Infiltration of Congress
The question is sometimes raised as to why so much unconstitutional legislation, such as the bills banning encryption, scanners, and guns, and enabling asset forfeiture, are proceeding, despite public opposition. As one congressional staffer put it, in a discussion on the encryption legislation, "We are more afraid of the NSA than we are of you [the people]". [Quoted from an article in Wired magazine.] You could substitute any of several alphabet agencies for NSA and find agreement with the resulting statement.
It is worthwhile to understand some of the reasons why they are afraid of the "intelligence" agencies. One of the most important is that congressional staffs are heavily infiltrated by them, and some members are closely affiliated with the agencies. (Sen. Markey is ex-FBI, and George Bush was working for the CIA while a member of Congress.) When I was doing free-lance public-interest lobbying on Capitol Hill during the 1970-72 timeframe, some of my most interesting experiences were hanging out at some of the clubs near the Capitol, such as the Hawk and Dove, where I could hear congressional staffers meeting with their handlers, who appeared to be mostly CIA and FBI, although that is just a guess and they could have been with other agencies. They would vaunt their control over the inner workings of Congress, making it clear that the "separation of powers" has been essentially undermined.
The way this is experienced by a freshman congressman is that he is told "if you want to get things done, you need to hire the right staff people". If he doesn't, and tries to get by with just his own people brought with him from his state or district, he discovers he is frozen out of everything, and can't get anywhere with anything he wants to do. Once he gives in and hires some "experienced professionals", a few tidbits get thrown his way, just enough to keep him playing ball -- and to suck him in to a web of deceit and corruption until he has no way out and is under the complete control of the System.
There is a similar problem with infiltration at state and local levels, and not just with the legislative branches, but with the judicial as well. That is why it is so difficult to change things by just replacing the visible personnel, and why "term limits" are mostly useless, because new members are compelled to hire from the same pool of "experienced professionals" who "can get things done". To achieve any real reform, we must find a way to clean out the controlling bureaucracies that have infested and infiltrated everything, and that presents a problem of where to find qualified replacements. It is not an accident that following the fall of Communism in the old Soviet Union the old Communist aparachiks have remained in power. They are the only ones who know how to make things work. We have a similar problem in this country.
The solution is for reformers to do a lot of infiltrating of their own, until we can replace the bad guys and still keep the trains running on time.
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