Deep State: Inside Washington's Shadowy Power Elite

Tyler Durden's picture

This “state within a state” hides “mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day,” says Lofgren, and yet the “Deep State does not consist of the entire government.”

Our plutocracy, whether the hedge fund managers in Greenwich, Connecticut, or the Internet moguls in Palo Alto, now lives like the British did in colonial India: ruling the place but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; to the person fortunate enough to own a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension, and viable public transportation doesn’t even compute. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?”


? Mike Lofgren, The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government


"Our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise.


But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened."


Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, Princeton 2014

"As a congressional staff member for 28 years specializing in national security and possessing a top secret security clearance, I was at least on the fringes of the world I am describing, if neither totally in it by virtue of full membership nor of it by psychological disposition.


But, like virtually every employed person, I became, to some extent, assimilated into the culture of the institution I worked for, and only by slow degrees, starting before the invasion of Iraq, did I begin fundamentally to question the reasons of state that motivate the people who are, to quote George W. Bush,  'the deciders.'


Cultural assimilation is partly a matter of what psychologist Irving L. Janis called groupthink,  the chameleon-like ability of people to adopt the views of their superiors and peers. This syndrome is endemic to Washington: The town is characterized by sudden fads, be it negotiating biennial budgeting, making grand bargains or invading countries. Then, after a while, all the town's cool kids drop those ideas as if they were radioactive.


As in the military, everybody has to get on board with the mission, and questioning it is not a career-enhancing move. The universe of people who will critically examine the goings-on at the institutions they work for is always going to be a small one. As Upton Sinclair said,  'It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.'"

Mike Lofgren

h/t Jesse's Cafe Americain blog

*  *  *

As we previously concluded, for all intents and purposes, the nation is one national “emergency” away from having a full-fledged, unelected, authoritarian state emerge from the shadows. All it will take is the right event—another terrorist attack, perhaps, or a natural disaster—for such a regime to emerge from the shadows.

As unnerving as that prospect may be, however, it is the second shadow government, what former congressional staffer Mike Lofgren refers to as “the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power,” that poses the greater threat right now.

Consider this: how is it that partisan gridlock has seemingly jammed up the gears (and funding sources) in Washington, yet the government has been unhindered in its ability to wage endless wars abroad, in the process turning America into a battlefield and its citizens into enemy combatants?

The credit for such relentless, entrenched, profit-driven governance, according to Lofgren, goes to “another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose.”

This “state within a state” hides “mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day,” says Lofgren, and yet the “Deep State does not consist of the entire government.”

Rather, Lofgren continues:

It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street.


All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council. Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan, where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted.


The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of the congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. The rest of Congress, normally so fractious and partisan, is mostly only intermittently aware of the Deep State and when required usually submits to a few well-chosen words from the State’s emissaries.

In an expose titled “Top Secret America,” The Washington Post revealed the private side of this shadow government, made up of 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances, “a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government.”

Reporting on the Post’s findings, Lofgren points out:

These contractors now set the political and social tone of Washington, just as they are increasingly setting the direction of the country, but they are doing it quietly, their doings unrecorded in the Congressional Record or the Federal Register, and are rarely subject to congressional hearings…

The Deep State not only holds the nation’s capital in thrall, but it also controls Wall Street (“which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary marionette theater”) and Silicon Valley.

As Lofgren concludes:

[T]he Deep State is so heavily entrenched, so well protected by surveillance, firepower, money and its ability to co-opt resistance that it is almost impervious to change… If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent, uninterrupted cash flow and the confidence that things will go on as they have in the past. It is even willing to tolerate a degree of gridlock: Partisan mud wrestling over cultural issues may be a useful distraction from its agenda.

Remember this the next time you find yourselves mesmerized by the antics of the 2016 presidential candidates or drawn into a politicized debate over the machinations of Congress, the president or the judiciary: it’s all intended to distract you from the fact that you have no authority and no rights in the face of the shadow governments.

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Croesus's picture

Fuck them....another bunch of useless shitbags

NidStyles's picture

Exactly, they are nothing more than over-glorified consumers. The largest consumers in the world, they produce nothing for the world other than their own demands and use back room deals and nepotism to reinforced their perceived authority because of the amount of "demand" they create with their consumption.

When the whole world is revolving around nothing but consumption, those that consume the most always have their demands fulfilled first, because they perpetuate the lie by their mere existence.



El Oregonian's picture

Borg assimilation... Hive mentality buzzing around all the capitals around the world.

Harlequin001's picture

'If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent, uninterrupted cash flow'

So gold in money would fuck them totally.

There's your answer. Put gold back in money and this all ends, immediately.

No more budgets for phone tapping, mass data collection, government fraud, embezzlement...

MisterMousePotato's picture

"Remember this the next time you find yourselves mesmerized by the antics of the 2016 presidential candidates ...: it’s all intended to distract you from the fact that you have no authority and no rights in the face of the shadow governments."

Were this just another Jeb vs. Christie vs. Hillary vs. Biden show, I would yawn agreeably with this statement, but there is something about both Sanders and Trump (especially Trump) that the Deep State seems to hate, maybe even fear. Now I realize that this "enemy of my enemy" thing doesn't seem to work out very well long term, but still ... this is the first election I've seen where the debate has drifted beyond "I'm against flag burning" ("NO! I'm more against flag burning!") and I'm more pro homo than my opponent and other such tripe.

Shame we'll never get to see.

I need more asshats's picture

If you want to learn some disturbing things about USSA deepstate this guy exposes the monsters:

DownWithYogaPants's picture

He's an ass hat.  If you have seen his other comments you would know just to automatically -1 vote him.

NidStyles's picture

I think he's more of a gubermint stooge or a tribe employee. Here to disrupt the conversations we have about particular groups of beanie wearing faggots and their stooges.

I need more asshats's picture

Come'on bitchez! You want to call me into the cage?

Bring some surgical thread because your going exit with stitches!

Tarzan's picture

The seemingly endless flow of fiat that feeds this beast will come to a SCREECHING halt one day soon!

'If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent, uninterrupted cash flow'

The elephant in the room is Fiat!  It both enables the Deep State, and ironically will be it's sudden fall...

"Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. "To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning;   for she says in her heart, 'I SIT as A QUEEN AND I AM NOT A WIDOW, and will never see mourning.' "For this reason in one day her plagues will come....


in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!'....


Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold....


Chaos is coming for the Deep State, as their judgment day suddenly crushes those in power, as their nakedness is exposed for all to see, when the flow of FAKE MONEY they depend on comes crashing down.  Instantly those who depend on castle walls and other peoples wealth will find themselves NAKED and POOR! 

Took Red Pill's picture

Here's a Ted Talk on the subject of the deep state; The  Stasi of Germany. The similarities to today are eerie;


Dr. Spin's picture


There is a good movie about the STASI:  It's called "The Lives of Others".


hedgeless_horseman's picture




The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.



For, today as in the past, each of us, more or less, would like to profit from the labor of others. One does not dare to proclaim this feeling publicly, one conceals it from oneself, and then what does one do? One imagines an intermediary; one addresses the state, and each class proceeds in turn to say to it: "You, who can take fairly and honorably, take from the public and share with us." Alas! The state is only too ready to follow such diabolical advice; for it is composed of cabinet ministers, of bureaucrats, of men, in short, who, like all men, carry in their hearts the desire, and always enthusiastically seize the opportunity, to see their wealth and influence grow. The state understands, then, very quickly the use it can make of the role the public entrusts to it. It will be the arbiter, the master, of all destinies. It will take a great deal; hence, a great deal will remain for itself. It will multiply the number of its agents; it will enlarge the scope of its prerogatives; it will end by acquiring overwhelming proportions.


-Bastiat, The Law, Chapter 5:20-21

NoDecaf's picture

Thom Hartmann and Mike Lofgren....Two big progressive liberals on ZH?? and this has an average of "5" with 50 votes!?

what's going on here??

smells like bullshit

Tarzan's picture

When you suspect your friend's are plotting against you, the opinions of your friend's enemy can be eye opening

Dr. Spin's picture

Uno Tarzan, you have a good point.  How powerful is the deep state in the EMs?

The weaker sovereigns will turn on the big players when things start to fall apart.

Watch the EMs.  That is where the contaigon will begin...


sschu's picture


Some think it the Catholic Church, some Wall Street, some think it the international bankers.

More and more it looks like it is the idea of fiat itself.


acetinker's picture

Whatever happened to kchrisc?  He simply said STOP PAYING.  STOP PAYING for your own enslavement.


shovelhead's picture


Nobody can hit you with his purse like a Canadian can.

SWRichmond's picture

Bring some surgical thread because your going exit with stitches!

You mean side stitches from laughing?

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

this guy is a faggot  - he says sander's model is what is needed to save the nation..yep more communist power running ,gov, like all the statist the cure for bad centralized government is MORE Government.

can't think outside the box if you do not even see the box.

his deep thinking is big money is bad, so small money is good. - No the problem is nobody of the elite goes to jail, but kids selling tax free cigs get murder by cop.

 like all of history...self serving criminals must meet justice or they consume us all.lawyers and judges have failed us and this republic, they took the easy money right justice roberts of it's a tax if I say it is.

freedom is what we all say we want, but, we are willing to negociate the point for benefits, or ,well the promise of benefits if we give some freedom up.

Laws are enforced for all (justice is blind) or you got USA 2016.

oncefired's picture

When the SHTF, we need to know who these people are - we aren't going to be putting them in jail though, at least that is what my 9mm is telling me!

SirBarksAlot's picture

Very interesting with the documents to back it up.  Thanks for posting!

George Washington wasn't the first president.

Banks don't hold all our money in a vault until someone borrows it.

The government knew about the bombing of Hawaii before it happened.

Why are UFO's so out of the question?  Have you never been to Marfa?

Money Counterfeiter's picture
Money Counterfeiter (not verified) MisterMousePotato Jan 31, 2016 4:16 AM

Dumbass propagandist obviously never read von Mises or Cato to think they are Wall Street bail out proponents.  Couple of FDR Saunders supporters.  Fuck em.

Why is this shit on ZH?

DownWithYogaPants's picture

Anyone who portrays Bernie Sanders as someone who would liberate us from the banksters is retarded.  Bernie's policies would run up more debt which is equivalent to sitting us with no pants on in the laps of the banksters.

Then this turd goes on to characterize Trump supportors as "misguided but outside the standard model".

So this guy thinks the answer is regulation??? What does he think got us to this point???  It was BIG GOVERNMENT which of course runs under the fiat money model of the Federal Reserve.  The answer is a radically smaller government and a population that actively tries to learn how to act as a local community on a daily basis rather than the continual scamming methodology promulgated by the large gov model.

He has a sort of gay voice so I guess I shoul have expected this sort of bias on the speakers part.  My experience is that the effeminate / gay males out there think that they are smarter than masculine males.  But that's only because they compare themselves with football players not realizing there is a whole universe of high testosterone >+3 standard deviation IQ males who run rings around the limp wrists.

Raging Debate's picture

We dont run rings around the metrosexuals, we are too busy banging all the lonley pussy out there in society that wonder where all the real men went.

The shadow government gears within gears thing is interesting but I view the real conflicts of interest and political disconnect with the populous by having the Counci Of Foreign Relations. That is where the selling out on trade policy emulates. The public has no in input at all. 

The rest of the problem is lobbying Congress openly. And with corporates designated 'people' status we passed the rubicon, this Republic is dead, bankrupt and running on fumes.

Plenty of resources to rebuild another one but for now just jerking off mentally masturbating here about deep states n shit. The.population could shut down Washington and end lobbyinging including the Federal Reserv in a number of non violent ways. And the general populous knows lobbying is the real issue but when you bring it up to anybody with any real means to do anything they dont want to rock there boat. They dont realize they are just last in line of the crocodile but so be it. That is the world we live in. 

 Ever go to a party with your spouse who you can barely tolerate that makes you wait until 3:00 AM because she is doing lines, making a fool of herself while she talks shit about you with her friends? That is what all this feels like. You know whether its a month or year from now your going to get rid of that bitch. You know that bitch will make you homeless in the process but it is starting to look worth ot, even though your high supposed friends disagree.

 History agrees with the analogy. Where is the Roman Senate of Pharoes of Egyot these days?

20834A's picture

"…liberty can be made into a powerful instrument of domination. … Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves..."[ Herbert Marcuse

wholy1's picture

Just as Jesse Ventura got "the visit" upon assuming the governorship If MN, Trump will get said "visit" and stern sobbering "marching orders" should he enter the Dark House at 1600 TRAnsylvania Av.  I would urger him to severly limit his travel should he decide NOT to follow "THEIR" agenda.

Chupacabra-322's picture

Whenever one hears terms like "Deep State" & "Shadow Gov." Just refer to it in its fear form, the Pure Evil Criminal Psychopathic CIA / MIC.

"As we previously concluded, for all intents and purposes, the nation is one national “emergency” away from having a full-fledged, unelected, authoritarian state emerge from the shadows."

Aren't we already there?

" All it will take is the right event—another terrorist attack, perhaps, or a natural disaster—for such a regime to emerge from the shadows."

The second part is just paraphrasing Psychopath War Criminal Kissenger.

BetweenThe Coasts's picture

"Last year, pressed by progressive donors at a dinner party to act more like the progressive they thought he was, Obama responded sharply, 'Don’t you remember what happened to Dr. King?'”

--Ray McGovern, Doubting Obama's Resolve To Do Right

iinthesky's picture

In answer to this article: tell me something I don't know! 

But here is the thing.  In empowering the office of the executive well beyond anything that the framers intended, have they created the means of their own demise? Because the exec has control over the federal bureaucracy, that exec can do a hell of a lot to undermine the agenda. If nothing else, he could start to dismantle it.  Probably the most troublesome thing that could happen is a President hell bent on throwing off power instead of accumulating it. 

True Blue's picture

Because each and every one of those 'deep state' agencies he listed are under the direct control of the Executive branch, with little or no oversight. They concentrated power in the Puppet of the US to their benefit, and now they see someone 'else' (not one of their little club or cabal) taking the reins.

How are they going to feel if the next in power decides to launch massive drone strikes against America's real enemies, starting with the former inhabitants of certain offices and moving right along to Langley and the Eccles Building? They invested that power in a single office to serve their advantage; justice would be it bites them in the ass good and hard.

oldschool's picture

There's your answer. Put gold back in money and this all ends, immediately.

Which, of course, is why it won't happen.  

JRobby's picture

"If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent, uninterrupted cash flow"

Tax revenues not growing as fast as debt is being issued? Of course they aren't. No crisis in sight!  Just keep issuing debt without question. As the Gentleman stated in the interview about the reasons GOV seem to not see these "crisis'" coming when everyone else does.

Which version of "We have lost control of this thing and we are not at all sure what will happen next" do you want to hear????

This fucked shit show is terminating and there are a thousand plus "versions" of that denial in double speak issued on a daily basis.

Father Thyme's picture
Father Thyme (not verified) NidStyles Jan 30, 2016 11:48 PM

Sometimes I contemplate whether thermonuclear war is the answer for a gigantic reset. 

At least movie-goers seem to find escape in post-apocalyptic movies, because they're actually more interesting that today's monotonous grind.

Really, would you rather commute to the office again Monday morning, or be that lone man fighting his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind, like in The Book of Eli?

I sure wouldn't miss most people. Hell, a favorite fantasy is being the last person, or one of the last few people, on earth, such as in I Am Legend and Oblivion.

Pray for thermonuclear war right now, to your favorite deity. It probably won't happen, but it just puts a new perspective on things.


August's picture

>>>Pray for thermonuclear war right now, to your favorite deity.

Speaking long-term, the whole monkey thing is just not working out.

buttmint's picture

August...the sad note is the Deep State would not blink twice nuking multiple American cities.

If they decide this route as "decicers," it is too bad they will not choose Detroit first, rather Portland, Oregon.


True Blue's picture

Besides, they just don't care; they all have their own taxpayer funded luxury hideouts, deep bomb shelters etc. so that They alone can survive whatever calamity They by definition cause. It is like the Capitan and Crew of the Titanic having luxury lifeboats waiting for them -while the rest of us... not so much.

garlansm's picture

Please lay off the pipe man!

I need more asshats's picture

Seriously. Fucking idiots don't even realize that the 'movies' (entertainment) are the joos favorite location to prey upon people. They use the platform to degrade pristine societies, to plant ridiculous lies and fantasy into your weak naive minds.

Americans are so stoopid, lazy, and desperate.

drendebe10's picture

EMP would be better.  In a TN blast the rich basturd 0.1% & elite elected political turds & bureaucrats would be in their safe shelters.   They need to suffer like the cockroaches they are. Fukem. Fukemall.

Moustache Rides's picture

When they revealed that the book in The Book of Eli was the bible, I rolled my eyes so hard i think i hurt myself.  I'm not an atheist but that would be the last book humanity should save.  It should be the first one destroyed.

turtle's picture

While I am not one to put my full faith in astrology, I do hope this is relevant:

 "Chinese astrology tells us that the USA was born in the Year of the Fire Monkey on July 4, 1776. This birth date also indicates that Pluto was transiting through Capricorn during the revolutionary period of the 1770s. 

The coincidence of these two mutually reinforcing astrological events only occurs every 245 years.  The obvious deduction is that the United States of America is getting ready to experience the 2nd American Revolution.  Only this time the people are revolting against an extremely oppressive U.S. Federal Government.  Political and financial tyranny have been manifesting on a daily basis.  The citizenry has never been so justifiably rebellious in almost 250 years.

Clearly, the powerful energies associated with the Fire Monkey encourage exactly the same kind of revolutionary fervor that we see developing throughout American society today.  Aggressive and assertive, courageous and daring, the Fire Monkey knows no fear when his show begins.  Just as those who served in George Washington’s army went up against great odds to defeat the ‘invincible’ British Empire.  The political and financial establishment simply has no idea what it’s facing in the form of the enraged and determined Fire Monkey. "

Father Thyme's picture
Father Thyme (not verified) turtle Jan 30, 2016 11:39 PM

And then there's that bit about George Washington's fortune cookie he got with some takee-outee General Tsao chicken at Valley Forge, whose fortune saying he incorporated into his first inaugural address.

"And since the preservation of the sacred fire monkey of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."
--First Inaugural Address (30 April 1789)

True story.

xythras's picture
xythras (not verified) Father Thyme Jan 31, 2016 6:38 AM

Damn.. looks like we have at least two ZH readers too dumb to get the joke.

Who would have thought.

Father Thyme's picture
Father Thyme (not verified) xythras Jan 31, 2016 6:56 AM

The sacred fire monkey of liberty farts in your general direction.

Ms No's picture

God damn fire monkeys! 

I didn't junk you I just can't help but laugh everytime I hear that term.  I don't redicule things I don't understand but it seems like a long shot.  Lets just say that there are some type of energies or magnetic forces that are affecting our bodies and world in ways that we don't understand as the planets transition. 

The science that would have to be involved in the calculations of such things would be mind boggling unless they could just be measured as they happen.  Then there is also the fact that things change which would require a constant reworking of the math and physics, I would assume.  How in the hell would anybody every figure that out? Especially going back to the origination of these theories? 

detached.amusement's picture

In some disciplines, a formidable practitioner is exceedingly rare.  I always thought it was bullshit until I hung out a bit with someone who was extremely well versed in was like any of those movies going and consulting the wisened ones and they say some deep but somewhat general shit but its dead spot on for the situation.  I wouldnt try to use it or rely on most anyone's usage of it, though.

Implied Violins's picture

There is an astrologer who is really good - Laura Walker at the Oracle Report:

Not your normal practitioner, she has called when the elites plan their nastiness too often to be mere chance.

Make no mistake, these elite bastards use advanced astrological understanding and numerology to plan what they do and when. Even if it all is ultimately bullshit, just knowing that THEY use this stuff is useful to predict when they will do their shit in advance.