Procedural complaints about classified documents are quickly turning into a catch-all trap that can depose duly elected officials, especially those tasked with oversight of U.S. intelligence agencies. Last August, an unprecedented classified document complaint provided a pretext for an FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s home, in an eerie echo of the use of police and military resources against opposing politicians typical of banana republics.
That administrative power flex has now been turned into the unprecedented appointment of three special counsels, most recently against the deeply unpopular current Democrat Party figurehead, Joe Biden. This all reverses the American structure of elected officials maintaining oversight of unelected permanent administrators. Instead, we now have unelected bureaucrats performing selective “oversight” of elected officials.
Of course, that pattern erases Americans’ deepest political birthright: government of the people, by the people, and for the people. A government not ultimately controlled by elected representatives of the citizenry is not a republic, nor is it any kind of democracy. Without elections truly affecting government policies, the original United States is no more and its elections are a sham.
The subversion of elected representative government via weaponized intelligence has been expanding for some time. The Trump presidential years saw a massive acceleration in this pre-existing trend of unelected bureaucrats exercising increasing power over elected officials, including by weaponizing classified information, usually via highly selective leaks to leftist media.
Recall that Michael Flynn, a would-be reformer of U.S. intelligence, was neatly precluded from becoming Trump’s national security advisor via leaks of classified intel to the media that a (still) gullible Vice President Mike Pence bought hook, line, and sinker. Rather than the leaker being sought, caught, and punished, Flynn was. The selective and deceptive leaks were shanghaied into a Justice Department investigation that ended with Flynn narrowly escaping jail time and professional repercussions for his son so long as he promised to disappear from public view.
The same pattern occurred in multiple cycles with Spygate, the wholly manufactured projection of treasonous collusion with Russia from the Democratic Party onto Trump. Rep. Adam Schiff, who has been recently kicked off the House Intelligence Committee, repeatedly used his access to classified intelligence to fan the Spygate flames as well as the two impeachments of Trump. So did multiple other deep-state actors, including the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Notice there’s no probe into Schiff’s blatant and repeated misuse of the classified information he was privileged to receive on the House Intelligence Committee. But there could be if he stopped being such a useful Democrat.
This is how, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer threatened Trump early in the latter’s term, intelligence agencies “have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.” It is how the intelligence tail can — and now does — wag the congressional dog. This has been ongoing now for decades and is perpetually expanding its reach.
This allows the document-holders to function as a shadow government that essentially controls the elected government by picking what bits of information to release to achieve its own ends rather than the priorities of American voters. This selective deployment of intelligence has been even used to goad the United States into wars it doesn’t win that expand the military-industrial complex and distract U.S. officials while defenestrating U.S. national interests. It was used to lie to Trump about U.S. military activities and prevent him from exercising his due presidential authority over U.S. military affairs.
Those who presented unreliable, counterproductive, and false intelligence to presidents from George W. Bush to Barack Obama to Trump have not been punished, nor often even identified. Neither has the person who compromised the safety and collegiality of the U.S. Supreme Court by leaking the pro-life Dobbs decision last May.
Curiously, neither have there been any administrative-state leaks about the many connections between the Biden family and the Chinese Communist Party. This is not a tool to be applied equally, you see, or in service of the public good. It’s only yet another knife to pull out against those who cross the wrong people.
That’s how expansive, vague, and proliferating laws, regulations, and bureaucracies all work: as tools of selective prosecution to be wielded at the whims of the powerful against those who threaten their power. The erasure of self-government and the rule of law go hand in hand, collapsed by the administrative state’s erasure of the separation of powers that protect individual liberty and justice for all.
This expanding weaponization of classified intel into selective probes of those who have access to at least some of it allows deep-state entities even more control over elected officials. This standard of probes for possessing “unauthorized” classified documents can be applied to any current or former president, as well as many other officials.
As a Project for Government Oversight lawyer told USA Today: “I’d bet you that if they go back to all of the living presidents and root through their homes and their libraries and their warehouses and garages, they’re going to unearth some classified documents there.” Other presidential experts told USA Today that essentially every presidential administration since 1978 has mishandled classified documents.
The same applies to numerous other elected and unelected officials, such as those on House and Senate military intelligence committees and in the executive branch. This is partly because U.S. intelligence agencies improperly classify “millions” of materials, partly to hide their activities by lying that materials elected representatives seek implicate “national security.” It’s a convenient, unfalsifiable excuse that allows U.S. intelligence agencies to function as poisonous self-licking ice cream cones.
This all recalls one of the famous lines of one of the world’s most famous of secret police, Joseph Stalin’s NKVD chief, Lavrentiy Beria: “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.” That is how secret police function. It is how U.S. intelligence agencies function now, with help from their administrative-state allies such as the Department of So-Called Justice. Their use of selective prosecutions and investigations to hamstring and punish their enemies may not be unlimited now, but it is expanding.
All members of Congress must be aware of this and use all the powers at their disposal to fight it, for as the administrative apparatus strengthens, the American republic dissolves.