By Zach Dorfman, senior fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, published in Politico Magazine.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that 2018 is a uniquely worrying moment in America’s great, clamorous experiment with representative government. And you wouldn’t be entirely wrong.
Loose talk of a “deep state” seeking to undermine the Trump administration and its allies has entered the political mainstream. Outlandish as the charge might be, we shouldn’t be surprised: Conspiratorial thinking has long had a grip on American politics, and warping effects.
This is the story of one such example: When he feared communists were infiltrating America, Larry McDonald took extreme measures — building his own intelligence-gathering arm.