The deep state has been with us since the first days of the American republic. Back then, conspiracy theorists were worried that the former officers of the Continental Army were gathering together to grab power from the government formed under the Articles of Confederation. The group of officers were part of an organization called the Society of the Cincinnati. It had actually been formed as a kind of fraternal order among the former officers, to keep old relationships in place. No matter. People will gossip and there was buzz that the new group wanted to grab power and establish themselves as a new American aristocracy.
The society did not much like the swirling rumors and tried to kill them. As it happens, they also met in Philadelphia at the time the new Constitutional Convention was convened. And as it happened, their presiding officer, George Washington, ended up being the first president of the reconstituted United States. And others of the society’s top folks, like, say, Alexander Hamilton, also ended up in senior roles.
After that, of course, there was no stopping the rumor mill. Conspiracy theories spread about who the real power was in the US government—as they have in the case of almost every government in history. And, as has also historically been true, while many of the rumors were wild fabrications, there was from time-to-time truth beneath the surface. There has been, from the first days of the US, a group of people who have worked in and around the government and have formed a community with substantial power precisely because of their long-time stewardship and study of the levers of power.
Often, it has been upon this group that we have relied to ensure continuity in our government and to uphold standards of public service. Sometimes, clusters within that community have strayed and warranted the concern of observers who feared their power or rather, their abuses of power. But just as often, the insiders have been professional in their work and committed to their service of the Constitution and the people of the U.S.
When the idea of the “deep state” began to circulate a few years ago, it could be traced to these rumors. It was intended to disparage and raise concerns about “unelected power” in our government. But, of course, many of those being attacked were loyal, dedicated members of the military, the intelligence community, the diplomatic service, law enforcement and the civil service. They were the people who made the government work.
Ultimately, as the story of the last few years unfolded, it was revealed that those attacking the “deep state” were actually the threat…and that often, it was whistleblowers and people simply doing their jobs who protected the government against those who wanted to undermine the rule of law in the U.S. and weaken our democracy while benefiting our enemies.
In 2017, shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump, while the “deep state” rumors were beginning to swirl, a group of us who had worked in and around Washington and, in particular, around our national security institutions and the White House, got together and decided to put together a podcast that would cover Washington and, when appropriate, take the piss out of it. In that spirit, we called the podcast “Deep State Radio.”
In the three and a half years since, our podcasts have been downloaded over 8 million times. Two or sometimes three times a week we have brought together the best minds in and around Washington and the world to discuss politics, foreign policy and national security. Our goal was to have the kind of informed, in-depth conversation that was impossible on traditional media. The result has been the development of a loyal audience, an audience that spends on average over two hours a week listening to our podcasts.
Sometimes, of course, there is more to cover than we can discuss during the podcasts and so from time to time, I would write additional observations that carried on the substance of what we might otherwise discuss on the air. While I often write for other publications, these observations, often offered in the form of threads on Twitter, were something else—direct extensions of our Deep State Radio work.
That’s why, we are now creating, a new subscription driven service that will provide new insights and thinking 3-5 times a week. It will be a perfect compliment to Deep State Radio and, for those who have not listened to the podcast, another way to get a perspective on the world’s we cover that you can’t find elsewhere.
So watch this space in the next few days and weeks as we roll out the newsletter…and please subscribe. We are sure you will find it of value as you too attempt to separate the facts from the conspiracy theories, the reality from the rhetoric in Washington, DC, and in global affairs.