Tim Wiener, formerly of the New York Times, is one of the country’s leading intelligence writers. His histories of the CIA (Legacy of Ashes) and the FBI (Enemies) are brisk best-sellers that render harsh judgement on these agencies. (He is too harsh according to the CIA.)
In a long review essay for the New York Review of Books, Wiener concludes that Trump’s bluster about the “Deep State” is a sham, unfounded in fact.
The Deep State, to Trump, is a secret brotherhood of military and intelligence officers secretly manipulating the body politic, and is still run by the leaders of the American intelligence organizations under President Obama, along with unnamed sinister forces still resilient within the Justice Department. These are the same people who revealed a brazen covert operation by Vladimir Putin and his spy services to help elect Trump in 2016. To the president, they are not defending the republic but running a slow-rolling coup d’etat.
Wiener is no apologist for the national security agencies but he defends the former intelligence chiefs who have savaged Trump in recent books–Fomer Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA director Michael Hayden, and former FBI director James Comey.
“No precedent exists for men who have held such high officer in the American intelligence establishment to assail their commander in this fashion,” he writes.
[Full disclosure: Wiener is a personal friend]