Debunked: "There Exists a Shadowy Government" — Daniel Inouye

Mick West

Staff member
The false quote is attributed to Senator Daniel Inouye

"There exists a shadowy government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself."

This is often accompanied by a video clip of Inouye saying the words of this quote, but skipping the words "there exists", because he never said them. The bulk of the quote is accurate in the sense that they were words he said, but it's false because the addition of "there exists" totally changes the meaning of the sentence.

To understand what Inouye was referring to, you have to look at the full context. Inouye is presenting the closing remarks on day 40 of the Iran-Contra hearings, Aug 3 1987 (over 30 years ago). He's remarking upon two different vision of government that were apparent during the hearings. The first vision, the failed one that led to the conviction of Oliver North, is a secretive and unaccountable one. The second vision, the one that (he says) we have and must strive to defend, is the nation of laws and accountability.

I'd recommend you read the full speech at the link, but here's the relevant context, and you can focus in on the two highlighted paragraphs where Inouye describes the two visions.
The full four hours of the day 40 proceedings can be viewed on C-Span, with Inouye's closing statement starting at 3h44m28s
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