|Deep State America: Democracy is often subverted by special interests operating behind the scenes The American Conservative - |
|Deep State Rising: The Mainstreaming of the Shadow Government The Corbett Report - |
|Anatomy of the Deep State Bill Moyers.Com - |
|American Deep State Interview with Peter Dale Scott Project Censored - |
Thomas Andrews Drake (born 1957) is a former senior official of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran, computer software expert, linguist, management and leadership specialist, and whistleblower. In 2010 the government alleged that he 'mishandled' documents, one of the few such Espionage Act cases in U.S. history. His defenders claim that he was instead being persecuted for challenging the Trailblazer Project.
transcriptPAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay. Donald Trump's choices so far for his cabinet tell us something about the direction his administration will be going. Flynn at National Security Advisor, Pompeo at the CIA, Sessions for Attorney General. All of these -- and, of course, I should back up, maybe most importantly, Pence at Vice President, who says he will model his vice-presidency after Dick Cheney, and many think he will have power similar to Dick Cheney's -- all of this tells us that this could be an administration which is Act II of the Cheney-Bush Administration, and how does that affect the intelligence community? How might people react to that, especially people that might consider themselves to be whistle-blowers? And now joining us is a whistle-blower, Thomas Drake. Thomas is a former senior official of the US National Security Agency, the NSA, decorated United States Air Force, and United States Navy veteran, computer software expert, linguist, management and leadership specialist. As I said, a whistle-blower. Thanks for joining us, Thomas. THOMAS DRAKE: Thanks for having me again. PAUL JAY: So, how do you think, or what do you hear, the intelligence community will respond to all of this? We're told it may be that there will be a freer hand on various things that have been described as torture. Pompeo and others, Flynn, seem to be very pro-mass surveillance. What's the intelligence community...? Are they happy about all this? THOMAS DRAKE: It probably depends on how you want to look at it. I mean, there's a lot of jockeying going on, a lot of information that's being anonymously released to certain outlets, what I call sort of the shaping and forming of opinion. I can remind all of your listeners that at NSA there was the old joke that directors come and go; we're still here, and this is with respect to sort of the intelligence community establishment. Presidents come and go; we're still here. So, it's important to note that despite elections and despite agency heads coming in and out -- and they're given terms of two, three, four, five, sometimes longer -- there is an establishment, and it largely... it sits as deep as a deep state, you know, the double government, the shadow government. But obviously, they're not unaffected by an election, particularly an election that we just had, and we're in this rather special period in terms of the US Constitution. We have a President-Elect, but you still have the sitting President, who has all the power of the presidency and the full power of the new president doesn't happen until inauguration. So, we're in the beginning stages of the transition. You mentioned a few names. But how would the intelligence community...? I think, personally, just as a broad stroke answer to you, is that they actually were expecting or anticipating, and had even a preference, for a Hillary Clinton Administration. Hillary, and why? Is because she was really status quo. She's more a Republican in that respect than Trump, and I think it would have... it would have been easier for the intelligence community to adjust. Having said that, based on the choices that Trump is evidencing so far -- and remember this is early on -- I think you could easily argue that it's a return to more secrecy, it's a return to a Bush-Cheney II, it's law and order, it's back to certain times of executive actions that have been sort of finessed by Obama, but also put on the special presidential secrecy plate, that platter that he is handing off, those special presidential powers he's handing off to Trump. And I have to say, you know, I look back on these past eight years, and, if anything, Obama, with a couple of minor exceptions, has institutionalized what many people thought was an eight years' worth of anomalies after sort of the overreach and the overreaction post-9/11, and has essentially provided the country, and most of it is still secret, interestingly enough, even though a lot's come out, what he has referred to as the legal framework -- and I believe that's his legacy. He would have preferred Hillary himself. He made that crystal clear. PAUL JAY: The legal framework for what? THOMAS DRAKE: The legal framework for all the expansion of powers, the full legalization of much of those things that were actually patently illegal and unlawful and unconstitutional under Bush and Cheney, all accelerated at the very end of the Bush Administration with certain legislative acts that were signed into law and further expanded by Obama. PAUL JAY: For example, the NDAA Amendment that allowed the armed forces to arrest people. THOMAS DRAKE: Well, the 1021, 1022 -- the 1021, in particular, extremely concerning. The National Defense Authorization Act is largely an executive-driven act. They have a tremendous influence over it. Yes, that's one example. PAUL JAY: And that's a particularly important example because now that power, essentially, if I understand that Amendment correctly, it allows the armed forces to arrest anyone who they can accuse of being connected with the Taliban, al-Qaeda or terrorist activity, and that is a pretty broad stroke, and that power is now in the hands of what will be the new Commander-in-Chief. THOMAS DRAKE: Right. And, see, this is part of what I consider the dystopian reality post-9/11 that so much of this space has become increasingly militarized. And that means it's more beholden to Article II powers under the Commander-in-Chief than not. And the more the Executive has in terms of that kind of running room, in terms of its ability to execute, the harder it is for Congress and others to rein it in. Now, that's not to say... sort of the irony here is if Trump decides to push those boundaries in a more pro-Bush, pro-Cheney mode, you might find certain parts of the political establishment, particularly Independents and Democrats and even Independent Republicans, waking up. This was always the great fear. I mean, this is something that I have said for many, many years, you might accept that Obama was more -- and I will actually argue against it -- but more restrained in the use of Executive power. The real concern -- this was voiced early on as it became evident that he was not going to roll back the Bush-Cheney era -- what would happen if someone like a Bush-Cheney became president? And people were thinking, oh, that's off in the future. Well, it's very possible that it's now arrived. PAUL JAY:Yeah. I always thought the distinction between Clinton and Trump and the teams that are around them is that Obama... I think Clinton on the whole, while they agree with the neocons and the Trump types and the people around him -- they all agree on the importance of "Make America Great Again" which means defend the Empire and make sure it's as strong as possible. But I always thought Obama and Clinton listened to the professionals on how to do it more. Whereas, Cheney and Bush, and his gang of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and those guys, The Project for New American Century people -- and for anyone that doesn't know that document, look it up and the whole game plan is in that document -- they weren't all that interested in what the professionals had to say. They thought that, quoting a Bush official, they make their own reality, which starts with a regime change in Iraq and then goes to Syria and then goes to Iran, and I'm not sure which one comes next. But Trump and the people around Trump look Cheney-esque. They don't look like they would listen to the professionals, and that's why I wonder how the professionals might think about that. THOMAS DRAKE:Well...