The ongoing FBI investigation about Trump administration officials and Russia raises questions not just about the administration’s behavior but also about the behavior of the Deep State. Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio & Sam Seder talk about the White House leak scandal.
Transcript of the above video:
Sam: Pap, of course, more insanity this week, but let’s take a step back and just talk more broadly speaking. We had at the beginning of this week reports both from, I guess, from leaks, that the White House, Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus, tried to get the FBI to make public comments about what is supposedly an ongoing investigation about Donald Trump and Russia and/or Trump administration officials, I guess, and Russian connections. Also, we had reports that the White House tried to get Nunes and Barton, the respective heads of the intelligence committees in the Senate and Congress, to talk to the press, arguing that there was no information. Of course, those two did that, but all this was revealed via leaks. Of course, it raises a couple of different questions, not just about the administration’s behavior but also about the behavior of the Deep State.
Pap: Well, let’s get away … The Deep State is so overused. I mean, the term is overused, Sam. The Deep State, it’s something that comes from Turkey is where you started seeing the concept of the Deep State originate. That’s where the militia has … The military has controlled politics over there for decades. Here’s the point. Let me preface this by saying we need to know if improper conduct takes place in the executive branch, in the judicial branch, in the congressional branch, but we also need to be very aware that those are constitutional elements of our US government. They’re separate elements of our US government that have been given certain rights to conduct political policy in this country, either public social policy or political policy.
Okay, now step back and understand that in 1975, Frank Church, I think he was from Idaho, had to have hearings over the fact that the spook industry, the NSA, the FBI, and the CIA, and God knows how many entities of the spook industry, were actually doing this leaking program by way of several senators and several congressmen. They were doing it with the media. The point is they were doing it to affect public policy and political policy. They wanted a war in Vietnam. They wanted a Cold War with Russia. They wanted a war with South America, the Sandinistas. They wanted all of this to take place.
What they did, they found out that the CIA had actually trumped, excuse the expression, had trumped presidential power and congressional power by putting pressure on journalists, by putting pressure on congressmen and senators, by putting pressure even on the judiciary with leaks and with made-up stories that J. Edgar Hoover was putting out there. This is a guy who dressed up like Shirley Temple, for God’s sakes, when he was in the privacy of his office and that would ruin people’s lives with the power of the FBI, or the CIA did the same thing.
All of a sudden, the Church hearings start uncovering all this, and we start seeing that this is not just about a couple of errant CIA types or NSA types that simply can’t get their way. This is a policy that originated within the spook industry. If they wanted to promote more arms sales, they would put pressure on the right people. They have pictures of politicians meeting with women who aren’t their wives. They actually threatened to kill at least three journalists. That’s how serious this had gotten. We were so close to having an equivalent of Turkey, where the military in Turkey has not allowed any elections to take place where it hasn’t been influenced by the military.
Here we have this in the United States. Now stay with me just a second here, Sam. Then you’ve got these bonehead, these absolute bonehead, progressives that are so far out there that they would say, ‘Oh, yeah, well, this is okay as long as it beats up on Trump. This is okay as long as it beats up on somebody we don’t like.’ They don’t even have the wherewithal or the insight to understand this is far more dangerous than anything so far that we’re looking at with Trump. Now, don’t know what this future’s going to hold. The guy could get even scarier than that. The truth is, for an intelligent progressive to say, ‘Oh, yeah, this is good. I’m going to allow this because I don’t like the guy and maybe we can unseat a presidency,’ think about how dangerous that is and then tell me, ‘Gee, that’s okay.’
Sam: Let me push back a little bit on this, because I think to a certain extent, it is the notion that we could have elements of our intelligence services, and theoretically FBI being, I guess, a domestic intelligence service, undermining our elected leaders is, I think, very problematic. Like you say, the Church Committee largely, my understanding, focused on things like COINTELPRO, on CIA, which was FBI, CIA assassination programs and spying. We’ve got things like the FISA Court that came out of it. There is-
Pap: But it was heavily domestic, Sam.
Sam: Yeah, well, no, I understand. COINTELPRO was domestic.
Sam: And FBI. But we did get the FISA Court which was to protect people on the phone essentially or wiretapping of people in this country. There also is-
Pap: How did that work out for us?
Sam: Well, I think not as well as I would like it to have.
Sam: I mean, without a doubt.
Pap: Because we lost control.
Sam: But in terms-
Pap: We’ve lost control of control.
Sam: Right, no, and I agree. I think the question about leaks that have come out about the investigations that have been ongoing about members of the Trump administration and his wider circle, there’s another perspective to take on this which is not dissimilar from what Glenn Greenwald has argued and I think is fairly consistent with my view on this.