Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
A week after the election, groups inside and outside the government, some calling themselves Obama Anonymous, had begun meeting to plan the “resistance” to Trump. Unlike the angry protesters in the streets, this resistance wasn’t a new organization. It consisted of Washington D.C. government lifers.
At the CFPB, there was a group calling itself Dumbledore’s Army. Within the FBI and the DOJ, there was a nameless “secret society”. Its details are being derived from text messages exchanged between Peter Strzok, a disgraced member of Mueller’s team, and his mistress, Lisa Page, who worked for FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Previous Strzok texts had spoken of taking out “insurance” against a Trump win. This was all the more significant since Strzok had investigated Hillary and interviewed Flynn. He was a crucial figure in both the investigations of Hillary Clinton and President Trump.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy revealed that the day after Trump won the election, texts between Strzok and Page suggested, “Perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society.”
Like the CFPB’s Dumbldore’s Army, the reference may have been meant to make the conspiracy seem more lighthearted, but joking names for secret organizations within the government don’t make their dangerously subversive nature a laughing matter. Meanwhile many of the text messages from Strzok and Page have fallen victim to the same technical glitch that claimed Lois Lerner’s emails, Hillary’s emails and the video where Obama’s State Department spokeswoman admitted lying to the media about Iran.
The missing text messages from members of the FBI’s secret society cover the five months where President Trump took office and the Mueller investigation to remove him from that office began.
The DOJ and FBI secret society, Dumbledore’s Army and Obama Anonymous are all holdovers from a radical administration that was obsessed with protecting its secrets and destroying its enemies.
In the summer of ’07, Obama promised that his would be the most transparent administration in history. "The real business of our democracy isn't done in town halls or public meetings or even in the open halls of Congress," he had complained. "Decisions are made in closed-door meetings, or with the silent stroke of the President's pen."
Then he went on to preside over a regime where the “stroke of the President’s pen” outweighed Congress. The real decisions weren’t even made in cabinet meetings, but with a close circle of advisers, like Ben Rhodes, whose proceedings weren’t revealed to the public.
Top administration figures like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and the IRS’ Lois Lerner used secret email accounts to avoid transparency leading to major scandals. It was no coincidence that they were also at the center of some of the administration’s worst abuses.
"We've used openness to promote accountability," Cass Sunstein, Obama's regulatory chief, bragged. But when Sunstein communicated with the EPA's Lisa Jackson, he emailed her Richard Windsor alias.
“This is the most transparent administration in history,” Obama declared in ’13.
Shortly thereafter, he was using the NSA to spy on members of Congress opposed to his deal with Iran. Three years later, he was caught secretly smuggling a fortune in foreign currency on unmarked cargo planes to Iran. That same year, his close associate, Ben Rhodes, bragged to the New York Times about their control of the media. “We created an echo chamber.” The “echo chamber” was its own secret society of media people who would be coordinated together to push White House narratives.
Paranoia and secrecy had always been Obama’s primal instincts. The administration had obsessively pursued leakers and whistleblowers. It ushered in a record number of prosecutions under the 1917 Espionage Act. “The greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation,” was how the New York Times’ James Risen described the administration after spending seven years battling government subpoenas.
Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson claimed that her computer had been hacked into. FOX News reporter James Rosen had his telephone records collected. The IRS was used to target political opponents. And then the NSA was deployed against Obama’s domestic political opponents.
The abuses came to a head with the rise of Trump. The “real business of our democracy” had become a threat to the secret societies inside and outside the government that had mushroomed under Obama. The endless czars of the bureaucracy, the apparatchiks brought in to dismantle and transform the government across each agency, were not about to let the voters overturn eight years of hard work.
The DOJ and the FBI had always been major priorities for Obama Inc. Under Holder and then Lynch, the Justice Department was transformed from a tool for fighting crime and terrorism into a vehicle for radical social change. This more obvious social agenda, which cost thousands of American lives from the spiraling homicide rates of Baltimore to the Pulse massacre in Orlando, hid a darker political agenda.
The hijacking of the DOJ wasn’t just about destroying policing and counterterrorism. Holder and Lynch became notorious for covering up Barack Obama’s and then Hillary Clinton’s scandals. Holder was held in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents in the Fast and Furious scandal. Lynch’s claim that her extended tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton during the investigation of his wife was a chat about their grandchildren took political cynicism to a new low. Lynch’s emails about the meeting were sent using the alias “Elizabeth Carlisle” in the most transparent administration in history.
But Obama’s DOJ didn’t just play defense. It also went after political opponents. Especially Trump.
We don’t know what, if any, tactics were deployed against the Romney campaign. That is one of the things that a comprehensive investigation of the Obama years should look into. The collapse of Romney’s ORCA application at a crucial moment may have helped throw the election to Obama. But we already know some of the measures that Obama Inc. took against the Trump campaign.
The Hillary campaign had funded the creation of the Steele dossier. The discredited document was injected into the DOJ and FBI through Fusion GPS, a secretive organization which bridged the gap between opposition research, the media and the government. The dossier was used to justify a FISA warrant for eavesdropping on Trump officials and then the Mueller investigation.
But the Steele dossier was only a product. Handling it required special interest groups within the DOJ and the FBI. We’re learning the names of some of those people. There was Bruce Ohr, the former associate deputy attorney general, whose wife had been hired by Fusion GPS to conduct anti-Trump research and who had contacted the author of the Steele dossier. There were Strzok and Page.
And there were many others.
The FISA warrants, the NSA eavesdropping, the Clinton and Trump investigations and all the other abuses of Obama Inc. required numerous allies within the Department of Justice. Some of these allies might have spoken seriously or facetiously about operating within a secret society. But all of them did.
The secret society they were part of was the one created by Obama in his eight years in office.
The society had no name, but it had an agenda. It operated within the government. And it existed to advance leftist causes, protect political allies and destroy political enemies. Some call it the Deep State or the Shadow Government. But it is most clearly and blatantly, the left. It lurks within the government. It is the swamp. And if we don’t drain it, we’ll drown in it the way the Russians and the Chinese did.