The Forth Branch of Government
The US Constitution created three branches of government: the Executive (presidential), Legislative (congressional), and the Judicial (the court system). A forth piece of government has metastasized into an entity of supreme power. The non-elected, bureaucratic deep-state, appears to be the guardian over the constitutional established three branches. Feed by legislation from the National Security Act of 1947 up to the “Patriot Act” of 2001 the U.S. aligns more with a National Security State than a Democratic Republic.
The American national security system was defined and empowered by these three constitutional institutions. However, recent signs indicated that the roles have been reversed. “The bureaucracy was never intended to be a coequal of the three branches of the federal government. It was intended to get power from them, not to grant power to them.” (Populism, Elites, and National Security, by Michael J. Glennon; The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University)
The decisions that were once made by elected officials are in fact being made by: “the nation’s most powerful elite—a largely concealed managerial directorate, consisting of the several hundred leaders of the military, law enforcement, and intelligence departments and agencies of our government. Those managers have been operating without constitutional limits and restraints, moving our nation slowly toward autocracy.” (Michael J. Glennon, Tufts University) Glennon goes on to state how, “easy it is for zealots, acting in secret and freed from the restraints of accountability, to push the nation slowly and silently toward autocracy.“
Balancing Power – It Is The People
James Madison said: “I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.”
Madison makes it clear, that the framers believed that the true power of “checks and balances” provided in the Constitution, was that of civic virtue. He believed that its citizens had to be engaged and informed, so as to be able to participate meaningfully.
We the people are failing this civic virtue test. Mainstream media, the citizens information conduit, is also failing its responsibility to inform in an unbiased manner. They have shepherded the public into believing the security state is vital to our protection in both domestic and foreign issues. This symbiotic relationship is the real destructive collusion that is eroding our democratic republic.
In 2018, Michael J. Glennon wrote about the “realm of national security.” He says “its managers believe that they are the wise, the all-seeing guardians in charge commandeering the ship of state when some unsteady captain or crew sails it into the shallows.”
Based upon the testimony in the Trump Impeachment coup, the national security bureaucracy truly believes that they are the check on elected officials. Michael Morrell, a former acting head of the CIA, expressed the Security State’s narrative when he worried openly that “the President’s advisers have not been able to properly ‘manage’ the president.”
This sentiment will not change until we the people become more studious in our pursuit of civic virtue. How blatant must the “Deep State” bureaucratic coup become?
Populism, Elites, and National Security, Michael J. Glennon, Tufts University: