The Grayzone’s Anya Parampil speaks with retired US Green Beret Joe Kent about his bid to represent Washington state’s 3rd congressional district in the US House of Representatives
Since launching his campaign to represent Washington state’s third congressional district in the US House of Representatives in 2021, retired CIA paramilitary officer Joe Kent has faced accusations that he is everything from a far-right extremist to a closeted “Bernie Bro.” With the November 8 midterm election less than a week away, the ex-Green Beret is now shooting down allegations he works for a nonexistent tech company, a charge that has been used to paint him as the recipient of dark MAGA money or, for the more conspiratorial, a trojan horse for the CIA.
The accusations stem from an October 24 report in The Daily Beast that sought to portray Kent as working a “phantom job” for a company called American Enterprise Systems, which is named as his employer on financial disclosure forms.
“It’s kind of funny because this was like an outright QAnon thing,” Kent said in an interview with The Grayzone. “And now it’s in The Daily Beast.”
According to Kent, The Daily Beast initially reached out to him demanding information regarding American Enterprise Systems, including the name of its owner, their personal contact, and an address for the office. Kent said he did not reply to the email because he did not want to “help them dox” his employer (he later provided his boss’ name to local media in Oregon).
“It was a Daily Beast reporter who was, I think, probably just really too lazy or unwilling to do a basic Freedom of Information Act Request,” Kent charged, emphasizing his campaign has met all disclosure requirements with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), including the submission of his person W2 forms. “It wasn’t like the FEC came at us and said: ‘you weren’t honest, you weren’t upfront, you didn’t provide us the paperwork.'”
The Daily Beast claimed that it could not find any evidence that a company called American Enterprise Systems actually existed and employed Kent. The congressional hopeful responded by releasing documents revealing he is in fact employed by an entity called Advanced Enterprise Solutions, which he said previously called itself American Enterprise Systems.
“We all work remotely and my boss wants to stay out of politics,” Kent explained, describing Advanced Enterprise Solutions as a “tech company” that frequently contracts overseas. He previously told Oregon’s local NPR affiliate that it specializes in analyzing telecommunications infrastructure for governments and private corporations.
Kent launched his campaign to represent Washington state’s third congressional district in 2021 as a direct challenge to incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler, after she was among just a handful of republican lawmakers to vote in favor of impeaching then-President Donald Trump.
While his Republican challengers have smeared Kent as a secret supporter of liberal Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, other critics have attempted to brand him as a plant for the deep state. The Daily Beast’s recent attack bolstered such claims, even linking to a conspiracy website that was started by far-right agitator Nick Fuentes called “JoeKentisCIA.com.” Kent bushed aside such charges, asserting they “don’t make sense.”
“If I was out there saying like, ‘Hey, guys, no, seriously, this is the reason why we need to spend billions of dollars in Ukraine or keep the Patriot Act going,’ then, yeah, maybe,” Kent explained, noting he has made no secret of his past service in the CIA.
“I’m proud of the work I did there,” he added. “But I do understand how the place works. And so I’ve been, I think, pretty outspoken about calling them out on their crap.”
As election day approaches, Kent insists voters in his district are not interested in his discussing his employment.
“People on the ground — they want to know why gas is so expensive, why they can’t afford groceries, why we have crime overflowing on our streets, and why there’s fentanyl that looks like skittles getting pumped into our district days before Halloween,” he observed.
In a far-reaching conversation with The Grayzone, Kent discussed his political evolution and how he plans to take on the permanent war state if elected to congress.