Besides the public showings of protests, Morsi says he sees a more serious threat known as the "deep state" from within government, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The courts, police, army and intelligence agencies were shaped by the secular rule of deposed President Hosni Mubarak and many police and intelligence officials remain loyal to the old guard, fearing Morsi is shifting the country toward religious fundamentalism, the Times said.
Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, which controls the government, have accused those with ties to Mubarak of disrupting Egypt's transition. Conspiracy talk is so deep that the Muslim Brotherhood's website blamed "deep state corruption" for food poisoning that led to the hospitalization of nearly 500 students at the country's premier Islamic university.
The Times said recent actions indicate state institutions are moving to restrict Morsi, who pushed through an Islamist-backed constitution and has ignored legal decisions challenging his authority. Court rulings have delayed parliamentary elections and called for Morsi to reinstate the general prosecutor he fired in November. In addition, police and internal intelligence officers have staged work slowdowns and questioned Morsi's legitimacy.
Political opponents told the Times Morsi has inflated the strength of the previous power structure and wants to replace it with one loyal to him.
Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have been "revealed as people who have no experience in ruling and are greedy for domination and power," Hassan Nafaa, a political science professor at Cairo University, told the Times. "There's a sentiment that the revolution was stolen and that there is an attempt at what many are calling the 'Brotherhoodization' of the state."