When something so unprecedented in American history happens you have to ask what is behind it. When you look you see nothing. Really, there is nothing behind the attack on the FBI except the Big Lie. There are thousands of FBI agents and not one incident has arisen to support the attacks on it.
So what is the purpose? It is to bring tear down the reputation of these agents so that when the Special Prosecutor produces evidence of the president’s involvement with Russia it can be deflected by suggesting it is all part of an illegal coup. It’s an old criminal defense counsel ploy, when your client has no defense attack the investigators. We saw it in the Whitey Bulger case. Whitey with all the blood on his hands wasn’t the bad guy it was the Government.
What is so stunning about the recent attacks is there have been times in the past when the FBI could have been severely criticized not only in its partnering with top-level criminals but with its many illegalities shown in the Church investigation in 1975 and its findings that in hundreds of shooting by FBI agents not one was wrongful. No organization is perfect but despite its flaws the FBI is not a group of people who one should worry about. And, those comparing it with the KGB are just plainly ignorant rabble rousers.
The worry though is that these attacks will have an effect on the FBI. I have spoken how the agents are hardworking dedicated people but they are dependent on their jobs for their livelihood. They know they are doing their investigation and following the investigative leads as they come along. But now, in the back of their minds, do they worry that doing their jobs the right way may jeopardize them. Will they start getting the idea that there are some areas that they better stay away from if they want to continue their employment. Will they worry that Russia has to be given a pass since the people in power want to protect their relationship with that country? Will they shy away from investigating criminal activity by the president and his associates? Will they shy away from anything controversial?
When the president, the majority party in Congress, and some of the media start calling for your head what is the chance of doing your job right. As I earlier noted the guys and gals at the street level will plow on but it’s the guys who have risen to the higher positions who are most willing to please. Don’t you think they are going to change course – as the attackers intend – and worry about their jobs? Will their directions to the street agents be to lay off the Russians and the Trumps. Let’s stick with bank robberies.
These are dangerous times in America. The FBI was best when it appeared to be totally independent from political influence although J. Edgar Hoover was always ready to cater to the whims of presidents he liked. But Hoover had a red line and he was able to keep the FBI mostly independent. So has it gone on through the years since 1972 when Hoover died. Under Mueller’s 12 year directorship it had no problems in fact doing exquisite work after the 9/11 attack. Comey’s latter days were problematic. Ironically he was acting more in the interest of Trump by telling of the investigation into Hillary although now we are supposed to forget that.
We need the FBI. It would be better if it was not so afraid of embarrassing itself and recognizing it was a human institution. What is most ironic is that it has suffered the greatest attacks on its reputation even though it has done nothing wrong. It didn’t embarrass itself but stands embarrassed. Hopefully it learns that being embarrassed if being human.
The FBI has two choices at this point. It can try to continue on as it has always done or it can become the president’s investigators. Trump has said in the past he wished he had control over it. He is attempting to gain it. Whether he will or not depends on the leadership which has shown itself in the past to very protective of themselves. Will they put their jobs on the line by insisting on their independence or will they take orders from the president?
Director Christopher Wray handpicked by Trump is an unknown. His appearance before Congress did not inspire nor cause great concern. Time will tell on him. Will he like Tillerson clean house at the upper levels?
The John Connolly case shows a great betrayal by the FBI of a fellow agent. Remember Connolly’s sentence amounted to a death sentence and the FBI still does nothing to right its wrong there. The FBI having wrongfully abandoned Connolly causes concern that it will also abandon what it treasured so highly which is its independence. It hasn’t been anything like the KGB but just as America changed drastically with the president will the president change the FBI so that it does become like the KGB?