The National-Security Branch Rules the Roost

by | Apr 17, 2024

If there is anything that confirms that the national-security branch of the federal government rules the roost within the federal governmental structure, it is the Pentagon/CIA torture and indefinite-detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. That facility stands as an ongoing testament to the overarching power of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA within America’s governmental structure and the deference to their authority displayed by the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government.

Imagine that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) does to drug-war suspects what the Pentagon and the CIA have done in Cuba with terrorism suspects. The DEA establishes a prison camp in Mexico in which it keeps drug-war defendants in custody for as long as the DEA wants. No trial and no due process. The DEA announces that if it ever does allow trials to be held, they will be by DEA tribunals rather than by juries composed of citizens chosen at random. The DEA’s drug-war prisoners are often subjected to brutal torture in order to secure confessions and to acquire information that could lead to the arrest of more drug-war defendants.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Supreme Court (and the lower federal courts) would declare the DEA’s conduct in violation of the U.S. Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights. The Courts would immediately order the DEA to cease and desist its unlawful and unconstitutional actions. The courts would order the DEA to immediately shut down its torture and indefinite-detention camp and bring all drug-war defendants back to the United States for prosecution in America’s criminal-justice system established under the Constitution.

Not so, however, with the national-security establishment’s torture and indefinite-detention camp in Cuba. The Supreme Court (and the lower federal courts) do not dare interfere with them. That’s because the national-security branch is the most powerful branch within the federal governmental system. It rules the federal roost.

It’s the same with the executive and legislative branches. They are powerless to bring the forever horror story of Gitmo to an end. That’s because those two branches, like the judicial branch, operate in deferential support of the most powerful branch — the branch that rules the roost within the federal governmental system — the national-security branch.

There has been only one president who has taken on the national-security branch of the federal government. That president was John F. Kennedy. He lost. Not surprisingly, no president since him has dared to do what he did. See FFF’s book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas P. Horne, who served on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s.

Longtime readers of my blog know that I have long recommended a book entitled National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon. Glennon’s thesis is that the national-security part of the government — that is, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA — is in charge of the federal government but permits the other three parts to maintain the veneer of being in charge, which enables Americans to feel like everything is normal. But it’s anything but normal. It’s an aberrant and abhorrent way of life that has killed and injured millions of people, wreaked massive destruction around the world, and destroyed our liberty and privacy here at home — all in the name of keeping us “safe” from the crises and official enemies that the national-security state engenders with its interventionist policies.

It bears mentioning that Glennon is not some quack. He is a professor of law at Tufts University and a former counsel to the Foreign Relations Committee. He is worth listening to. If every American would read Glennon’s book, I have no doubt that we would be well on our way toward leading the world to freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony through the dismantling of the national-security state and the restoration of America’s founding governmental system of a limited-government republic.

Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.


  • Jacob G. Hornberger

    Jacob George Hornberger is an American attorney, author, and politician who was a Libertarian candidate for president in 2000 and 2020. He is the founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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