Incredibly, the White House is not denying it.
Donald Trump’s ongoing obsession with paranoid conspiracy theories is accelerating. He is reportedly thinking about developing a global private spy network to combat the imaginary “deep state” that he believes is undermining his presidency.
The Intercept reports that mercenary Erik Prince — brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — along with Fox News’ Oliver North (of Iran-Contra infamy) and others are already at work on the proposal.
According to current former intelligence officials, the plan is to have Trump’s private spies “off the books,” while reporting to CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
When asked about in the daily White House briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would not deny the story. She would only say that she was “not aware” of plans for a private spy network.
Pompeo has already shown that he is willing to indulge Trump’s absurd fantasies. He met with a former intelligence official who is knee deep in a conspiracy theory that alleges the Democratic Party’s servers were not actually hacked in 2016. The meeting was done reportedly at Trump’s behest, in his patent desperation to find some way to distract from the increasingly toxic Russia investigations.
The private spies would be an escalation of that indulgence, while keeping in line with the paranoia and delusion that Trump has brought to the office.
Since being sworn in, Trump has been convinced that a so-called “deep state” is out to get him. Instead of acting in an ethical and stable manner worthy of his office, Trump has instead sought to blame this imaginary force.
It is a wild and wide-ranging conspiracy theory, reaching back to informal Trump adviser and ally Alex Jones, one of the most well known conspiracy theorists in the world.
Trump and some of his advisers believe that mysterious global forces have embedded themselves in the intelligence community. This group supposedly seeks to undermine Trump’s presidency because he represents the antithesis of what they support.
It is also nonsense.
But Trump believes and has espoused a lot of nonsense, much of it sourced to his fellow travelers at the right-wing propaganda organ, Fox News. The network often hosted Trump to promote birther conspiracies during the Obama presidency, and is now the source of many of his most fanciful nonsense beliefs.
As he previously did with Pompeo, it isn’t a stretch to think that Trump could employ his private spies to waste time and energy “investigating” Fox News conspiracies.
Perhaps he will have them look into whether the Las Vegas shooter was not one lone gunman but a team of them, as his supporter and Fox News host Jeanine Pirro claimed, totally erroneously.
Maybe Trump will task his cloak and dagger team with probing the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich, an event that Fox News has milked as evidence of a wide-ranging murderous conspiracy ordered by Democratic leaders.
To deflect from Russia, Trump has already promoted the completely inaccurate and bizarre allegation that a financial deal between Russia and a company called Uranium One was facilitated by Hillary Clinton. It wouldn’t be a stretch to get The Trump Spies on the case.
And of course, as Fox News Fan #1, Trump has seen hours and hours of Fox falsely accusing Obama and Clinton of a cover-up and malicious behavior connected to the Benghazi attack. Maybe his hired guns will waste resources getting to the bottom of the whole affair.
Trump’s paranoia endangers America. That he engages in this kind of unhinged thinking and is pursuing an avenue to indulge it is an indictment of his state of mind and those who choose to keep him in power.
He continues to up the ante on ridiculous behavior, and proves that concerns about what he would do in power were wrong in that they have underestimated the havoc he brought with him.