End the FBI
Special counsel John Durham on Monday released his report on the FBI’s role in investigating the 2016 Donald Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia. This investigation, codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane,” had been—according to Durham’s report—”swiftly” opened as a full-blown investigation in response to “unevaluated intelligence information” by FBI personnel “without ever having spoken to the persons who provided the information.”
Durham shows that the investigation had been pushed forward largely by FBI agent Peter Strzok, a man known to be politically hostile to candidate Trump. Durham also notes a curious difference between the FBI’s enthusiasm for investigating Trump, and the agency’s more cautious procedures used in investigating the Hillary Clinton campaign:
The speed and manner in which the FBI opened and investigated Crossfire Hurricane during the presidential election season based on raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence also reflected a noticeable departure from how it approached prior matters involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans aimed at the Clinton campaign.
Durham went on to conclude that
An objective and honest assessment of these strands of information should have caused the FBI to question not only the predication for Crossfire Hurricane, but also to reflect on whether the FBI was being manipulated for political or other purposes. Unfortunately, it did not.
Rather, the FBI engaged in a “lack of analytical rigor, apparent confirmation bias, and an over-willingness to rely on information from individuals connected to political opponents.”
All in all, the Durham report paints a picture of a highly unprofessional FBI that apparently greenlights investigations based on agents’ political agendas and on politically convenient rumors. Durham sums it up: The FBI and Justice Department “failed to uphold their mission of strict fidelity to the law.”
The report was so damning that even CNN’s Jake Tapper admitted it is “devastating to the FBI,” and that the report’s conclusions serve as additional reminders that FBI agents—including many in leadership—played key roles in promoting the “Russiagate” myth. This was the false narrative that the Trump administration had worked with the Russian regime to rig the 2016 election. The myth fueled years of Congressional investigations. The media used the FBI investigation as justification for years of speculative attacks on the Trump administration. The debunked Russiagate story even earned some reporters a Pulitzer prize.
The whole affair has helped illustrate how FBI agents—like central bankers, CDC bureaucrats and Pentagon generals—are highly political technocrats, and hardly dispassionate “public servants” slavishly devoted to professionalism and accuracy. Maintaining this façade, however, has long been an important aspect of FBI training and policy. Durham himself takes as a given that the FBI should act to “reduc[e] the risk of reputational damage” to the FBI. Not surprisingly, then, one aspect of Durhams condemnation of the FBI is the “severe reputational harm” done of the bureau as a result of its participation in promoting the myth of Trump-Russia collusion.
Let’s hope Durham is correct. Severe reputation damage for the FBI is just what is needed since the FBI generally enjoys a high degree of public approval that is wholly unjustified. It is well past time for a more realistic assessment of the FBI for what it is: an unnecessary, unconstitutional, and incompetent agency. Moreover, FBI agents have long displayed a contempt for basic human rights, and instead function as a partisan federal “secret police” designed to protect the powerful at the expense of ordinary Americans. This organization should be decentralized, defunded, stripped of its powers, and ultimately abolished. There is nothing the FBI does that military intelligence and state and local police cannot do on their own.
The FBI: A Long Record of Criminality and Failure
The long FBI tradition of disregarding the law to get the “bad
Article from Mises Wire