The FBI in Turmoil
With the myriad investigations going on in Washington, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, America’s most famous law enforcement agency, is in turmoil. Charges are flying that the agency used a questionable “Russian dossier”, conducted by a former British intelligent agent, to obtain a FISA warrant against at least one member of the Trump campaign team. A FISA warrant is commonly used in national security/spying cases where the investigating agency would prefer not to obtain a warrant for electronic surveillance through the regular federal courts (in order to protect sensitive information).
Supporters of President Trump are charging that the FBI abused the FISA court to spy on Americans for political purposes (namely, to support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton). To date, no evidence has turned up to incriminate Trump in colluding with the Russians.
At the same time, the former director of the FBI, James Comey, is still under fire for the bureau’s decision not to recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton over her email scandal. It has been revealed that Comey was drafting his exoneration report on Clinton long before the investigation was complete and before she was interviewed. The interview itself has raised eyebrows seemingly forgetting normal procedures when interviewing the target of an investigation.
Moreover, released emails between two officials involved in the investigation, Peter Strzok and his colleague (and paramour) Lisa Page, indicate that the top brass at FBI knew Clinton was not going to be indicted. The messages also suggested not only a strong dislike for candidate Trump but a determination to do what they could to keep him out of the White House. Strzok played a role in the drafting and changing of language in Comey’s exoneration statement. One of the key changes in the re-drafting was taking out the statement that Mrs. Clinton was “grossly negligent”. It was changed to “extremely careless.” It just so happens that “grossly negligent” is the language used in the relevant statute that pertained to Mrs Clinton’s misuse of sensitive and classified email communications. Strzok also was the one who interviewed former Trump national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in the White House. Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Just this week, the asst. director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, who was also known to be involved with the investigations, stepped down and took unused vacation and sick leave prior to becoming eligible for retirement in March.
As I write, the Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee are about to release a 4-page document, which was drafted by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), which severely damns the actions of the intelligence services (presumably including the FBI) in investigating Trump. How much this will impact the investigation and credibility of Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence operatives in trying to impact the 2018 election remains to be seen. Remember that Mueller was head of the FBI when the agency was actively investigating Russian attempts to purchase American uranium. We now know that the same people who were behind the (approved sale) of 20% of American uranium to Russian interests gave over $100,000 million to the Clinton Foundation. Secretary of State Clinton was one of 9 agency heads who signed off on the sale. In addition, Bill Clinton received some $500,000 to give a speech in Moscow on behalf of the same people. Peter Schweizer’s book, “Clinton Cash”, lays it all out.
Now, Muller, who is a close friend and former FBI colleague of Comey, is in charge of the investigation into Trump. Some charge that he has a conflict of interest since Comey is a prime witness in the case.
In short, it’s a mess. When all the facts come to light, it’s a safe bet that the reputation of the FBI is going to take a huge hit. The same can be said for the Department of Justice, which oversees the FBI, a couple of former attorneys general, and quite possibly, the current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Full disclosure: I am a retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent (DEA). In fact, for 5 1/2 years, I worked as an instructor at DEA’s Office of Training when it was co-located within the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. We DEA agents had our share of issues with the FBI when they were given co-jurisdiction to work drug cases. But that is water under the bridge. The point I want to make here is that I fully support the FBI’s work in counter terrorism, and I think they are doing a good job though political correctness under the Obama administration negatively impacted the type of training materials they could utilize when it came to Islamic terrorism. Here is the point: Whatever comes out about the FBI’s actions in these current scandals regarding President Trump and Hillary Clinton, it does not affect the way I feel about the rank and file agents. It is the political corruption at the very top that needs to be fully investigated, and if appropriate, cleansed. I am sure that the agents out there in the field, no matter their personal feelings about Trump or Mrs. Clinton, are just as concerned as I.