“There is a hidden country within the United States. It was formed from the astonishing number of secrets held by the government and the growing ranks of secret-keepers given charge over them.” So begins a synopsis of Deep State, a new book by Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady.
While the book certainly delivers on dishing some of the stories surrounding past and present activities carried on in secret by the federal government, it does so in the form of a book that reads like an encomium rather than an indictment.
The accommodating and aggrandizing tone of the book is off-putting, especially in light of the publisher’s claim that “Deep State … disassembles the secrecy apparatus of the United States and examines real-world trends that ought to trouble everyone from the most aggressive hawk to the fiercest civil libertarian.”
From the first page, the authors seem smitten with the notion of painting with broad strokes the picture that there are “certain secrets necessary to defend the republic.”
Some of the hidden history laid out in Deep State includes the story of the surveillance program established by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the days after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Ambinder and Grady describe this warrantless wiretapping as “controversial” rather than with the word it deserves: unconstitutional.
The Fourth Amendment protects “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Any attempt by the NSA to monitor the electronic communication of an American without probable cause and without a warrant is a direct violation of that constitutional protection for a fundamental right.
Although this program is practically praised by the authors of Deep State, The New American interviewed Thomas Drake, an eyewitness to the NSA’s assault on the Constitution.
Drake was a senior executive at the NSA who made the “mistake” of revealing to the Baltimore Sun that the NSA’s Trailblazer Project — intended to analyze data carried on in the United States and elsewhere through the Internet, cellphones, and e-mails — not only violated the Fourth Amendment’s proscription against unwarranted searches and seizures, but it was a “billion-dollar computer boondoggle.”
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