If you’ve read the proposed “impeachment inquiry resolution” offered in Congress, you’ll understand just how profound is the contempt of the current majority there for the Constitution and laws of the United States. They’re using those laws as levers to undermine the Constitution on which they’re based, and they have no problem with treating Congress as a partisan political fulcrum with which to try to lever a legitimately elected President out of office. They’re not interested in whether it’s right or wrong to do something – only if they can twist words to call it legal. “Legal” has supplanted “right or wrong” in US politics. To call that “scandalous” or “disgusting” is only to scratch the surface of what’s going on. If a Republican Congress had tried to do the same to President Obama, the shrieking and condemnation from the left and the mainstream media would be deafening. However, because this is the other way around . . . crickets.
Recently Professor Angelo Codevilla, whom we’ve met in these pages several times before, gave a very long interview to a correspondent for the Tablet. The resulting article is titled “The Codevilla Tapes“. It’s a wide-ranging perspective on American politics, culture, the “Deep State” and the so-called ruling or political class. I think it’s essential reading for anyone, left- or right-wing, who’s concerned about the partisan divide that’s currently destroying our nation and our society. The man knows whereof he speaks, and his analyses are brilliant.
To provide just one example from a very long essay, here are Prof. Codevilla’s views on US intelligence agencies and how they’ve come to dominate, and even subvert, the proceedings that are supposed to oversee them. I found it particularly relevant in the light of the increasingly clear and undeniable role of those intelligence agencies in trying to undermine and get rid of President Trump. The interviewer’s questions are in bold, underlined text. Prof. Codevilla’s answers are in regular text.
How do you understand the seemingly unchecked growth of this globe-spanning American surveillance apparatus, and how do you understand the danger of that apparatus being turned to domestic political purposes?
There’s always danger inherent in secrecy. And you know secrecy of course is central to intelligence operations. Secrecy most often is used not for the good of the operation, but to safeguard the reputations of those who are running the operations.
The agencies, like all bureaucracies, have always tried to aggrandize themselves, build their reputations, in order to make and spend more money. Get more high-ranking positions. Get more post-retirement positions for their people in the industries that support them. They’ve done exactly what bureaucrats in other agencies have done, neither more nor less.
But the business they’re in, which involves surveillance, is uniquely dangerous, because surveillance is inherently a political weapon. Inherently so. And there is never any lack of appetite for increasing the power of surveillance, and for increasing the reach of surveillance.
Fortunately, especially in my time on the Hill, we had pretty good resistance against bureaucratic attempts to increase the reach of government surveillance over the rest of the country.
Then along came 9/11, and congressmen, senators, who didn’t know any better, were rather easily persuaded, and for that matter Presidents—George W. Bush being exhibit number one—were very easily persuaded, that giving the agencies something close to carte blanche for electronic surveillance would help to keep the country safe. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended in 2008 to accommodate the practices which had evolved extralegally under George Bush, which essentially allowed the agencies to wiretap at will, so long as they claimed that this was for foreign intelligence purposes. In this regard, they claimed that what they were doing was within the spirit, if not the letter, of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which stated that any warrantless collection of electronic intelligence, bugging and other means of collection in finding intelligence, could capture the communications of U.S. persons, only incidentally in the course of capturing the communications of foreign targets.
The 2008 amendments legalized this practice, and added the capacity of the agencies to compel communications companies to help upstream collection of emails etcetera, which would then be recorded. The act, rather the amendment, contains an even longer list of apparent restrictions on how these intercepts of Americans may be used. But these restrictions are basically for show because, essentially, once the foreign intelligence surveillance court authorized a particular operation the practical means of judicial review of what has happened, of how it is being carried out, are so complicated as to be unworkable. And besides, what the hell do judges know about the substance of these things?
Therefore, to get to the point of your question, this increased power and lax attitude conserving it posed a temptation to use these tools for the convenience of the administration in power, which was made much more likely by the increasing identification of the senior ranks of the intelligence community with your ruling class. To the point that these people, being ordinary sentient human beings, believe what the people at the top of their class are saying about the opposition.
We are good, and they are bad.
We are good and these opponents of ours, which mean to take over our positions, are bad people, they are dangerous to the country, and therefore why not look for every possible means of keeping them out of office?
There’s much more at the link. Very highly recommended reading.
On a related subject, Prof. Codevilla recently (a few days ago) addressed the call by retired Admiral McRaven, former head of Special Operations Command, to oust President Trump. The Professor doesn’t spare his criticism, and it’s very trenchant. Example:
At the very least, McRaven called for impeachment ahead of an election, or perhaps for a coup, and pretended to do so on the military’s behalf. In fact, his was just one more voice from an establishment that has squandered the public’s trust, senses that it can no longer win elections honestly, and is pulling out all the stops.
It pretends to be trying to take down Donald Trump. In fact, it is trying to do something much bigger: Invalidate the votes of the “deplorables” who oppose them.
I suggest that the just response from self-respecting Americans to McRaven and others like him is: “Who the hell do you think you are?”
Go read. It’s powerful stuff.
Republican or Democrat, this should concern you very deeply. If these clowns succeed in subverting our constitutional republic (and they’ve come terrifyingly close), then none of us have any security going forward. Neither does our nation.
I’ve been in the midst of civil war, on more than one occasion, in more than one country. I don’t want to see it again, particularly not in my home nation. However, the ruling class and their hangers-on may render that desire moot. If they do . . . I’ll know who to hold accountable. So will you.
Peaceful transitions of power and free elections do not happen in countries where one faction gets it in its head to start weaponizing law enforcement and intelligence against their opponents.
. . .
Our super-elite totally-meritocratic Ruling Class has given us one last gift as they go: a possibly violent civil war and a class war we avoided for 300 years.
And no, I don’t think we’re voting our way out of this.
I wish I could be more confident that he were wrong.