FBI: Changes needed at the top

FBI: Changes needed at the top

By Steve Hunley


With the release of the by now infamous FISA memo, it has been a lot of fun to watch the opponents of President Trump, almost all Democrats, babbling about protecting the integrity and credibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Leftists, Democrats and most mainstream media types have been attempting to distract from and discredit the memo well before its release, doubtless hoping to lessen its impact. The worry by some about wounding the integrity and credibility of the FBI ignores a long history by the agency of actions, many of which are, at best questionable; still others clearly unethical, if not downright illegal.

For decades Congress has had to pass new laws to end abuses by the FBI. Even the USA Today network ran an excellent opinion piece by James Bovard, who called out those who would have us think the FBI is as pure as the driven snow. Bovard points out FISA “has long been a disaster for Americans’ constitutional rights” and notes the standard for seeking a warrant has a frighteningly lower standard. Basically, all the FBI has to do is approach a judge and declare a person is thought to be a terrorist or foreign agent to get a FISA warrant. Of course, that standard was written with the notion foreign agents do not enjoy the same rights as American citizens. As James Bovard says in his opinion piece, unfortunately those rights all too often only exist on paper. Worse still, once granted by a court, the FBI can “conduct simultaneous telephone, microphone, cell phone, e-mail and computer surveillance” of the targeted person.

Edgar Hoover, long-time director of the FBI, has a deservedly tarnished reputation. It is a fact Hoover helped to push the political agenda of some presidents, while clandestinely hampering that of others. Hoover also kept “secret files” on many members of Congress, making them more pliable and truthfully, more exposed to political and personal blackmail. Following Hoover’s death, Congress acknowledged the abuses of J. Edgar Hoover’s reign by limiting the term of a Director (Hoover was head of the FBI for 48 years), a law which also was designed to make certain FBI directors were not the creatures of any particular president.

Every president since Franklin Roosevelt has engaged in illegal wiretapping in some form or another. The American Civil Liberties Union, hardly a hotbed of conservatism, has detailed abuses of power by the FBI. The sweeping new powers granted the FBI by the Congress, as well as the president and the attorney general following 911, according to the ACLU, allowed the FBI to be used in violation of the First and Fourth Amendments. The ACLU report also contended, the FBI gave itself even broader powers by merely revising its own internal guidelines. That gave FBI agents more power in investigating and collecting information on Americans when there was no factual basis to suggest wrongdoing of any kind. The ACLU documented a long list of abuses of power by the FBI and made mention of the agency’s secrecy of its abuses, as well as internal suppression of whistleblowers. The ACLU also was critical of the FBI for giving oftentimes misleading testimony during Congressional hearings, which prevented proper independent oversight of the agency. “The list of abuses is long and demonstrates that Congress must do a top-to-bottom review of FBI policies and practices to identify any activities that are unconstitutional or easily used,” Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, said.

It is absurd for the opponents of President Trump to cry foul that the FISA memo might in some way reflect negatively on the Robert Mueller investigation. More than a year after the charge Donald Trump colluded with still unnamed and unknown Russians, there is not a shred of evidence to support the charge. By the same token, there is quite a bit of evidence to suggest Hillary Clinton colluded with Russians. The dossier authored by the now utterly discredited Christopher Steele – – – paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee – – – was almost certainly influenced by Russians. The Mueller investigation was tainted by the inclusion of Peter Strzok and his lover Lisa Page as part of that investigative team, a fact conveniently overlooked by Trump critics.

Irrespective of whether one supported Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the last election, does any rational person believe the FBI was exercising good judgment in exonerating her before she had even been questioned? The Strzok – Page texts and emails provide a trial proving beyond a certainty of a doubt extreme bias against Trump, if not outright hatred. That same irrational hatred of Donald Trump is the fundamental core of the cries and wringing of hands about any abuse of power by the FBI. It has been proven deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s wife received political assistance from Clinton allies to the tune of $700,000, yet we are supposed to believe he is completely impartial and unbiased? The FISA memo points out Andrew McCabe stated in a closed-door meeting without the Christopher Steele dossier, the FBI could not have secured surveillance warrants. It is becoming increasingly clear the Steele dossier was the means to an end and the source for the original FISA warrant. The bottom line is – – – and cannot be legitimately disputed – – – a ratty document paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC was used to obtained to spy on the Trump campaign. Nor can it be legitimately disputed the FBI omitted vital information in seeking the warrant from the FISA court.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. The vast majority of the folks who work for the FBI are good, hard-working and unbiased people. However, if the FBI’s reputation has been harmed, it is not the fault of Donald Trump or the Republican Congress. The blame should fall squarely where it belongs: at the feet of the people at the top who run the FBI. While leftists, Democrats and the mainstream media now attempt to discredit the FISA memo, they only discredit themselves. One of those howling the loudest now is the Washington Post, which broke the law when it published the Pentagon Papers.

No person should ever be spied upon or investigated without good cause, nor should any American be subjected to a biased law enforcement agency run by people who put politics above the law.

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