Your FBI: Too Many Agents Who Are Bored, Underworked, Frustrated, Yearning for the Excitement. 1 of 2

There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. My mother an astute observer of me used to remind me after one of my exploits that “the Devil makes work for idle hands.” That is absolutely the case when it comes to the FBI. It is the only thing that can account for some of its behavior. If I were an agent I would be ashamed and embarrassed if I participated in these actions but apparently many are not.

I was involved in well over a hundred investigations involving arrests of drug dealers, gangsters, and criminals who had a potential for violence. Most of these we figured out how to do so that little notice would be taken of them. Against those thought most dangerous we rarely used more than six officers or troopers. The idea was to do the job safely, quickly and efficiently. If we had to seize a lot of items we would do it quietly and bring them away from the scene and back to the base to examine. We treated those we arrested with dignity; often taking them into custody away from the location where they resided without much ado.

When we did searches we did them with as much concern as we would want someone doing a search in our own homes being respectful to those found inside who weren’t involved and doing little to no damage. More than once the guys who were on the raids were thanked by the targets and their family for being courteous.

I suppose that is what you do in a civilized society. You accept your role. Mine and the law enforcement people I worked with knew our job was to investigate, apprehend and prosecute. The punishment was left up to the courts.  We weren’t in the show boating business; we did our jobs quietly without fanfare and went on to other things of which there were many.

Unfortunately the FBI seems drawn to the idea of showboating, harassing, destroying and humiliating Americans who present no threat of violence. Its puerile actions in arresting people suggest that many among its numbers are frustrated bullies stuck to their desks at most times doing paper work, bored, with little to do, and biting at the bit to get their 15 minutes of looking like the Eliot Ness tough guys who they watched at the movies hopeful they will be called to carry a military type weapon and wear a jacket with the big yellow letters FBI on the back into a situation where there is absolutely no danger.

Unfortunately whoever is running these shows is mostly concerned with publicity rather than doing the job right. The last I knew that was James Comey. It is hard to understand why a person with his background finds nothing wrong with being brutal to his fellow Americans.

It does not have to be that way. There are some in the FBI who apparently know how to do it right. They are found in places far away from FBI headquarters. They apparently have enough to keep them busy and do their jobs expeditiously and quietly like they should be done.

Take this case out in California where the agents  found out the location of a wanted guy who they could easily assume had a huge stash of weapons in his apartment. He was known as being violent and had been charged with being involved in murders. If they wanted to put on a show they could have rounded up their SWAT teams, plowed into the neighborhood, blocked off streets, surrounded the building, set up a loud speaker system telling him to come out, engage in a street battle like in the old-time movies with spotlights and tear gas filling the air, and eventually subdued him after destroying half of the other apartments in the three-story brick building.

Or, they could have said let’s come up with a ruse and tried to grab the guy without incident. That’s what two or three of the West Coast agents did. Low key, clever, and quickly. They set a trap, lured the target in, and made the arrest. That was how they got Whitey Bulger.  They conducted their search of his apartment and went on their way. They were too busy to play games. A job well done. Unfortunately, that’s the exception not the rule.

(continued tomorrow)

23 thoughts on “Your FBI: Too Many Agents Who Are Bored, Underworked, Frustrated, Yearning for the Excitement. 1 of 2

  1. Is the FBI a victim of its own past success? What is there for them to do? The old ethnic mafias are all but gone. The “white supremacists” I would imagine are heavily infiltrated along with “militias”. The competition with the DEA over the drug racket investigations must further dilute the work load of the FBI- not to mention Homeland security, NSA, Military Intelligrnce, treasury, secret service, CIA etc . . . Let’s face it- the FBI is not what it used to be under Hoover (as flawed as he may have been he was a consummate bureaucratic politician). The FBI doesn’t even have intelligent criminals to chase anymore. Professional criminal heist gangs are a thing of the past. All the FBI has left are chasing down idiot junkie bank robbers who make off with 5 grand from a teller window and profiling Muslim college kids and falafel stand owners. If they get stuck investigating a politician it’s usually a no win situation for them. Maybe they have some fun tailing Russian diplomats but that is not the same as it was during the Cold War. I think the FBI is bored.

  2. Elmer:

    “Raising the level of terror” is originally a Stalinist technique of social control that the US first encountered in Korea while interviewing North Korean and Chinese POWs (1950-52) .

    1. Khalid, I think it would be more accurate to say that the US ignored it as it was being practice by sralin, rather than first encountered it in Korea

  3. Yes, the FBI’s “show” of force is intended to intimidate a nation, that’s why we condemn it. And, yes the “show” of force may be mere “practice” and we condemn the FBI “practicing” its tactics on American citizens. Save the practice for the Farm.
    2. Matt’s point with the Oklahoma City bombing trial, as I understood it, was that the Court put on a “show” wasting two weeks on every detail of the bombing itself; the fact of the bombing, the terrible destruction and hundreds of casualties could have been “stipulated” and evidenced in a morning session or a day with a few photographs or videos. Every detail did not have to be exploited and dragged out for two weeks, before turning towards the issue: whether McVeigh was guilty or not.

  4. To police a nation of three hundred million, plus, raising the “level of terror” in the populous is a must. When the FBI crashes a house in full gear, they’re sending a powerful psychological message to the general public. Agents cannot be every where, at once, but, fear of them can take their place, fear of having the whole weight of the government fall on a person. In the same way that public torture, and, execution, kept medieval populations in line, for contemporary Americans, witnessing a SWAT style arrest in person, or, on film, sends a similar chilling message. As Michel Foucault points out, because the King could only catch a small portion of the criminals at large in the kingdom, the punishment of the captured had to be turned into a “spectacle of pain” that would leave a lasting impression on the public (M. Foucault D&P). Paramilitary “crashing” of residences isn’t an indication of boredom, it’s deliberate policy, also, it lets FBI personnel practice for the real thing.

  5. The greatest example of this occurred in 1993. Janet Reno in thrall of the Clinton machine decided to besiege and assault the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, killing some 76 in one swoop. About a third of them were children, including infants. Koresh could easily have been served the warrant and arrested while going into town which he frequently did. But the show must go on! For more of the same grandstanding, vote Hillary in November.

  6. Hi Matt and thanks for an interesting article.

    Do you know if Howie Winter was Bulger and Flemmi’s boss before he was sent to prison for fixing horse races?

    1. He sure as hell wasn’t after their names were taken out of the indictment……then they opened up on Lancaster and it was blue skies ahead for twenty plus years….

    1. Henry:

      Apparently Hillary is a real nasty person in private as is her daughter Chelsea as is shown by some of the Wikileak emails. Poor Vincent Foster was done in by her tongue. As for Comey, as I said he sold his soul along with the FBI to the Clintons.

      1. We are told by apologists for the Klinton Krime Family that we are not to trust “stolen” emails.

        No wait, Wikileaks is a Russian agent.

        No wait, Assange is a pedophile.

        No wait, it is outrageous that Trump does not denounce Putler for interfering in US elections.

        No wait, Trump made the emails up.

        No wait, the Russians fabricated all the emails.

        No wait, Trump is a Russian agent and Putler’s love boy.

        Billary Killer is a “lost” person. Baptists and others know exactly what that means.

  7. I am reminded of Edward Brooke’s work as AG..his office had invested great energy and countless hours prosecuting the Boston Common Underground scheme……at some point, back at the office, word leaked that the jury had reached a guilty verdict and the staff erupted in celebration…Brooke was mortified and told his staff no such celebration was acceptable and no further outbreak would be tolerated there or in court..he pointed out that these verdicts were personal tragedies for the defendants and all the people at the AG’s office had done was to do their jobs.
    I was honored to work at Norfolk with equally effective and honorable people!

    1. Bill:

      Ed Brooke was a classy guy. Your story reminds me of how U.S. Grant ordered his troops to be quiet as they began to cheer when Lee offered him his sword in surrender at Appomattox. He told them: “The war is over; the rebels are our countrymen again.” Unfortunately the FBI in their raids would have no conception of what Brooke was talking about. What is worse, the people they are terrorizing with their tactics have not even had their day in court and are presumed innocent.

  8. Matt,

    The agent , Scott Garrigiola (any relation to Joe?) that actually put the arm on Whitey (who was wearing all white with a white hat) in the basement, seemed like he had a good sense of humor about the whole thing….and I’m sure had a nice chat with Mr. B, after Whitey’s initial tough-guy act was over, and Whitey probably switched into alternate coy bragging/attempted manipulation mode.

    1. Rather:

      Garrigiola is a professional. There are lots of guys like him in the FBI who do things the right way. Then there are the cowboys who don’t. If Whitey was holed up in St. Monica’s parish in Southie rather than Santa Monica you can bet that several hundred agents all dressed to the nines in armor would have shown up at his doorsteps.

      1. Matt,
        Good point.
        A little ironic that he grew up next to Saint Monica’s and was captured in Santa Monica…..a little poetic justice? life coming full-circle?……weird coincidence, either way.

        The next news story we hear on him will probably be his obituary……….wait, ….I’m sure Murphy, Cullen, Carr, Gelzinis, etc. will scrape up something shamelessly irrelevant before that.

        In like a LION……..out like a lamb.

        1. Rather:

          It is coming close to his obit time but maybe they can sneak in another story or two about him doing time. He apparently has not been able to walk for a year or so moving around in prison in a wheel chair. He does have a request for an appeal before the US Supreme Court but that is all nonsense. He should have stuck to his job as a custodian and he’d be living a life of Riley heading over to Carson beach and living off his pension.

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