled by the divisions and hatreds being expressed right now,” wrote Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry. “But they need to be a lot more concerned than they are! The problems are going to get worse and worse until people get the message, and they learn why these disasters are happening! Donald Trump’s win is a prophetic sign of impending civil war and anarchy, followed by America’s worst military defeat ever! But don’t blame the politicians or the race-baiters or the professional rioters. This situation exists in America only because of the sins of the nation—of all Americans! We can no longer ignore what we have reaped by giving ourselves over to sin. This is a reckoning!” (January 2017).

All Americans must come to realize that only Jesus Christ can solve the serious problems in their government. Only then will God establish His government and replace the government in the United States and the governments in all nations. This government will not be a democratic republic or an authoritarian technocracy. It will be a constitutional theocracy, with the law of God as the constitution and Christ the reigning King of kings.