Best Defense

Quote of the day: Was the deep state born in the spy novels of the early 20th century?

I suspect so.



I suspect so. I just noticed this in John Buchan’s World War I-era novel, The Thirty-Nine Steps:

Away behind all the governments and the armies there was a big subterranean movement going on, engineered by very dangerous people. He had come on it by accident; it fascinated him; he went further, and then he got caught. … He told me some queer things that explained a lot that had puzzled me.

For what it’s worth, the Hitchcock movie is unfaithful to the book and I think much better for it.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola