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James Angleton,
James Angleton, CIA counterintelligence chief, 1947-1974

When I started writing the biography of James Angleton in January 2015, the notion that a “deep state” shaped American politics was largely unknown. When I finished The Ghost two years later, the term commanded belief from the President of the United States and a near majority of the citizenry.

In April 2017 ABC News pollsters asked Americans about the possible existence of a deep state–defined as “military, intelligence and government officials who try to secretly manipulate government policy.” A plurality of respondents — 48 percent –agreed while 35 percent described the idea as a conspiracy theory. The belief in a “deep state” ran equally strong among Republicans and Democrats.

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