"Since 9/11, constitutional practices have been overshadowed by a series of emergency measures to fight terrorism. The latter have mushroomed in size, reach and budget, while traditional government has shrunk. As a result we have today what the journalist Dana Priest has called:
"Two governments: the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open; the other a parallel top-secret government whose parts have mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre.
More and more, it is becoming common to say that America, like Turkey before it, now has what Marc Ambinder and John Tirman have called a "deep state" behind the public one.
This parallel government is guided in surveillance matters by its own Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, which **according to the New York Times**, "has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court." And thanks largely to Edward Snowden, it is now clear that the FISA Court has permitted this deep state to expand surveillance beyond the tiny number of known and suspected Islamic terrorists, _to_ any incipient protest movement that might challenge the policies of the American war machine.
Americans have by and large not questioned this parallel government, accepting that sacrifices of traditional rights and traditional transparency are necessary to keep us safe from al-Qaeda attacks.
However, secret power is unchecked power, and experience of the last century has only reinforced the truth of Lord Acton's famous dictum that unchecked power always corrupts. Therefore, it is time to consider the extent to which American secret agencies have developed a symbiotic relationship with the forces they are supposed to be fighting --- even having on occasion intervened to let al-Qaeda terrorists proceed with their plots!
Did I say Intervened to let al-Qaeda terrorists proceed with their plots"? These words as I write them make me wonder yet again, as I so often do, if I am not losing my marbles, and proving myself to be no more than a zany "conspiracy theorist." So I have to remind myself that my claim is not one coming from theory, but rests on certain undisputed facts about incidents that are true even though they have been systematically suppressed or under-reported in the American mainstream media."