Virgil: When the Deep State Was So Deep that It Reached to Russia

Alger Hiss, former State Department official, under accusation as aid to Communist wartime spy ring in Washington, August 25, 1948, examines record on the witness stand before the House Un-American Activities Committee; takes oath; arrives for hearing. (AP Photo)
AP Photo

The Deep State Then…

The strongman in the Kremlin is aided and abetted by American operatives and helpers, working all across the federal government—even in the White House. For his part, the U.S. president, a New Yorker by background, seems unable or unwilling to stop the espionage. 

Yes, that’s the way it is—or should we say, that’s the way it was, back in the 1940s. You see, during the administration of our 32nd president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, the Soviet Russians, working for Josef Stalin, had penetrated deeply into Washington, DC. 

One could even say that the Soviets had deeply penetrated the Deep State; that is, the layer of un-elected federal officials, mostly in the executive branch, who carry out the day-to-day functions of the government. This concept of a Deep State is important, because as we shall see, the Deep State has a mind of its own—and power of its own.  

Back in the ’40s, the Deep State’s thinking was greatly shaped by communism. The most notorious of these Deep State communists was Alger Hiss, a top State Department official who played a key role in the creation of the United Nations in 1945. (Later, in the ’50s, Hiss went to prison for perjuring himself about his pro-Soviet activities.)   

Yet in addition to outright Hiss-type spies, the feds employed a larger number—measured in the tens of thousands—of “fellow travelers.” These officials might not have have been outright “reds”; many of them were mere “pinks”—that is, they thought that Stalin and Soviet communism were okay, and so it was fine to help a bit, even if only by looking the other way as espionage occurred.

Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that from 1941 to 1945, the U.S. was allied with the U.S.S.R. in World War Two, and so many Americans naturally thought that the Russians were to be counted among the good guys. The truth, of course, was much different; yes, we were allies, but the Soviets were still nogoodniks. Indeed, the evil reality of the Soviet government had been evident all along—and quite visible, even during the war. For instance, in 1944, the Russians further revealed themselves in their mendacious handling of Operation Frantic, a doomed American attempt to coordinate bombing runs with the Russkies; here at Breitbart News five years ago, Virgil wrote about that disaster.   

Moreover, U.S. government officials should know that basic rules about maintaining the security of state secrets always apply—and these were routinely violated by top bureaucrats, before, during, and after the war.  

Still, the defeat of Nazism signaled a new era; in 1946, Winston Churchill delivered his famous “Iron Curtain” speech in Fulton, Missouri—and President Harry Truman, more alert to the communist threat than his predecessor, FDR, introduced the legendary speaker.   

Indeed, by the the end of the decade, a series of tough moments—the toughest of which being the 1949 victory of Mao Zedong’s communists in China—had convinced most Americans to shift from their mildly pro-Soviet attitude during World War Two to a strongly anti-Soviet stance in what was now known as the Cold War.  

Yet here’s something interesting: Throughout the decade of the ’40s, significant elements of the U.S. government continued to help the Soviets, as well as the communist cause overall. To put it another way, the Deep State was deeply enmeshed with communism.

These events, neglected by most historians, were ably recalled by M. Stanton Evans in his 2007 book, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies. As the title suggests, the work is mostly a defense of Joe McCarthy (1908–1957), and yet the Wisconsin senator doesn’t make a substantive appearance until nearly 200 pages into the 600-page volume. Prior to that, Evans outlines the depths of red penetration of what we now think of as the Deep State. 

For instance, in 1938, the FBI—the one government agency, according to Evans, that the Soviets never penetrated—caught Russian agent Mikhail Gorin picking up confidential data from a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy. The American was sent to prison for four years, but the Russian walked free. Why? According to the presiding judge, the Russian’s release was “on recommendation of the Department of State, and through the authorization of the Attorney Gen­eral.”  

Then, in 1941, another Russian spy, Gaik Ovakimian, was similarly nabbed and, once again, let go, thanks to orders from on high. As Evans puts it, these cases were among many “instances in which the policy of the averted gaze toward members of the Communist Party was extended even further—to spies sent here from Moscow, spotted by the FBI, but shielded by some higher power.” 

Such Deep Statist interference didn’t just help Russian communists; it also helped Chinese communists. In June 1945, the FBI raided the Manhattan headquarters of a magazine called Amerasia; its staffers had been observed receiving classified documents from State Department officials—one of whom, John Stewart Service, was also arrested, having been caught red-handed on wiretaps.  

Yet even though the Bureau found plenty of evidence pointing to the extreme guilt of those arrested and implicated—including a special studio at Amerasia for photographing pilfered documents—the Justice Department mysteriously quashed the case.

In those days, other government agencies, too, were affected by reds influence. For instance,  in the middle of World War Two, the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Navy’s counter-espionage unit, mysteriously shredded its Soviet files. How convenient! 

As for the Office of War Information (OWI), which served as Uncle Sam’s worldwide communications arm, it wasn’t just affected, it was infested. In 1943, New York Times columnist Arthur Krock observed, in a moment of candor, that the views of the OWI “have been closer to the Moscow than the Washington-London line.”  In another column, Krock added that OWI was intent on changing American policy, “seeking to re-shape it according to the personal and ideological views of Communists and fellow travelers in this country.” 

Most definitely, these ideas had consequences. As Evans details, during World War Two, the American comrades working within the government had a ready template for shaping our policy toward post-war Europe; regularly, in official cables and memos, the communist factions in countries such as Poland and Yugoslavia were praised, while non-communist factions were smeared. And since most top policymakers relied on these “trusted” channels of communication to help inform their decisions, U.S. policy ended up tilting away from American interests and toward those of the Soviet Union.   

We can note that this systemic manipulation of U.S. policy toward Europe culminated in the Yalta Conference in February 1945. At that session in Soviet Crimea, an ailing Roosevelt (he would be dead just two months later) signed off on Stalin’s domination of Eastern and Central Europe. In attendance at Yalta, we might add, was the selfsame communist agent Alger Hiss, still then a golden boy of the Establishment.  

In fact, the same pro-communist template worked in China, too, even after the Cold War had made Americans suspicious of the Soviets. Up until Mao’s takeover in 1949, the State Department’s duplicitous experts—the aforementioned John Stewart Service and the so-called “China Hands”—were doing all they could to guide Mao to victory. 

…The Deep State Now

Mindful of the past history of Deep State power, and realizing that career bureaucrats and associated D.C. lifers were mostly not fans of Donald Trump, Virgil first wrote about the Deep State three years ago, on December 12, 2016. 

And that was a month before the Deep State demonstrated its power yet again, when a phone call from Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was recorded and leaked to the Washington Post on January 12, 2017.

Another Trump White House official who had a painful brush with the Deep State early on was K.T. McFarland, who briefly served as deputy national security adviser. As she said later, “I experienced the Deep State personally. … They know exactly how to subvert the president.” Indeed, in the nearly three years since, we’ve seen a steady procession of leaks and rumors emanating from the shadowy “permanent government,” mostly aimed at discrediting—and now, destroying—the Trump administration.  

Taking stock of all these Deep State doings, in September 2018, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, now the House Minority Leader, wrote, “It has been clear for many years that there is a permanent political class in Washington that believes that it has a divine right to rule the American people … a Deep State.”

For a while, the Deep State’s allies in the Main Stream Media denied that there was any such thing as a Deep State; it was typical for MSM-ers to say that anyone who worried about the Deep State was a paranoid demagogue, practicing the dreaded McCarthyism. (The late Stan Evans, whom we met earlier, wrote sympathetically about Joe McCarthy, but he has been badly outnumbered by the anti-McCarthy forces. That doesn’t make Evans wrong, of course.)  

Yet now that the Ukraine “whistleblower,” apparently a career CIA man friendly with ex-CIA chief John Brennan, succeeded in triggering impeachment hearings, the MSM has taken on a new line; it takes public pride in the Deep State. As Michelle Cottle wrote in the New York Times on October 20, “President Trump is right: The deep state is alive and well.” Cottle declared that the Deep State was, of course, a good thing; it consists, she wrote, of “patriotic public servants—career diplomats, scientists, intelligence officers and others.”  She added, “For the sake of the nation, the American public should be clamoring for more patriots to join the conspiracy.” 

On November 13, Robert Kuttner, writing for The American Prospect, added a piece headlined, “Let’s Hear It for the Deep State.”  Kuttner added, “The deep state along with the Democratic House is our essential check.” We can note that close linkage: Deep State + Democrats. And oh yes, + MSM. 

Yet even within the MSM, some voices are raising concerns that an un-democratic and un-accountable governmental force is seeking to remake America, starting with the removal of Trump. After all, one doesn’t have to be a fan of Trump to see an ominous trend here, as well as a scary precedent for the future—what will an empowered Deep State do next? Thus Vanity Fair’s T. A. Frank, no conservative, added his note of warning: 

The existence of an administrative coup inside the White House should be sobering, whether you’re pro-Trump or anti-Trump. It’s tempting to see the establishment as moderate or technocratic, but we’ve learned, since Trump’s rise, that it’s not. It’s fiercely ideological, but, most of the time, invisibly so, because it has been unaccustomed to having its assumptions challenged. [emphasis added] 

We can, indeed, pause over the key words in that last sentence—“fiercely ideological.”

So what, exactly, is the Deep State’s ideology? Well, these days, it’s hard to define. Back in the ’40s, it was easy: Deep Statists were sympathetic, at least, to communism. But nowadays, there aren’t many believers in the communism of, say, Cuba, China, or Venezuela. Yes, bureaucrats believe in higher taxes, more spending—and, of course, more bureaucrats—but they stop there; they don’t want to see their local Whole Foods, stocked with costly organic goods, turned into an empty-shelved People’s Kitchen #1. So yes, capitalism is fine, so long as it is suitably Woke. Deep Statists also likely believe in some sort of gay-friendly green globalism, and yet these days, there’s no central commander of a central command, as was the case when Stalin ruled in Moscow. 

In fact, there’s probably only one issue that truly unifies today’s Deep State: Getting rid of Trump.

The Deep State Rises 

The public impeachment sessions on Capitol Hill have featured a parade of career officials, including William Taylor, George Kent, and Marie Yovanovitch. And soon enough, we’ll be hearing from others who have already testified in private, including Alexander Vindman, Fiona Hill, and David Holmes—and no doubt many others, too. Thus we’ll get to see the Deep State, surfaced.  

The common thread running through all these testimonies is, of course, U.S. dealings with Ukraine. And as useful context for current Ukrainian-American relations, we might recall a revealing headline from Politico, dated January 11, 2017. Since Rachel Maddow will never cite it, Virgil will: “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire: Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton.” That’s Hillary Clinton, of course. 

That Politico article from nearly three years ago scooped on the activities of one Alexandra Chalupa, a former Clinton White House staffer who also worked for the Democratic National Committee. By her own account, Chalupa had been coordinating with elements of the Ukrainian government to undermine Paul Manafort, who for a time was Trump’s campaign manager. And so, of course, by extension, Chalupa was working to undermine the entire Trump 2016 presidential campaign.  

Today, it’s impossible to separate that recent history from the current Ukrainian state of play. In the words of Rep. Devin Nunes, a thorough investigation of whatever has been happening in Ukraine must include testimony from Chalupa:  

Given President Trump’s documented belief that the Ukrainian government meddled in the 2016 election to oppose his candidacy, which forms the basis for a reasonable desire for Ukraine to investigate the circumstances surrounding the election and any potential Ukrainian involvement, Ms. Chalupa is a prime fact witness who can assist Congress and the American public in better understanding the facts and circumstances surrounding Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election.

Of course, Deep Statists are not happy about any curiosity concerning Chalupa & Co., coming either from Trump or from congressional Republicans.  

Instead, the Deep State and its friends and fans want to keep the focus squarely on Trump’s alleged interference in their Ukrainian business-as-usual. For instance, in his October 29 testimony on Capitol Hill, Vindman seemed, uh, deeply determined to protect the way that the bureaucracy had been handling Ukraine matters. In particular, Vindman praised the work of his “interagency colleagues”; the implication was clear: It was the interagency colleagues, not Trump, who should be setting Ukrainian policy.   

As Vindman said in his opening statement, “In the spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency.”  So the “interagency” is what matters, Vindman believes, and “outside influencers” must be rejected, because they are a threat to the work of him and his colleagues. 

In the sympathetic words of the Washington Post, Vindman was “deeply troubled by what he interpreted as an attempt by the president to subvert U.S. foreign policy.” Yes, you read that right: Vindman was deeply (there’s that word again!) troubled by the thought that Trump would “subvert” our foreign policy. Most people would say, of course, that the U.S. president, the commander-in-chief, is supposed to be the one making our foreign policy. And yet the Deep State has a different view; from its perspective, the president—especially this president—is a mere interloper, potentially violating the sanctity of “the interagency.” 

As Mark Hemingway headlined his November 1 piece in The Federalist, this is a case of “Donald Trump Versus ‘The Interagency Consensus.’” In such a fight, we know who the Deep State is rooting for. 

Of course, some might wonder if there’s more going on here than just bureaucrats protecting their bureaucratic ways. That is, the Deep State might have other purposes beyond just protecting its perks and power.  

Why, some might even ask if there’s some deeper secret here, perhaps concerning Hillary Clinton, or even, who knows, George Soros. Joe diGenova raised the issue of Soros’ influence on Fox Business the other night, and John Solomon has gone further, formulating some pointed questions which might yet be posed to Marie Yovanovitch, including this challenging query: 

The State Department helped fund a nonprofit called the Anti-Corruption Action Centre of Ukraine that also was funded by George Soros’ main charity. That nonprofit, also known as AnTac, was identified in a 2014 Soros foundation strategy document as critical to reshaping Ukraine to Mr. Soros’ vision. Can you explain what role your embassy played in funding this group and why State funds would flow to it? And did any one consider the perception of mingling tax dollars with those donated by Soros, a liberal ideologue who spent millions in 2016 trying to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump?

Others too, of course, should be asked about Soros, and AnTac, and all the rest, including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and former secretary of state John Kerry.  

The Ukraine investigation is far from over. Indeed, by the time it is over—or when the essential facts, at least, are clear enough—the skullduggery of the last decade might start to resemble the skullduggery of the 1940s.   

Yes, the names have changed, but the Deep State has endured.

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