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Trump White House sees influence of shadow 'deep state'

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White House Chief strategist Steve Bannon is seen in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.

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17th-Mar-2017       
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AP, New York :
The White House and its allies are stepping up their attacks on a foe typically associated with fragile democracies, military coups and spy thrillers.
The "deep state," an alleged shadowy network of powerful entrenched federal and military interests, has increasingly become the focus of Republicans who accuse such forces of trying to undermine the new president.
Though senior White House staff members don't use the exact label, the notion behind it has taken hold. President Donald Trump claims his predecessor tapped his phone and America's intelligence agencies have conspired to leak harmful information to embarrass him. His chief strategist has vowed to dismantle the permanent Washington "administrative state." White House spokesman Sean Spicer says "people that burrowed into government" are trying to sabotage the president.
To Trump's critics, these assertions come off as paranoid fear of a non-existent shadow government and an effort to create a scapegoat for the White House's struggles. But to Trump's supporters, this represents an overdue challenge to an elite ruling class concerned only with maintaining its own grasp on power.
"Of course, the deep state exists. There's a permanent state of massive bureaucracies that do whatever they want and set up deliberate leaks to attack the president," said Newt Gingrich, a Trump confidant. "This is what the deep state does: They create a lie, spread a lie, fail to check the lie and then deny that they were behind the lie."
Historians believe the concept of the "deep state" comes from Turkey, where the term "derin devlet" meant a clandestine network, including intelligence and military officers, which protected the ruling class in the 1920s. Similar ideas have taken hold in Egypt, where the military has allied itself with powerful business interests, and Pakistan, with its robust intelligence service.
In its current use, the concept has been twisted and broadened, encompassing a resistant bureaucracy and a regulatory regime rather than foreshadowing some sort of military intervention. Chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon has offered the loudest warnings about the opposition the president is facing from the deep state.
In his only public speech since the election, Bannon told a conservative group that the White House's goal was the "deconstruction of the administrative state," a reflection of his belief that the massive federal government, with its burdensome regulations, does more to hinder than uplift citizens. It also echoes Bannon's oft-stated worldview, frequently on display at his former news site Breitbart, that a global power structure - including government institutions - has rigged the economy.
Gingrich, who says he has discussed the deep state with Bannon, likens its dangers to the plotline of the new season of "Homeland," in which a conspiracy that includes career intelligence officers tries to subvert a president-elect.
"They are fighting to keep hold of their power," said the former House speaker, who asked a reporter not to spoil the two Homeland episodes of the season he has yet to see.
The sprawling federal government, including its intelligence agencies, has thousands of employees who predate Trump, a mix of career staffers and those appointed by President Barack Obama whose replacements have yet to be named. Some have offered leaks, including sensitive documents, to reporters that provide a critical take on the president.

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