Deep State

Season 2: Deep State

“There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol.”

— Mike Lof...

Season 2: Deep State

“There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol.”

— Mike Lofgren(1)

The “deep state” concept first gained traction in Turkey(2). Other nations like Egypt and Pakistan coopted it and the term came to refer to using propaganda or violence to overthrow the government. A congressional staffer named Mike Lofgren, who spent three decades in Washington specializing in national security, molded the term for an American audience.

“Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue,” Lofgren wrote in a 2014 essay, “a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose.”(3)

But the deep state is just a new term for a thread that’s been woven into America’s governing fabric for more than a century.(4) What we now called the “deep state” in the United States, is in fact the “Deep State,” a 51st state, hidden from the American people and unacknowledged by the federal government, even as it pulls Washington’s most important levers.

That Deep State is anything but new. The idea of a mammoth bunker that would house an alternative U.S. government was first conceived during the Civil War.

In July 1861, the Confederacy won the first major fight of the war: The First Battle of Bull Run, just 30 miles west of Washington, D.C. Weeks after that battle, members of President Abraham Lincoln’s inner circle, nervous about his chances at reuniting the nation, and about how close Jefferson Davis had come to taking Washington, decided the country needed a backup plan to protect the Constitutionally-elected government in case the capital fell.(5)

These members of Lincoln’s administration secretly raised enough money to send a dozen highly trained civil engineers, many with West Virginia mining backgrounds(6), to scout locations in the west where the true government could relocate in exile if the war turned against the north.

That group of engineers called themselves the Shovelmen, and they traveled through the southernmost Union free states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa.(7) They reached the western part of the Nebraska territories, which would later become Wyoming, and at the southern border with the Colorado territory they began studying the land: soil type, topography and slope stability, average precipitation and groundwater levels.(8)

The territories were owned by the federal government, which made them a logical place for federal government leadership to build a backup plan, and when they found a location they believed had the right variables for an underground bunker, they began to dig.

We don’t know exactly where that point was, but some say that that bunker, buried under rangeland somewhere along the Colorado-Wyoming border, has grown into powerful bureaucratic metropolis the size of Baltimore(9), its residents powerful actors connected to shadowy, influential figures in Silicon Valley, Wall Street, the Pentagon, the intelligence services and the courts.

So why is a shadow government, designed to silently run the real version of American democracy, suddenly a regular topic of conversation within the Constitutional State? Is there dissent in today’s Deep State? What’s the ultimate goal of Deep State leadership? Do they work in conjunction with parts of the Constitutional State?

An answer may have come from coded language used by President Donald Trump during a 2018 rally in Billings, Montana — about 500 miles directly north of where many believe the Deep State Gateway Portal is located.

“Unelected, deep state operatives who defy the voters, to push their own secret agendas, are truly a threat to democracy itself,” Trump said. “People that don’t exactly dig us, and they don’t exactly like me, they’re fighting for us.”(10)

“Digs”? Exactly.


(1)Mike Lofgren, The Deep State: The Fall Of The Constitution And The Rise Of A Shadow Government (New York: Viking, 2016) (Link)

(2)Jon Gorvett, “Bombing Campaign a Response to Ankara’s Kurdish Policies, or ‘Deep State’ Plot?”Washington Report on Middle East Affairs(November 2006) (Link)

(3)Mike Lofgren, “Anatomy of the Deep State,” (February 21, 2014) (Link)

(4)Jill F. Schtopff, introduction to Turn Over Every Damnable Stone: The History of the Search for the Deep State (Swayzee, Ind.: Crank It UP Press, 1993)

(5)Xavier Díaz, “Send the Shovelmen,” in Saving the Union, Just In Case (New York: Dunce, 2001)

(6)Cassandra von Hoorth, Bill Dvz and Kelly Poooots, Oh Wow, You West Virginian Miners!! (Nutter Fort, WV: Virgin Queen Books, 1985)

(7) Díaz, “Send the Shovelmen”

(8) Mitchell T. Freymouths, There’s A Worm In My Tin Coffee Mug: Soil Mechanics & Management in the 19th Century American West (Philadelphia: Legendary Bathtub Publishing, 1987)

(9) Guy named Hal drinking gin, The Weary Butler Taproom, Indianapolis (October 2018)

(10) Donald J. Trump, Billings, MT, September 6, 2019 (CNN) (Link)