The term “deep state” has become more common in America since I started using it in 2009 when I got back from Turkey. I then wrote:
Nonetheless, the notion of a deep state, although perhaps better conceptualized less as a top-down conspiracy than as an emergent phenomenon among insiders with overlapping interests, might prove useful to Americans in overcoming our native bias toward boyish naïveté about the ways of the world.
From the New York Times:
Rumblings of a ‘Deep State’ Undermining Trump? It Was Once a Foreign Concept
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS MARCH 6, 2017
President Trump’s inner circle has criticized the intent of government organizations like the C.I.A.
How dare anyone criticize the CIA?!?
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s allegations that former President Barack Obama tapped his phone and his assertions that the bureaucracy is leaking secrets to discredit him are the latest signs of a White House preoccupation with a “deep state” working to thwart the Trump presidency.
The concept of a “deep state” — a shadowy network of agency or military officials who secretly conspire to influence government policy — is more often used to describe countries like Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan, where authoritarian elements band together to undercut democratically elected leaders. But inside the West Wing, Mr. Trump and his inner circle, particularly his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, see the influence of such forces at work within the United States, essentially arguing that their own government is being undermined from within.
It is an extraordinary contention for a sitting president to make. Mr. Trump, who last year angrily dismissed the conclusion of intelligence officials that the Russians interfered in the presidential election to boost his candidacy,
Which, in contrast, to the Trump inner circle’s allegations about the America deep state is a completely ordinary and sensible thing to say.
Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Bannon has used the term “deep state” publicly. But each has argued that there is an orchestrated effort underway, fueled by leaks and enabled by the news media, to cut down the new president and interfere with his agenda….
Veterans of prior administrations have been alarmed by the charge, arguing that it suggests an undemocratic nation where legal and moral norms are ignored.
“ ‘Deep state’ I would never use,” Michael V. Hayden, the former Central Intelligence Agency director under both Mr. Obama and former President George Bush, said on MSNBC on Monday. “That’s a phrase we’ve used for Turkey and other countries like that, but not the American republic.”
That’s totally different from the United States, where, for example, J. Edgar Hoover was top dog of internal security from 1924 to 1972.
… “The deep state concept emerges in places where the army and the security apparatus creates boundaries within which the civilian political people are allowed to operate,” said Peter Feaver, a specialist in civil-military issues at Duke University and a national security aide to Mr. Bush. …
“There are milder forms of it in healthier democracies,” Mr. Feaver said, arguing that American presidents have often chafed against the constraints of the federal bureaucracy.
“Nixon shared a similar kind of distrust of the government and felt the government was out to get him at points,” Mr. Feaver added. “President Trump’s view seems to be more on the Nixon part of the spectrum, which is far from the Pakistan part.”
It’s totally a coincidence that Deep Throat turned out, in 2005, to be the late J. Edgar Hoover’s left-hand man Mark Felt, who was sore about Nixon appointing a non-Hooverite to be the offical acting head of the FBI six weeks before the Watergate break-in (while foolishly leaving Felt in charge of day to day operations).
But who can remember little details like Watergate?
Americans didn’t have the term Deep State back in the Deep Throat days, so, as Sapir and Whorf would predict, it was a big surprise to naive Americans that Deep Throat was part of Hoover’s Deep State. Now, though, that we are familiar with the term Deep State it seems kind of obvious: Deep Throat = Deep State.
But that’s not the point. The point is that Nixon was Bad, so the Deep State was Good.
Trump is Bad (but still in power), so the Deep State is non-existent.