What Happens When You Fight a ‘Deep State’ That Doesn’t Exist
By MAX FISHER MARCH 10, 2017
The Trump administration, in its fight against the “deep state,” could risk exacerbating the very problems it has pinned on shadowy bureaucratic forces: leaking, internal conflict and the politicization of institutions like intelligence agencies.
American institutions do not resemble the powerful deep states of countries like Egypt or Pakistan, experts say. Nor do individual leaks, a number of which have come from President Trump’s own team, amount to a conspiracy.
Mr. Trump has put institutions under enormous stress. He has attacked them publicly, implied he would reject intelligence findings that cast his election in a poor light, hobbled agencies by failing to fill critical positions and cut off bodies like the National Security Council from shaping policy.
That has forced civil servants into an impossible dilemma: acquiesce, allowing their institution to be sidelined, or mount a defense, for example through leaks that counter Mr. Trump’s accusations or pressure him into restoring normal policy-maker practices.