Tag Archives: Shadow Government

America is ruled by an unelected double government

The idea that the U.S. actually is ruled by a shadow unelected government is not new, but Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon is the latest person to say so.

Glennon calls the shadow government a “double government.” By that, Glennon isn’t referring to a conspiracy or the Illuminati or The Powers That Be, but what others have called by a less-loaded term, “the administrative state” — the vast federal government bureaucracies staffed by unelected, faceless officials who, in “administering” the U.S., make countless policy decisions every day that affect every facet of our lives.

double govt

Jordan Michael Smith, a liberal, writes for the Boston Globe, Oct. 18, 2014:

The voters who put Barack Obama in office expected some big changes. From the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping to Guantanamo Bay to the Patriot Act, candidate Obama was a defender of civil liberties and privacy, promising a dramatically different approach from his predecessor.

But six years into his administration, the Obama version of national security looks almost indistinguishable from the one he inherited. Guantanamo Bay remains open. The NSA has, if anything, become more aggressive in monitoring Americans. Drone strikes have escalated. Most recently it was reported that the same president who won a Nobel Prize in part for promoting nuclear disarmament is spending up to $1 trillion modernizing and revitalizing America’s nuclear weapons.

Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line. But Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer….

Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.

… Glennon’s critique sounds like an outsider’s take, even a radical one. In fact, he is the quintessential insider: He was legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a consultant to various congressional committees, as well as to the State Department. “National Security and Double Government” comes favorably blurbed by former members of the Defense Department, State Department, White House, and even the CIA….

How exactly has double government taken hold? And what can be done about it? Glennon spoke with Ideas from his office at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. This interview has been condensed and edited.

IDEAS: What evidence exists for saying America has a double government?

GLENNON: …. I initially wrote it based on my own experience and personal knowledge and conversations with dozens of individuals in the military, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies of our government, as well as, of course, officeholders on Capitol Hill and in the courts. And the documented evidence in the book is substantial—there are 800 footnotes in the book.

IDEAS: Why would policy makers hand over the national-security keys to unelected officials?

GLENNON: It hasn’t been a conscious decision….Members of Congress are generalists and need to defer to experts within the national security realm, as elsewhere. They are particularly concerned about being caught out on a limb having made a wrong judgment about national security and tend, therefore, to defer to experts, who tend to exaggerate threats. The courts similarly tend to defer to the expertise of the network that defines national security policy.

The presidency itself is not a top-down institution, as many people in the public believe, headed by a president who gives orders and causes the bureaucracy to click its heels and salute. National security policy actually bubbles up from within the bureaucracy. Many of the more controversial policies, from the mining of Nicaragua’s harbors to the NSA surveillance program, originated within the bureaucracy. John Kerry was not exaggerating when he said that some of those programs are “on autopilot.”

IDEAS: Isn’t this just another way of saying that big bureaucracies are difficult to change?

GLENNON: It’s much more serious than that. These particular bureaucracies don’t set truck widths or determine railroad freight rates. They make nerve-center security decisions that in a democracy can be irreversible, that can close down the marketplace of ideas, and can result in some very dire consequences….

There is not only one explanation or one cause for the amazing continuity of American national security policy. But obviously there is something else going on when policy after policy after policy all continue virtually the same way that they were in the George W. Bush administration.

IDEAS: This isn’t how we’re taught to think of the American political system.

GLENNON: I think the American people are deluded…that the institutions that provide the public face actually set American national security policy. They believe that when they vote for a president or member of Congress or succeed in bringing a case before the courts, that policy is going to change….policy by and large in the national security realm is made by the concealed institutions.

IDEAS: Do we have any hope of fixing the problem?

GLENNON:The ultimate problem is the pervasive political ignorance on the part of the American people. And indifference to the threat that is emerging from these concealed institutions. That is where the energy for reform has to come from: the American people. Not from government. Government is very much the problem here. The people have to take the bull by the horns. And that’s a very difficult thing to do, because the ignorance is in many ways rational. There is very little profit to be had in learning about, and being active about, problems that you can’t affect, policies that you can’t change.

Where I disagree with Glennon, who is a liberal, are:

  1. Glennon confines the “double government” to only the national security sector. But if we use his own argument, since it’s the unelected government bureaucrats who actually make policies, the “double government” would pervade every sector of government, not just the Pentagon.
  2. Glennon‘s emphasis on the role played by the “double government” minimizes — and therefore excuses — actual decisions made by Obama (amnesty for illegals via executive orders), Congress (Obamacare), and the Supreme Court (gay marriage) which greatly impact every American’s life. Of course, once those policies are made, bureaucracies are created to implement and enforce the policies, and those bureaucracies will never go away. As an example, see the diagram below on the Byzantine labyrinth of government bureaucracies spawned by Obamacare.

↓ Click image to enlarge ↓

Obamacare bureaucratic maze

See also:

~Éowyn

NSA spies on top civilian-military officials, incl. Obama, for blackmail?

Eye of Sauron

Russell D. Tice is a former U.S. intelligence analyst who was the first NSA whistleblower 8 years ago, BEFORE the more famous Edward Snowden.

Wikipedia says Tice worked as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Air Force, Office of Naval Intelligence, and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). During his nearly 20-year career with various United States government agencies, he conducted intelligence missions related to the Kosovo War, Afghanistan, the USS Cole bombing in Yemen, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Tice was transferred from the Defense Intelligence Agency to the National Security Agency in 2002.

Tice was dismissed by the NSA in May 2005, just days after publicly urging Congress to pass stronger protections for federal intelligence agency whistleblowers facing retaliation, and claiming that whistleblowers were being punished.

In December 2005, Tice alleged that both (NSA) and the DIA were engaged in unlawful and unconstitutional conduct against the American people, sparking a national controversy. Tice stated that the activities involved the Director of the NSA, the Deputies Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, and the U.S. Secretary of Defense, and were conducted via very highly sensitive intelligence programs and operations known as special access programs (SAP), more commonly referred to as “black world” programs, or “black ops”. On December 23, 2005, the Austin American-Statesman reported Tice’s allegations that spying on Americans may involve a massive computer system known as ECHELON, which is able to search and filter hundreds of thousands of phone calls and e-mails in seconds.

In reaction to Tice’s claims, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly, two prominent figures in conservative media, launched an offensive against his credibility. On his Fox News broadcast of January 11, 2006, O’Reilly said that Tice should be jailed for his whistleblowing activity.

Russell TiceNow that Edward Snowden had come forth with tangible paper evidence of the NSA’s massive surveillance, Tice is speaking out again, hoping that this time the media finally will listen to him.

In the interview below, Tice says that the NSA’s surveillance of American citizens was way more than what we know today, and way past what the law allows.

Speaking from his inside knowledge as an intelligence analyst in the NSA during the George W. Bush administration, Tice says that initially, the NSA targeted news organizations and U.S. companies that did international business.

Then the NSA’s phone and email surveillance (via wiretapping even unlisted home phones) went after the State Department, including then-Secretary of State Colin Powell; high-ranking (3 stars and above) military generals and admirals, including Gen. David Patreus; Supreme Court justices, including Justice Sam Alito; and then-Illinois state senator Barack Obama (beginning at the 3:27 mark in the video.

More disturbing still, Tice doesn’t know who in the NSA was/is administering the surveillance of the U.S. government’s top civilian and military officials. He says the surveillance was done “in the evenings” “on the sly” at the NSA because most NSA officials did not know what was going on.

Then Tice, who’s a Republican says (at the 5:18 mark) that a “high level, very senior person at the NSA” told him that “this was being directed from the Vice President’s office,” i.e., Vice President Dick Cheney.

The interviewer then asks Tice “why?” — What was the purpose of the surveillance? Was it blackmail?

Tice replies that although he doesn’t know for sure, it seems to him that blackmail would be the reason, as “a means of control.” Spying and listening in on people’s phone and email communications for years on end is bound to uncover “salacious information” that can be used for blackmail to control that person. He then points out that, despite sequester budget cutbacks, the intelligence budget isn’t hit, and asks “How is that possible? Is there some kind of leverage that’s being placed on our three branches of government to make sure that the intelligence community gets what they want? In other words, is the intelligence community running this country, and not our government?

When asked specifically whether he thinks there’s a “shadow government,” Tice is reticent, saying he doesn’t really know, but his guess is that it’s the “upper echelons of the intelligence community” who are “running the show.”

Tice emphasizes that the NSA’s massive and secret surveillance of the government itself goes beyond politicians spying on opponent politicians:

“This is on an Orwellian scale. This is the everything scale. This isn’t just Richard Nixon going after the enemies list. This is everybody and everything. And now the NSA is literally tapping EVERY communication, every digital communication in this country. Content. Not just the meta data. Content. When they’re saying ‘It’s not that far,’ once again, they are lying. They continue to lie about their full capability. […] President Bush was lying to the American people. Now President Obama is lying to the American people. Is it because he’s being controlled? I don’t know. But I certainly know when he was candidate Obama, even though I was a Republican I heard that he wanted to stop these things.”

Tice is puzzled why when, years ago, he told the media that the NSA was going after journalists and news organization, the media was disinterested. He wonders if there was/is “some interest that’s making sure the media wasn’t covering this.” Now that Edward Snowden has come forth, with tangible evidence on paper — “tangible proof” of what Tice had said in the past — the media are listening.

Tice concludes by saying that we have a police state in America, but “they’re hiding the fact that it’s a police state. The fact that they can literally go into all our communications, all our digital communications, the fact that it’s been recently disclosed, the Post Office is now doing a cover on every tangible letter that goes into the post office. They’re taking a picture of everything. They’re looking at the return address, and they’re looking at the main address of who’s mailing something, and that is also being digitally stored. So every means of communication in this country, everything, is being watched by the federal government. And that is Orwellian, and that is the trademark of a police state.”

~Eowyn

Another “note” on Conspiracies

“Why do the nations…”

      –from Handel’s Messiah

Psalm 2 (NIV)
Why do the nations conspire 
  and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
  and the rulers band together
  against the Lord and against 
  his anointed, saying,
 “Let us break their chains
    and throw off their shackles.”

The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
  the Lord scoffs at them.
  He rebukes them in his anger
    and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
  on Zion, my holy mountain.”

I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
  He said to me, “You are my son;
    today I have become your father.
  Ask me,
    and I will make the nations your inheritance,
    the ends of the earth your possession.
  You will break them with a rod of iron;
    you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

  Therefore, you kings, be wise;
    be warned, you rulers of the earth.
    Serve the Lord with fear
      and celebrate his rule with trembling.
  Kiss his son, or he will be angry
    and your way will lead to your destruction,
  for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
    Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Still enjoying the theme? Here’s more from Handel’s Messiah.

“The Trumpet Shall Sound…”

1 Corinthians 15:52-53
For the trumpet will sound, 
  the dead will be raised imperishable, 
  and we will be changed. 
For the perishable must clothe itself 
  with the imperishable, 
    and the mortal with immortality.

Take heart dear readers,
the Lord Almighty is on His throne.
Pleasant dreams tonight. ~ TD