Eli Lake: Exploring the Darkest Corners of the Deep State

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The journalist and podcast host on foreign policy, democracy, and habitual law breaking by the NSA, CIA, and FBI

Nick Gillespie |

Journalist Eli Lake | Lex Villena, Reason

(Lex Villena, Reason)

My guest today is Eli Lake, a repeat guest who for almost 30 years has been one of the country’s leading national security journalists, working as a columnist for and contributor to publications such as Bloomberg Opinion, The Daily Beast, The New Republic, The New York Sun, and Commentary. His 2010 article for Reason, “The 9/14 Presidency,” strongly argued for time-limiting all authorizations of the use of military force, especially those involving amorphous struggles such as the global war on terror.

In recent episodes of his podcast, The Re-Education, Lake has conducted deep dives into the dark histories of the National Security Agency, the CIA, and the FBI and how they routinely disregard constitutional limits on their activities. At a recent event in New York City, I talked with him about the fundamental tension between America playing an outsized role in world affairs and having secretive agencies that often keep Congress and voters in the dark about their operations. Can democracy and self-governance survive in such an environment?

Previous appearances:

Eli Lake: Trump, Russiagate, and the End of FBI Credibility

Should Anyone Be Offended by Ye? Live with Eli Lake

How the United States Can—And Cannot—Help Iranian Protesters

The Deep State’s ‘Political Assassination’ of Michael Flynn Was an Epic Abuse of Power

Bradley Manning Trial Discussion: The Verdict Approaches

The Reason.tv Talk Show, Episode 3

Today’s sponsor:

  • Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. A six-part Reason podcast series about the frustrating and foolish aspects of American trade policy that make everyday items more expensive. From last year’s sudden shortages of baby formula to the Jones Act and President Lyndon Johnson’s infamous “chicken war,” host Eric Boehm sits down with industry experts and libertarian policy wonks to explore how these counterproductive rules got made—and explains why they can be so difficult to undo.

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