I was in a terrible traffic accident two weeks ago. I was on a Vespa scooter driving up Connecticut Avenue in Washington, DC, when the driver of the car in front of me slammed on his brakes for no reason. There was nobody in front of him and the lane was completely clear. I had no idea why he did it. I hit my brakes and swerved left to avoid him, but I clipped the left end of his bumper and went over the handlebars, landing on my shoulder. I fractured my spine, broke six ribs, and broke my clavicle.
The driver, meanwhile, continued driving to the end of the block, pulled over, and sat in his car. He never got out to see if I was injured. He just sat there and waited for the cops to arrive. Two pedestrians came to my aid, with one calling 911 and the other asking me questions like, "Do you know your name? Do you know what year it is? Do you know what happened?" Finally, an ambulance came, along with the fire department and a uniformed police officer. As I was being loaded into the ambulance, I saw the cop talking to the driver of the car I hit.
I spent the next six days in George Washington University Hospital. A few days into that stay, a friend called me to say that an article about the accident had appeared in Newsweek. The article said that I had "questions" about the accident and that maybe it had indeed not been an accident. I actually did have questions about it. The article said that there was no police report, and when the Newsweek reporter asked the police department for one, he was told that there was no record of any accident having taken place. A witness added that after I was loaded into the ambulance, the cop just told the driver of the car to leave. Just drive away. Was this a Michael Hastings-type incident? I didn't know.
But it wasn't. It was just a traffic accident. Newsweek later updated its article to say that a bus had suddenly pulled out from the curb lane into the driving lane and the driver had hit his brakes to avoid hitting the bus. He didn't see that I was behind him.
A few days into my hospital stay, I gave an interview to a Greek television station. The interviewer asked what had happened, and I told him that I thought it was just a simple traffic accident. He asked if I had considered the idea that perhaps it was a set-up. I replied that, sure, it had crossed my mind. But there were so many moving parts in such a scenario that it just seemed to be too complicated to pull off. Besides, despite the severity of my injuries, I was only going five miles per hour, according to the fire department. But why, the reporter asked, had the police told the car's driver to drive away? Why was there no police report? Could this have been something more sinister?
I knew from my many years in the Intelligence Community that employees of several different governmental agencies carry what is euphemistically called a "get out of jail free" card. If you are on some sort of secret mission inside the United States and you get wrapped up in something that requires the intervention of law enforcement, you hand the cop your "get out of jail free" card, he calls a number on the card, the person who answers confirms that you're on sensitive government business, and he asks that the cop send you on your way. This was probably what happened, I said. It was probably just an accident.
Still, the reporter pressed, "You've been outspoken about the existence of the Deep State. Isn't it possible, after all you've said about the CIA, torture, human rights, and such over the years that this was something more ominous? A message, perhaps?"
I have to admit that he got me on that one. Deep down, I still think it was an accident. But when the Attorney General of the United States tells a U.S. senator, with a completely straight face in an open Congressional hearing, that the president can have an American citizen assassinated on U.S. soil without benefit of a trial, it gives one pause. I didn't want to acknowledge it, but maybe there was something more to this than I was willing to admit to myself.
And that leads to a far more important issue than John Kiriakou's traffic accident. Where is the accountability for the Deep State? When Congress does not exercise its constitutionally-mandated oversight, who is responsible for protecting Americans from their government? To whom do those secretive governmental agencies report, if not to Congress?
Thanks to the revelations of Ed Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Tom Drake, and others, we know that the Deep State is real. It's ominous. It's a threat to our democracy. We have to demand accountability through our elected officials. We have to keep talking about these issues, writing about them, marching to draw attention to them, and demanding that our Congressional representatives do what we say. Without it, the country is doomed and we're all in danger, even from a simple "traffic accident."
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