A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist’s investigation of the “deep state.”
Three-quarters of Americans believe that a group of unelected government and military officials secretly manipulate or direct
national policy in the United States. President Trump blames the “deep state” for his impeachment. But what is the American “deep
state” and does it really exist?
To conservatives, the “deep state” is an ever-growing government bureaucracy, an “administrative state” that they think relentlessly
encroaches on the individual rights of Americans. Liberals fear the “military-industrial complex”—a cabal of generals and defense
contractors who they believe routinely push the country into endless wars. Every modern American president from Carter to Trump
has engaged in power struggles with Congress, the CIA, and the FBI. Every CIA and FBI director has suspected White House aides or
members of Congress of leaking secrets for political gain. Frustrated Americans increasingly distrust the politicians, unelected officials,
and journalists who they feel set the country’s political agenda. American democracy faces its biggest crisis of legitimacy in a half century.
This sweeping exploration examines the CIA and FBI scandals of the past fifty years—from the Church Committee’s exposure
of Cold War abuses, to the Iran-Contra affair, to false intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, to NSA mass surveillance
revealed by Edward Snowden. It then investigates the claims and counterclaims of the Trump era, and the relentless spread of conspiracy
theories online and on-air. While Trump says he is the victim of the “deep state,” Rohde argues the president and his allies are creating a
de facto “deep state” of their own that operates outside official government channels and smears rivals, both real and perceived.
The feverish debate over the “deep state” raises core questions about the future of American democracy. Is it possible for career
government officials to be politically neutral? Have the FBI, CIA, and other intelligence agencies grown too powerful? Are politicians
spreading “deep state” conspiracy theories for their own political gain? How vast should the power of a president be? Based on dozens of
interviews with career CIA operatives and FBI agents, In Deep answers the question of whether the nation’s intelligence agencies and its
politicians are abusing or protecting the public’s trust.