Former Attorney General William Barr said during an interview this week that he believes the so-called “deep state” exists and that it is defined by people who use their roles as civil servants to pursue partisan political agendas.
Barr made the remarks during an interview on PBS’ “Firing Line” with host Margaret Hoover when he was asked to comment on his first stint as attorney general back in the 1990s under then-President George H.W. Bush, who previously ran the CIA.
“He was CIA director for one year and that institution is now named after him. When you drive by it in Langley, it’s the George H.W. Bush Center,” he said. “And he was highly regarded because he basically trusted people in the agency. He didn’t separate himself from them and, you know, bash them and so forth. Now, I have to say that it was a different age. Things have, you know, evolved.”
“So, you know, I wouldn’t take what he said to say, ‘Well, gee, you know, the people who were saying there’s a Deep State today are, you know, are wrong,’ right?” Barr continued. “There is a deep state.”
“I am critical of the Deep State and believe it exists,” he continued. “The way I would define the deep state is an increased willingness by more and more government civil servants to pursue political objectives, rather than stand up for the values of the institution they’re a part of. They are not neutral. They’re not politically neutral. But on the other side of the ledger, okay, is that I think there’s an exaggeration of its pervasiveness. It’s bad. It does pervert government. But I still think the vast majority of civil servants try to do an honest job and try to check their politics at the door.”