The ‘Deep State’ Is Real — and Dangerous — Paul Says
Kentucky senator says unelected intelligence officials with enormous powers operate with little legislative oversight in the executive branch
Yes, the so-called deep state is real, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Tuesday.
The libertarian-leaning former presidential candidate said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that the term — maligned by Democrats and the liberal mainstream media — accurately describes how unelected officials in national security positions exercise power without checks from America’s elected representatives.
“Absolutely, there is a deep state, because the deep state is the intelligence agencies that do not have oversight,” he said. “Only eight people in Congress know what they’re doing, and traditionally, those eight people have been a rubber stamp to let the intelligence communities do whatever they want. There is no skeptic among the eight people that are supposedly overseeing the intelligence community.”
That is a reference to the so-called Gang of Eight — the majority and minority leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate, along with the chairmen and ranking members of the two intelligence committees.
Those are the legislators with real-time access to America's most closely held secrets.
Paul said the deep state was on full display during President Barack Obama's administration, with CIA Director John Brennan and National Intelligence Director James Clapper.
"John Brennan and James Clapper were doing whatever the hell they wanted, without any judicial warrants, and I think there were numerous people in the Obama administration who were using intelligence — one, to try to bring Trump down; but two, also, they were using it for political purposes," he said. "And this is very, very worrisome."
"Madison said that men are not angels. And all you gotta do is look at John Brennan's tweet to know that he's not an angel. And listen to James Clapper lying to the Senate about whether they were spying on Americans."
Paul pointed to Brennan's tweet over the weekend eviscerating Trump, calling him corrupt, and promising that America would "triumph" over him.
"This is the real problem," Paul said. "And [founding father James] Madison warned about this from the beginning. Madison said that men are not angels. And all you gotta do is look at John Brennan's tweet to know that he's not an angel. And listen to James Clapper lying to the Senate about whether they were spying on Americans."
Paul said Gina Haspel, Trump's choice to run the CIA, is part of the deep state.
"She's basically a protégé and an acolyte of John Brennan," said Paul, who has vowed to filibuster the nomination if it comes to the floor.
Paul has objected to Haspel's role in authorizing waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation" methods used during the George W. Bush administration to obtain needed information following the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.
"We don't want to be known as the country that tortures," he said.
Paul questioned why America is fighting in places like Niger and Yemen — all without a vote by Congress.
"But the swamp is big and strong, and it's difficult to stop the swamp creatures from running this place," he said.