Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is living, breathing, testifying proof the Deep State exists. He has shown his true colors and the agenda of the self-appointed elites who think they run this country.
Let me state categorically that I am not implying dual loyalty or questioning Vindman’s patriotism or even his devotion to duty as he sees it. I’m questioning his judgment about where that duty lies and the execution of those duties as a military officer and civil servant.
The term “deep state” is now highly charged politically. The right takes it as a given, the left sometimes denies its existence. Here’s my definition for the purposes of this discussion.
Deep State (noun): The permanent, professional bureaucracy of the U.S. government, specifically those who believe their judgment and continual service makes them better suited to run the country than elected officials or political appointees.
That’s accurate, but to expand on why it matters, we should note the political contributions of federal employees in the last presidential election went 95 percent to Hillary Clinton. There is nothing illegal or nefarious about that, but it certainly points out the one-sided political nature of this cohort. While they may not openly organize into political action committees, their hold on federal levers of power dangerously skews government’s actions and inactions toward the preferences of the political left.
Any mention of this is immediately discounted and attacked by the media because they have a symbiotic relationship with these folks. They are the sources for most of the leaks that are the lifeblood of the political press, and exposing that is in neither group’s interest. They treat it as a conspiracy theory and continue to use it to serve their joint purpose of advancing a leftist agenda globally. They do this regardless of which party has political control of government, although their cooperation with Democrats and undermining of Republicans is the deepest problem.
The DC Game Is Rigged to Favor the Deep State
The game is fixed in DC: politicians come and go, but the bureaucracy chugs along protecting and advancing its own interests. Two perfect examples unfolded in the most recent presidencies. Barack Obama chose a nuclear deal with Iran as the legacy achievement of his foreign policy. He pursued it relentlessly to our detriment, both in actual ability to stop Iran from getting nukes, and in subjugating our entire foreign policy to this one goal.
The Deep State loved it. They were all in on his side, and the media had never more completely acted as palace scribes dutifully parroting every administration talking point and obfuscating or attacking contrary views. They faithfully misinformed the public to the best of their ability, and in the end Obama, the bureaucrats, and the media rammed the deal through while the American public showed 2-1 disapproval. It was a victory for the Deep State.
Shift forward to the 2016 election campaign and the collusion between Democrats and Deep Staters to stop the Trump train and then, after it left Inauguration Station, to derail it. The Trump-Russia witch hunt is an egregious example of the power of the state being abused for partisan political purposes.
That failed to deliver the goal of deposing the president, and may even backfire as the investigations into it complete and there is a possibility of indictments for some of the conspirators. Having come at the president and missed, they decided to redouble their efforts, so we come to the impeachment inquiry currently operating in full kangaroo court fashion.
Vindman’s Testimony Gives the Game Away
They began with a “whistleblower,” but it was quickly shown that this person was nowhere near any of the events in question and likely colluded with Democrats prior to even filing the complaint. They needed a better front man, and Vindman was perfect: a military officer with a Purple Heart and privy to all the requisite details as the Ukraine desk lead for the National Security Council. Who would dare impugn his honor?
But Vindman gave the game away with his prepared testimony. He believes the permanent bureaucracy should reign supreme, and if some elected politician gets crosswise with the solons of the state, then they must act. So he did, as he detailed in his prepared statement and testimony to Congress. From the 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. This narrative was harmful to U.S. government policy.”
There is a lot of wrong in those two sentences, which profoundly illustrate the fundamental flaw Vindman and his fellow Deep Staters operate under. The interagency he mentions is a collection of staff from the major agencies like the State Department, Department of Defense, and intelligence agencies, who meet to coordinate and plan implementation of policy. They most certainly are not supposed to decide what policy the United States will follow. That is 100 percent the purview of the president.
Dissenters Within Government Will Be Persecuted
As for “outside influencers,” Vindman is primarily speaking of Rudy Giuliani, who was acting in some ways as a private citizen, but also as an emissary of President Trump. During his testimony, Vindman was asked who else he meant as “outside,” and he named U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sonland and U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker.
This is telling, as Giuliani may somewhat fairly be called an outsider, even though he was acting at the president’s behest, but both Sonland and Volker are members of the government with direct responsibility for Ukraine and are significantly senior to Vindman. Yet Vindman called them “outsiders,” saying Volker as special representative for Ukraine was fine when he “was working in concert with the interagency,” but when in contact with Giuliani “that was not the case”; and that Sonland was “a bit of an outside influencer.”
His standard for an outsider was anyone not in concert with the unelected mid-level bureaucrats of the interagency. Wrong answer, but indicative of his belief that they are the ones whose opinions matter and anyone acting outside of that is acting against U.S. interests. Even if that conflicted with the policy of his superiors all the way up to the president, Vindman and the Deep State would decide what “advanced U.S. policy interests.”
Vindman also took action warning Ukrainian officials he spoke to: “I would tell them to not interfere — not get involved in U.S. domestic politics.”
This was after Vindman says he had determined the calls for an investigation into election interference and anything related to Burisma corruption and the Bidens equaled President Trump trying to get Ukraine to interfere in U.S. politics. He was actively undermining what he believes is the president’s chosen policy—not because it is illegal, but because he disagrees with it and doesn’t think it is important.
That is far beyond Vindman’s duties or authority, and in applying his opinion and actions to counter the president’s goals he was violating the oath he swore to obey the orders of “officers appointed above me.”
This is insubordination and malfeasance, and likely punishable under several sections of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
Using Bureaucracy As a Weapon of Politics
I disagree with Vindman that Trump was using these investigations for purely political purposes. There were legitimate U.S. concerns about election interference and corruption related to senior U.S. officials.
Vindman argued in testimony that he didn’t believe these allegations were credible, but it’s not his position to decide that. It’s his job to give his advice saying he doesn’t agree they are credible but then execute the president’s foreign policy decisions once they are made. Instead, he sabotaged them.
Vindman had previously shown he did not know his place in the hierarchy of our government. During a trip to celebrate the inauguration of the new president of Ukraine, Volodomyr Zelensky, he actually lectured the new president on staying out of U.S. domestic politics.
This was another glaring example of Vindman attempting to undermine President Trump’s efforts to get investigations moving. It would be hard to explain how stunningly inappropriate it was for someone this junior to address a world leader in this fashion, especially in front of senior U.S. and Ukrainian officials.
Now Vindman serves the interests of the partisan witch hunt round two happening in the House. The first one failed, as former special counsel Robert Mueller found zero collusion. Now the Dems and the Deep State have elevated more policy disagreements to what amounts to an attempted coup.
It’s doubtful they’ll succeed in actually removing the president, because even if the shenanigans in the House result in a vote to impeach the president, there is near zero chance the Senate will convict. They will be able to call all the witnesses and ask all the questions that ringmaster Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has forbidden in the House. This may even show that Vindman was one of the sources the whistleblower used in making the complaint that started this whole charade.
The whole impeachment inquiry may backfire hugely when the American people see and hear the full extent of what the unelected, self-selected Deep State has tried to do to a duly elected U.S. president. Let’s hope so.
It should certainly serve as a warning of the danger posed when the permanent bureaucracy chooses a side. Our government must be responsible to the desires of the people as indicated by the leaders elected to serve them, not the partisan goals of the Deep State.
Jim Hanson is president of Security Studies Group and served in U.S. Army Special Forces.
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