What is the Deep State?

One can almost hear the agitprop machinery grinding its gears in an attempt to both mask and denounce the simple concept of “Deep State”. It reminds me of what they tried to do with “naked short selling” until in 2008, when further obfuscation became impossible because their financial system melted around them and they had to pass emergency regulations to save it from the thing that months earlier they had been denying existed. They are trying the same thing with the concept of “Deep State” now, which is somewhat comical, because I had no idea that there was anyone left in America who didn’t understand that there is a Deep State. It is like conversing with one of those fellows whose toupee has come loose and who does not realize it: one does not know whether to look away or to hold his eyes and keep talking, hoping that he wakes up and fixes it without one having to embarrass him.

It is really quite simple to explain. The way the various departments and agencies of our federal government work is that there is the organization itself, and then there is the political oversight of the organization. In some countries they would call figures who provide such political oversight, “commissars”. In our country, we call them, “political appointees”.

There is nothing wrong with it: it is how our government should work. For example, when a new president is elected, there are about 4,000 positions across the federal government that the new president appoints. Over the Army, for example, there is a Secretary of the Army, and then a number of Assistant Secretaries. They are not taking civilians and suddenly making them Generals. The political appointees are the class that gets established over the Generals to make sure that the organization (in this case, the United States Army) has proper oversight from the elected President, and is shaped and led in a way that is consistent with that President’s policies.

For example, if the President says that LGBTQ soldiers should be in a position of equality within the Army, or that combat roles should be open to women, then it is the political appointees over the Army that make sure that policy is implemented. If the President wants to de-emphasize treating HIV in Africa, and instead shift to malaria-prevention, the political appointees at USAID (or CFDC?) make that so.

This is to be applauded. it is how we citizens control our government: our priorities and beliefs shape which candidate we elect, and then that candidate gets to make these 4,000 appointments so that the activities of the government reflect those priorities and desires of the citizenry. That is how it worked for over two centuries.

Here is where it went wrong. For over 80% of the history of the USA, there was a taboo that kept people from serving as political appointees, then afterwards, taking jobs in the departments and agencies they had just been overseeing. It was considered unseemly, and merely good institutional design to have that taboo. Appointees were expected to serve out their president, and when the party in power changed, to move into another line of work, in business or academia or private practice. Perhaps when their party came back into power they might take another turn in public service, and accept another position as a political appointee, but they were not supposed to go back into the bureaucracy they had just been overseeing. I am not sure there was ever a formal rule against it, yet all understood the institutional design imperatives that made the taboo valuable.

About 30-40 year ago that taboo dissolved. It became normal for political appointees to serve their time then, when the party in power changed, to melt back down into the bureaucracy. I am not sure which party broke the taboo first, but it would not surprise me if it was the Republicans (but I emphasize, I do not know that).

The affect this has had on our federal government cannot be overstated. It has been politicized from the top down, so that the political class is not just providing oversight of the department brass, but they have gone on to melt-in and become the department brass. This is horrific institutional design and generates pernicious organizational dynamics.

Imagine working in a corporation such as Intel. At some point members of both the Hatfields and McCoys get hired into the top echelon of management. Before long, they are hiring more of their own from without. They are also finding and promoting sympathizers from within. Eventually people are signalling within the organization which team holds their alliance, hoping that they get the tap from the right clan and their own promotions get accelerated.

To the person showing up for work at Intel just wanting to design a new chip, this is a terrible development. Every hire gets questioned and every promotion gets second-guessed. Maybe it seems like it does not make sense to just stick to one’s knitting and do the best job one can do designing chips. Maybe it is better to focus on sending the right signals to the right clan executives above you, to woo the right executives with your potential loyalty….

How would the chip-making excellence of Intel fare under such a situation? Would it improve? Or would it slowly turn into an organization wrapped around its axle, consumed with clan in-fighting and machinations, and seeing its prowess and effectiveness erode through the years?

Replace “Intel” with the “United Sates Government”, replace “Hatfields and McCoys” with “Republicans and Democrats”, and you have a good description of what has happened to our federal government over the last 30-40 years.

The shame of it all is that this is well understood by the rank-and-file and “the Brass”, or at least “the Brass” who got there by being great rank-and-file employees. They see this going on. They see their own brass getting politiiczed from the top down. They see their own opportunities for advancement thwarted, and also, the increasingly politicize demands placed on them. They are good men and women who joined the government with an eye towards serving their county, and they see what has happened over the span of not much more than one good career. And many if not most of them are sickened by it.

How many are there? I do not know. My sense (and I really have only the most blurry idea) is that it may not be more than a couple-few hundred. Yet they have seized the commanding heights of the government, and in particular, the Department of Justice. The damage this has done far exceeds the number of people involved.

I forget now if I have ever made this story public, but sometime in the early days of my fight with the Wall Street, not more than a year into what I thought was a small skirmish with a few bad actors, I received a phone call one day in my office. My assistant came running into my office, saying, “There is a United States Attorney from the Department of Justice on the phone for you!”

No kidding, I leapt to my feet, stood at attention, and picked up the phone for what could not ahve been longer than a five minute call.

“Hello Patrick, this is Ken Breen,” said the voice on the other end. “I am a United States Attorney with the Department of Justice.”

“Hello, this is P-P-Patrick Byrne,” I stammered.

“Patrick, I want you to know that it is perfectly legal that I am calling you now. I have resigned from the Department of Justice, today is my last day, I have cleaned out my desk and put my belongings in a box, and I am about to walk out the door with that box. Tomorrow I start a new job at __________,” he said, naming one of the white shoe Wall Street law firms (I forget which). “This is the last phone call I am making from my office before I walk out the door.”

I laugh at the memory now: I really stood there at attention, stuttering, “Hello S-S-S-Sir!” I stammered out. “How can I help you?”

“Patrick, I want you to know that you have a number of people within the Department of Justice watching you.” My heart sank until he continued, “There are 30-40 people here watching this thing you are doing with Wall Street, and cheering you on. Keep it up.” He continued by telling me where he thought I was wasting time, where from my public comments they saw I had been going down rabbit hole that led nowhere, and importantly, a couple things he thought I had overlooked (I forget what they were now, but it may have been the first time I heard the expression “ex-clearing”).

He went on for a couple of minutes telling me such things, and encouraging my efforts. As he wound up what he had called to tell me, and came to a stop, I finally found the nerve to ask him something that was befuddling me. I said, “Sir, I am flattered, and please pass my thanks to your colleagues. But I need to ask you …. You’re a United States Attorney. Why are you telling me this?”

His reply broke my heart, and will haunt me to my dying day. “Oh Patrick, you have no idea how politicized the environment is here in the Department within which prosecution decisions get made.”

Stunned, I thanked him, we said our goodbyes, and hung up. Even though a year or two later he came through Utah and we had dinner, to this day I do not remember from which party Mr. Breen hailed. Actually, I remember him as the kind of man who was not from a party, but was a rule-of-law kind of guy.

It should not matter to you which party he was from, either. If you are like me, that story will give you a lump in the back of your throat. Not one of pride, but one of sadness. Individually these people are heroes, but collectively, they know something has gone haywire in the system within which they operate. Both the rank-and-file, and the brass who got there by working their way up rather than being appointed to the top and melting down, know it exists and complain about it privately. They do so not just from the perspective of their own thwarted career ambitions, but from the perspective of people who care about their organizations’ missions, and see the pernicious consequences of this practice.

I do not know the ratios between the parties, but I sense it is about even. Until recently, only the Department of Defense was immune to it, but in recent years the taboo has crumbed there, too, so it is finally happening in the Pentagon as well, I am told. Somewhere along the way, I think it congealed into a glob that transcends party affiliation, a glob that sees itself as accountable to no one, and serves interests that are not your and mine.

That is the Deep State. It is not some magical entity of unknown provenance, nor is it a vague conspiracy theory akin to the Illuminati. it is just political science. For 200 years our federal government worked because a certain taboo was respected by both parties. Then both parties began to ignore it, and eventually, our federal government became prime real estate within which both parties set up shop.

What makes me most sad about telling this story is that I know some people who can be described as I have here, in the sense that they were political appointees who, in time, took jobs within the bureaucracies from which they originally sprang. They are wonderful men and women who have served their country for decades. It is not that they are bad people. The ones I know, the ones who have been political appointees, and then who have returned to run operations within their respective bureaucracies, are fine people, knowledgeable people, and great Americans. From both parties.

Yet it is surely horrible institutional design to have this occurring. It has politicized precisely the parts of government that should not be politicized, because they are the greatest prizes. There was a reason our country ran for 200 years with a taboo against this practice. There is a reason that the parties eventually set their sights on capturing these heights. And their reason for wanting to do so is precisely the reason that you, Citizen, should be opposed to it happening.

Or rather, the reason you should be dismayed that it has happened.

  1. Patrick,
    I love your viewpoints on the hidden agenda of the powerful elites. I am working with a company that has created the first fungible diamond commodity backed by blockchain technology. It’s a game changer! http://www.Diamondstandard.co (not a typo. They couldn’t get a .com domain name. Seems it was taken…)
    I have been trying to send you information. First, I asked your brother, John, whom I’ve known for over 35 years and have skied with at PowerBird in Alta many times, but I don’t know if he forwarded my email to you. In typical JBIII fashion, he simply answered, “Best of luck with this, Claire”. Gotta love John! Then I sent information to John Pettway via snail mail and called him to follow up but haven’t yet connected. Now I am trying you through this blog. Please forgive my persistence, but I truly believe you will find this very interesting at the very least!
    Claire Bailey
    [email protected]

    1. Diamonds are the most monopolized and controlled market on the planet. The ONLY reason diamonds have the value they have is because De Beers holds an untold number of diamonds off the market. There are already two companies that can MAKE diamonds that are indistinguishable from real diamonds by the De Beers authentication department. Sounds like a bad idea with a great sales pitch.


  2. To Patrick and DeepCapture readers:

    Whether the topic is corruption within the deep state or simply widespread corruption within state and federal governments and their cronyism with tech/media/finance giants,I hope that We The People can someday finally unite behind basic principles and work together on an Action Plan to do something about it.

    It is up to We The People to stand up and unite behind basic principles like truth,freedom,goodwill,integrity,The Golden Rule and the Non-Aggression principle to make positive change.

    The corrupt politicians of both corrupt parties will not care about these principles until We The People show them We care about these principles.

    Most politicians who claim to be public servants are really self servants/crony servants.

    Therefore,We The People must unite behind basic principles and take some simple actions if We expect things to change for the better.

    Anyone got a better idea?I’m listening……….

    So what are We The People going to do about corruption, censorship,bias and surveillance by media/tech/finance giants and government? I will keep posting this plan of action for immediate change as it is the best idea I can think of for now to counter this in a peaceful,productive manner.

    1)Cancel Cable TV (All channels should be available individually so consumers don’t have to give money to stations they don’t want to)

    2)Bank with small local banks/credit unions & invest with small brokerages & insist your employer/pension fund do the same.

    3)Do Not donate money to politicians & consider boycotting companies that give them money or pay them for speeches.
    Some might decide to boycott Facebook,Twitter,Apple,Amazon and Google for censorship issues alone.

    4)Support a pardon for Julian Assange & Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers/truthtellers

    5)Join Pro freedom social network MINDS.com,where freedom of speech is respected & users earn crypto tokens.

    6)Use web browsers like Dissenter or Brave rather than Chrome or Safari when you surf the web.
    Use search engines like DuckDuckGo rather than Google or Bing for web searches.
    Use an email service like ProtonMail rather than Gmail.
    Post videos on Bitchute and MINDS rather than Youtube.

    7)Use Linux operating systems like Linux Mint,Ubuntu,Gallium or others on your computer rather than Windows , Mac or Chrome OS.
    Keep your eyes open for alternatives to apple/android smartphones in the near future.

    8) Do NOT support the “War on Drugs” which causes more crime,death,murder,gang violence and incarcerations,enriching criminals while millions of people still use illegal drugs anyway.

    9) Support a new foreign policy where We The People worldwide unite behind and promote the principles of truth/freedom/goodwill/integrity/humility/Non-Aggression Principle/Golden Rule and focus on winning hearts and minds.

    10) Support a worldwide effort to voluntarily help others in the hope that it will win over more people to these principles.

    Please share this plan of action with others via text,email & social media if you agree.Here’s a link to share this message.Thank You https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/943148464663228416?referrer=truthfreedompeace

    (Note to Patrick,if you object to me repeatedly posting this Action Plan here,please just let me know and I give my word that I will not post it on deepcapture anymore) Peace

    1. Dear Truth and Peace,
      I appreciate your thoughts and am sympathetic to them, of course. I do think you have made your point often enough here that you should avoid posting it again.

      That said, I am already getting the sense that Twitter may not be the place for me. I am receiving word that there is subtle suppression occurring of my viewpoint and those who endorse it. I am going to check into Minds.com and maybe use that as the place to develop my social media presence.


      1. Patrick,thanks for the reply and I look forward to seeing you on Minds and also reading what you post here on deepcapture in the future.Cheers

      2. Twitter censorship is rampant.The twitter overlords don’t like it if you post opinions or facts that go against their DNC narrative. https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/910893465478406144?referrer=truthfreedompeace

        The censorship by twitter and facebook is one of the main reasons why I have been advocating for the past 2 years for Overstock/Medici to create a principled “super website” that combines social media/network with commerce/trade/finance.
        Worldstock is the perfect name for such a site,IMO.

  3. I’m having a hard time figuring out why it is worse to have two parties working in a department instead of wholesale clearing them out every four or eight years and having all the employees being blindly loyal to one party. It seems like if anything this arrangement makes it harder for any “deep state” to get anything done since there will be opposition within their own division.

    1. You want people with career expertise to be working in the departments. One could not “wipe out” everyone in the DOJ every four or eight years. There have to be SOME career employees there.

      1. I agree, but that still doesn’t answer my question. If I am understanding correctly you are saying the “deep state” are exactly those employees who have stayed around from previous administrations. You seem to be suggesting that it is better that any time a new president comes in the department completely shifts their priorities in accordance to the whims of their new leader. This seems to be a gross exaggeration of the power of the presidency, but it seems no one cares about that anymore.

        1. You would prefer that power be shifted to an non-elected elite which answers to no one? Please read this sentence closely: “You seem to be suggesting that it is better that any time a new president comes in the department completely shifts their priorities in accordance to the whims of their new leader. This seems to be a gross exaggeration of the power of the presidency, but it seems no one cares about that anymore.” You left out a word: “elected”. The phrase “…their new leader” should be, “… their new elected leader.”

          Which is to say your argument would be more precisely stated, “You seem to be suggesting that it is better that any time a new president comes in the department completely shifts their priorities in accordance to the whims of their new elected leader. This seems to be a gross exaggeration of the power of the presidency, but it seems no one cares about that anymore.”

          Which is more concisely stated, “You are suggesting that after an election, the department would have to shift their priorities to reflect the priorities of the winner of the election.”

          Which sounds a lot like, “You are suggesting that government should have to respond to the will of the governed.”

          Which I say, “Yes, that is indeed what I am suggesting.”

          In fact, it seems especially germane when there is a controlling segment of the population that want prioritized something basic like, “rule of law,” but it seems to be the priority of others to disrupt that. We the people definitely do not want disruptions in the rule of law whose manifestations you have been witnessing as “news” for about three years.

          Besides, you are attacking a straw man. “…the department completely shifts…” It is not the full department which shifts. Those who got there by joining and working their way up, stay. Those who got there as political appointments overseeing the department and who then melted in, should leave.

    1. The question is, How do we the people make sure that these departments and agencies remember that they work for us, doing something for us that we cannot do individually?

      The answer is that there has to be a group of commissars that oversees it, and that SHOULD be wiped out every four to eight years. And it does get wiped out, in a sense. However, when the commissars on top melt down into the bureaucracies, then they are no longer getting wiped out. They are getting entrenched.

      President Trump’s greatest error was that he left President Obama’s people in place, even in the White House. Evidently he thought he would win everyone over with the magnificence of his … Trumpiness? That worked out badly. There was even some date he missed (around January 20, 2017) that, once it had passed, he could not fire anyone for X many months, and then only when Y happened in conjunction with Z while aligning with the proper phase of the moon (I am exaggerating, but some kind of civil service unions rules prevailed).

      Whatever side you are on, you have to see the problem with such a system. It thwarts the ability of leaders from either party to govern. Correcting it may ultimately take changing some rules governing hiring and firing within the civil service.

      But the immediate fix is finding all those people across the federal bureaucracy who meet the description I have given: they were once political appointees, but then moved into permanent civil service jobs. I think they should all be stripped out of government. It does not have to be a pogrom or a Cultural Revolution: these are talented, capable people that could be told, “Thanks for your service, you have three months to leave the government and find a job elsewhere.” I know that as a libertarian I am not supposed to say this, but the truth is, they are not mindless bureaucrats as we see in film. They are smart, able people who could thrive in the private sector. They have served their country, they should be thanked, helped with job searches within the private sector, and gracefully shown the door. Doing so would create opportunity for advancement of the brass who got there legitimately (by working their way up rather than getting a political appointment then melting down). It would create room for the rank-and-file to fill in those brass spots.

      Most importantly, overnight, our government would start working again.

      1. It is insanely naive to think that the “government would start working again” if everyone just stepped aside and was replaced with a group of lackeys who would blindly do the president’s bidding. It is laughable to think that is a good idea when you look at the current crop of high-profile morons (relatives, friends, and donors) who have been installed (and subsequently left) the Trump administration.

        1. Your response is a foolish deflection.

          The president gets to appoint his political appointees.

          There are the brass that got there by being great rank-and-file employees (agents, officers), etc.) and there are those who there there bypassing that route, and were political appointees. Strip that political class out: the rest of the bureaucracy will provide the appropriate amount of ballast.

      2. I think you make very astute observations and very much like your solution, which should get air time in front of policy makers ….

        I think “keep your friends close but your enemies closer” and that roll-up you were referencing applies though to our current circumstances.

        President Trump we are all waiting for that to start!

      3. There will be a lot of Help Wanted signs in DC in the coming months. Since returning from Europe with AG Barr, US Atty. Durham just asked for more agents to expand his Spygate investigation, which means he has found criminal activity. Hundreds of people will be indicted. Panic in DC!

      4. We are locked into this insane two party system and all it does is serve to control the vote. With no need to form a majority in congress there is no reason to have this system. We could have multiple parties and still form a cohesive government. A two party system leads too easy corruption and not so easy solutions. Almost impossible for another party like my Lib party to have a voice.

        On a side note we should have nominated Bill Weld for the Lib presidential candidate last election. He would not have looked like the fool that Gary did on national television and could have greatly broadened our party base. Many people see us as that party of that idiot on CNN.

        1. I don’t know why Johnson got so many votes – he got as much as 5% in many states Trump barely won – Libertarians were nuts not voting for Trump, a political outsider that’s willing to listen to anyone with good ideas

          1. He got so many votes because even though he might not have been popular we believed in his and the parties platform.

            Since when is Trump willing to listen to anyone other then himself unless they are praising him or professing their undying loyalty to him above the constitution. The only thing he is doing good is the balancing of trade with China. Everything else is degrading almost every aspect of our country. Thank God he is not as smart as Obama and is not systematically circumventing the constitutions. Eric Holder should be tried for violation the constitution many times over. Bill Barr is part of the Deep State, just not the side that Comey and the others are on.

            The most scary part is millions of intelligent, hard working, loyal Americans such as your self believe all the spin from the talking heads on TV. We had 19 Republicans and 5 Democrats running in the last presidential primary. Somehow the least liked of the Dems and the most inexperienced of the Rep made it to the finales. The Two worst candidates won the primary.

            Next time you pick a candidate you should do some research for yourself and stop letting other people make up your opinions for you.

            Here some reading about something that I knew about before the 2016 election and just ONE of the reasons I was NOT nuts for NOT voting for Trump. If you need more I can load you up with court docs and backup to all the truth, so you know it is not fake news.


            P.S. As much as Trump disgusts me as our president, he is still better than Hillary..

    1. Mushrooms are kept in the dark and fed shit. Agitprop is propaganda. You can’t make informed choices if you are uninformed. That’s the objective of Loony Left mainstream media propaganda. Stupid people are easily manipulated. Read the Washington Examiner instead of the Washington Post if you want a real newspaper.

      1. Agitprop refers to propaganda in art or literature. The Washington Post or other mainstream media is not agitprop. Words have meanings.

  4. keep expressing your thoughts here….pretty sure truth seekers will find this blog…

    …..anyone ever look at IT people and Aids to see snot nose know it alls or brown noses connected to gov. companies and all around top notch ass kissers?

    may the good guys and gals win this media shit storm.

  5. What was supposed to be the difference in America versus all countries before her was The Rule of Law. If the Department of Justice is as compromised as you indicate, we are truly in a bad spot. And while you give equal blame to both parties, one is clearly more the “rule of law party” than the other.

  6. Patrick Trying to fix the govt leave that to the crazy people . WE NEED STOCK settlement fixed now. Expose who you want and move on.. most of the people who follow you are stock investors and most have been looted by the street.

    Thats the fight whatever crumbs you have to feed the people on the front lines let it fly

  7. J Edgar Hoover was blackmailing congressmen and arranging the deaths of civil rights leaders decades before the 80s. What is a “Deep State” if not that?

  8. PB what about your time on the CFR ? Some alternative media types think the willing industry leaders and globalists are part of the Deep State. Did you get a whiff of any of that ?

  9. Deadheded – You’re totally wrong about Trump. I don’t even watch TV and did more research than 99.99% of people, so thanks but no thanks. You’ll see!

      1. No, I’m saying over all. I don’t doubt that some Trump hotel employed some illegal immigrants at some time – it’s RAMPANT in the hotel industry. Playing the game doesn’t change the fact that he wants to change the game.

        That is a non-issue and a terrible reason not to vote for him.

        1. So you didn’t read any of it… This was not some Trump Hotel EEs. This was 150 undocumented Polish workers taking down a 12 story asbestos filled building with sledgehammers and no safety equipment at all. Many of them have lung cancer now. And then to top it off the did not pay them and then fought the lawsuit for 16 years.

          “I don’t even watch TV and did more research than 99.99% of people”
          But you know all of this because you have done more research then 347,534,126 other American’s including almost all AG’s, journalists and political researchers. Not only that you know more than all of us.

          You won’t read the facts because they do not follow what you want to believe. Read the court document and then lets talk facts. If you have done more research then 99.99% of the rest of us then show us some. Back up what you say with the vast amount of research.

          I am from FLA and our economy deeply depends on foreign workers. I could care less that some hotels hire some undocumented hard working people. Read the court documents and tell me you are okay with what he did. Better yet read the documents and then look your self in the mirror and tell your self you are okay with what he did. That will tell you exactly what type of person you are.

          1. Are you kidding me?

            In 1980, when asbestos dangers were not even well understood, Trump hired a CONTRACTOR to demolish a building and the CONTRACTOR used illegal immigrants and cut corners on safety?

            ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW lolololololol

            This isn’t the forum to present the case for Trump. I don’t need to convince anyone. The deep state roll-up is coming.

            Go read up on Felix Sater. Go read the scant documents showing Trump worked with the FBI. Connect the dots. Do you think it was a coincidence Sater worked for Trump?

            I just caution you about impugning Trump – you will regret impugning this great man in a few years.

  10. Regarding all the current Trump/Biden/Impeachment/possible Biden crime talk,I had no idea Peter Schweizer had investigated ,wrote and talked publicly about the Biden dealings a long time ago.

    Can anyone refute what Peter is saying in this video?I doubt it.Will justice ever be served?When?

  11. Patrick…what you are discussing here is covered in a book “National security and double government” by fellow CFR member Michael Glennon. Now a professor of international law at Tufts, he was formerly Senate foreign relations committee council under Obama. It’s a quick read but you may find the references helpful.

    He attributes to social networks what you are describing. He wrote it I think because he couldn’t understand how “hope and change” became no hope no change. In my view he missed the forest while examining the trees, but his insights may be helpful to you in your journey.

    I hope this is coherent as it is written under chemo fog. Wishing you good health and continued success!!

  12. Given: our governmental system was protected by taboo
    Now: that taboo has failed
    And: even if established complex rules can be gamed
    Then: I propose that one rule be enacted to fix the problem, and that the rule be enforced by TIME (the only system that can’t be gamed by money)

    “No retired public servant shall be allowed to interact with an acting government servant for a period of X years after their retirement date, under a 10 year incarceration penalty without hope for parole.”

    Think “domestic violence 50-B restraining order” only for government salaried people.

  13. The increase in the number of political appointees absorbed into the bureaucracy may simply be the result in the overall increase in the number of political appointees and the overall size of the bureaucracy. Ultimately their loyalties are to their careers, mostly.

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