Can the FBI Be Salvaged?

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

The Washington, D.C.-based Federal Bureau of Investigation has lost all credibility as a disinterested investigatory agency. Now we learn from a whistleblower that the agency was allegedly investigating moms and dads worried about the teaching of critical race theory in their kids’ schools.

In truth, since 2015, the FBI has been constantly in the news—and mostly in a negative and constitutionally disturbing light.

The fired former Director James Comey injected himself into the 2016 political race by constantly editorializing on his ongoing investigation of candidate Hillary Clinton’s email leaks. In a bizarre twist, the public learned later that Comey had allowed Hillary Clinton’s own private computer contractor, CrowdStrike, to run the investigation of the hack. The private firm was allowed to keep possession of pertinent hard drives central to the investigation. How odd that CrowdStrike’s point man was Shawn Henry, a former high-ranking FBI employee.

During the Robert Mueller special investigation, the FBI implausibly claimed it had no idea how requested information on FBI cell phones had mysteriously disappeared.

It was also under Comey’s directorship that the FBI submitted inaccurate requests for warrants to a FISA court. Elements of one affidavit to surveil Trump supporter Carter Page were forged by FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who later pleaded guilty to a felony.

The FBI hired the disreputable ex-British spy Christopher Steele as a contractor, while he was peddling his fantasy—the Clinton-bought dossier—to Obama government officials and the media.

Former FBI general counsel James Baker was reportedly the subject of a federal investigation. He allegedly conducted prominent meetings both with media outlets that later leaked lurid tales from the Steele dossier. He also met repeatedly with the now-indicted Perkins Coie attorney Michael Sussman.

Comey himself, through third-party intermediaries, leaked to the media his own confidential memos detailing private meetings with President Trump. His assurances both to Congress and to Trump that the president was not the current subject of FBI investigations were either misleading or outright lies.

In sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, Comey on some 245 occasions claimed he could not remember or had no knowledge of key elements of his own “Russian collusion” investigation.

Comey’s replacement, acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, was fired for leaking sensitive information to the media. He then lied on at least three occasions about his role to federal attorneys and his own FBI investigators.

McCabe is now a paid CNN consultant who often has offered misleading information on the Russian collusion hoax that he helped promulgate.

Former FBI director and special counsel Robert Mueller conducted a 22-month, $40 million wild goose chase after some mythical “Russian Collusion” plot. When called before Congress, Mueller claimed he had little or no knowledge about Fusion GPS or the Steele Dossier, the twin sources that birthed the entire collusion hoax.

FBI lawyer Lisa Page was removed from Mueller’s investigation, along with her paramour FBI investigator Peter Strzok. Both misused FBI communications, revealing their pro-Clinton biases during their investigations of “Russian collusion,” while hiding their own unprofessional relationship.

Mueller himself staggered their firings and delayed explanations about why they were let go from his investigation team.

When the FBI arrested pro-Trump activist Roger Stone, it did so with a SWAT team—to the tipped-off and lurking CNN reporters.

The FBI repeated such politicized performance art recently when they stormed the home of Project Veritas director James O’Keefe. The agency confiscated his electronic devices on the grounds that he had knowledge of the contents of the allegedly lurid missing diary of Joe Biden’s daughter. The FBI—an apparent retrieval service of misplaced Biden family embarrassments—also did not disclose that it had possession of Hunter Biden’s laptop at a time when the media was erroneously declaring the computer inauthentic.

O’Keefe was accosted in the pre-morning hours by a crowd of FBI agents, wielding a battering ram, who pushed him out of his home in his underwear.

The time and location of the FBI raid, as in the Stone case, were leaked to the media that cheered the raid shortly after it was conducted. A federal judge recently stopped the FBI’s ongoing monitoring of O’Keefe’s communications.

Wall Street Journal columnist Holman Jenkins recently detailed other FBI lapses such as downplaying evidence that former Olympic gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was a known and chronic molester of teenage gymnasts. The agency also extended its witch hunt against the innocent researcher wrongly accused of involvement in the anthrax attacks of 2001.

One could add to such misadventures the mysterious leadership roles of at least 12 FBI informants in the harebrained kidnapping scheme of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. We can also cite the agency’s inability to follow up on clear information about the dangers posed by criminals as diverse as the Tsarnaev brothers, the Boston Marathon bombers, and the sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein.

For its own moral and practical survival, the FBI should be given one last chance at redemption by moving to the nation’s heartland—perhaps Kansas—far away from the political and media tentacles that have so deeply squeezed and corrupted it.

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15 thoughts on “Can the FBI Be Salvaged?”

  1. Maybe some deep patriots could provide the following info –
    The name(s) of everyone who had custody of Hillary team’s cell phones.
    The names of everyone involved in the Stone and O’Keefe raids.

    1. Luz Maria Rodriguez

      No, unfortunately the FBI has become too stained to be salvable. Wash and rinse repeatedly. Place in the recycle bin and shop for a new set.

      Note should have been made when Hillary ‘somehow’ came up with those 900 fbi files in Slick Willie’s first admin.

  2. Even though the FBI is obviously closer to a Soviet NKVD or Reich Abwehr agency, we should be grateful they don’t have tanks a la the KGB – which itself should give you some indication of what kind of internal threats the Soviets believed existed.

  3. Professor, After finishing this essay I went back and reread Heather Mac Donald’s 2002 piece in City Journal entitled “Why the FBI didn’t stop 9/11”. As to your conclusion, moving the FBI to Kansas might be a good start. Perhaps all of the cabinet fiefdoms should be relocated. We have the technology. Spreading the e13’s, 14’s and 15’s around might reintroduce them to some of their fellow citizens

  4. I attribute the onset of the demise of the FBI’s independence to the ABSCAM scandals… from that point on there has been a determined effort to defang the FBI by Congress and by the political factions that comprise so much of the DOJ – of course compelled by Presidential preferences and political urges.

    In my first office in the early 70’s I was enthralled and delighted to find out that the much vaunted independence of the FBI was a real thing! At that time, if an AUSA intruded, the agent would tell his supervisor, who would tell the SAC who would call HQ, who would call DOJ, who would call the USA who would tell the AUSA to back off. Worked every time.

    In the mid-90’s I returned to the field after years at the Academy in Quantico thinking it was the same. I was wrong – I was stunned to see how deeply involved the USA office was in FBI investigations – actually directing most of them, down to specifying leads to be covered and questions to be asked. I did not fit in well. Anyway – in the interim, ABSCAM happened and Congress decided as an institution that it could never risk such an embarrassment again. The dangers of an independent investigative agency had been driven home all too well… and in concert with the DOJ and most Presidents since, they have engaged in a long term program to make sure the FBI is an obedient lap dog. It ain’t gonna change, folks – not in our lifetimes… no matter how much lip service is given to the need for an independent agency.

    A digr

  5. Not only does the level of everyday corruption exhibited by the FBI militate toward disbanding the agency, but their failure to do competent work on those cases they are actually trying to solve tells us they should go. Moving them to some spot far from DC sounds nice, but you are moving the same semi-competent corrupt bunch. We would be giving a “second chance” to the same people who have already ruined the agency’s reputation. Why would the results be any different?

  6. I don’t think moving it will help public perception. What good is the agency if a large segment of the population sees it as more of a criminal organization than that of law enforcement? I think the only way it could survive (even if moved) would be to fire all managers and any agents who participated in any of the illegal activities. To say they were ordered to do so is insufficient grounds for retaining any of the staff. A full audit by an outside group needs to be done to identify any other abuses they have committed. It would be naive to think we have exposed all their misdeeds. They had a duty to the American people to speak out & they failed to do so. I think we also need to kill the Patriot Act & the FISA court. It is too much power in two few hands.

  7. History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme (Mark Twain). We are returning to Roman and Soviet times when, as in Roman times, the Praetorian Guard picked the Emperor and, as with the Soviets, the KGB either picked them or at least narrowed the field.
    BTW, read Matt Taibbi’s Substack https://taibbi.substack.com/p/yes-virginia-there-is-a-deep-state
    “A major untold story of the Trump era has been the political comeback of the CIA, NSA, and FBI, who thanks to an ingenious marketing campaign now enjoy widespread support among young liberals”

  8. I think it would be tedious to work for the FBI on domestic cases. Geopolitics is much more interesting. But if you had to work for the FBI, I guess it would be interesting to be involved in offensive counterintelligence. Possibly to work for the FBI in NYC. At least people speak numerous different languages there, and come from all over the world. But anyway. ABSCAM. Trapping businessmen and politicians on corruption charges really does sound dull. The idea of using multiple channels to influence elections is somewhat interesting, being in advertising. I guess leaks are sort of like press releases. Hmm. Yeah. I’m not sure if what the FBI does is corrupt; or what they’ve been accused of doing. I mean, any means necessary to protect national security, right? Maybe it could be more interesting if you were supposed to get close to say, a Lebanese diplomat and his circle of friends and engage in HUMINT while socializing. That sounds believable. Making up dossiers on Trump, gag me.

  9. Excellent. I think the entire US federal government should be moved to the geo-center of the United States away from east coast influence. Washington D.C. could become a museum documenting our great democracy lest we forget. Move the FBI to Fargo.

  10. Annemarie Drazenovich

    Most federal agencies need to move out of DC, or only leave their ‘headquarters’ there, but with technology and ever-increasing telework, there are fewer reasons than ever for these agencies to occupy such expensive real estate in DC.
    I think the FBI missed (or ignored) the 9/11 warnings they received because they were completely consumed trying to identify double agent Robert Hanssen.

  11. fbi is beyond salvageable. it should be disbanded. why would the govt need an ‘independent’ investigatory body? we have the fbi, dea, atf, cia, secret service, and irs. all can turn a citizens life upside down. dont we have sufficient law enforcement at the state and local level?

  12. Dr. Hanson,

    Thank you for writing this. What do you think these stories about the FBI say to young students and professionals who specifically went to school for many years to take on this type of job, role and responsibilities?

    An entire generation of young people like myself (millennials) have had the opportunity to see on a national platform the corruption in our government and the FBI. Attacking the President of the United States. The FBI politicizing information, acting in a manner that is treasonous. An agency that acts as though it cannot be touched. Clearly, no longer serves the American people, but its own interest.

    Why Kansas? What is in Kansas?

    There are people in our country that genuinely want to protect the United States. Many of us go to school for many years to do so. Is this really the best our country has to offer young Americans?

    What does the country say to the thousands of young Americans like myself, who went to school to protect this country, and now are left without a job? Because I refuse to be a traitor, I refuse to comply with the lefts Agenda, or views. Because I think differently. Because I believe in America, the American way of life and the Constitution. I will not bend for the convivence to be controlled. To add monetary value to my pocket for survival. Money means nothing when you lose all your freedom.

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