(Photo by Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) continues its downward spiral into terminal corruption. Sadly, the scandals, criminality and ethical abuses of the organization are largely ignored by the American public and by the institutions of government charged with oversight and correction. Outrage after outrage is reported, hearings are held, Inspector General reports are issued -- but the systemic corruption is never really tackled and dirty cops skate away virtually unscathed.
This situation is constitutionally unacceptable, corrosive to public trust in law enforcement, and a threat to the survival of the republic.
In the past few days alone, we have learned that the October 2020 Michigan governor kidnap plot was largely a creation of the FBI; a "senior FBI official" was on the take from media organizations; and another assistant director was in a "romantic relationship with a subordinate" and involved in "other misconduct." The leadership failures documented by the Office of the Inspector General are now almost standard and part of a tiresome media drip-torture for the public to endure.
Meanwhile, the FBI had the audacity to issue a Stasi-like tweet urging "monitoring of 'family members and peers' for extremism."
Remember: what we learn about the FBI in the press are only the stories that are SO outrageous that the FBI cannot keep a lid on them and is forced to make disclosures via a toothless Inspector General report -- but never anything that results in a criminal indictment. Imagine what the ordinary day-to-day misconduct in FBI offices across the country could be. And these scandals don't just amount to "bad press" – in several of these, federal courts scourge the FBI for lawbreaking. Additionally, Inspector General report after report details FBI abuses such as whistleblowers being retaliated against and ignoring "high-risk" employees who fail polygraph tests.
There are still apologists for the FBI. Some seek to defend the organization with the rationalization that "it's always been that way." That sort of thinking is a cynical effort to inoculate and immunize real criminality as something normal and regular. "Get used to it kid, that's the way of the world," they offer with a shrug and a grin. Others, like Sean Hannity, cling to the "just a few bad apples" excuse. That sort of FBI cheerleading flies in the face of a litany of systemic abuses and pervasive abusers. The FBI ran a coup against President Trump. It failed. The following got away: Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Clinesmith, Pientka, Brower, Baker, et al. Any real consequences for attempting to overthrow the government of the United States? No.
In May 2018, veteran reporter Eric Lichtblau of Time magazine wrote an article titled, "The FBI Is in Crisis. It's Worse Than You Think," wherein he detailed:
"The bureau, which is used to making headlines for nabbing crooks, has been grabbing the spotlight for unwanted reasons: fired leaders, texts between lovers and, most of all, attacks by President Trump ... internal and external reports have found lapses throughout the agency, and longtime observers, looking past the partisan haze, see a troubling picture: something really is wrong at the FBI... other painful, more public failures as well: missed opportunities to prevent mass shootings that go beyond the much-publicized overlooked warnings in the Parkland, Fla., school killings; an anguishing delay in the sexual-molestation probe into Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar; and evidence of misconduct by agents in the aftermath of standoffs with armed militias in Nevada and Oregon. FBI agents are facing criminal charges ranging from obstruction to leaking classified material."
Four years later and the situation has not improved.
Let us go back to the Michigan governor "kidnap plot" for a moment. The entire operation was an anti-Trump political smear job -- and was called into question for being exactly that back when the story broke in October 2020. Now we find out that the FBI was running at least a dozen paid "confidential informants" in the plot. It was a plot they dreamed up. It was actually a rehash of an Obama-era 2010 FBI plot by the so-called "Hutarees" that fell apart in court.
The FBI worries about "entrapment" in these cases because the FBI must demonstrate that there is reasonable suspicion that the subject in a case is about to be or is engaging in criminal activity. The government then allows the criminal/terrorist the opportunity to commit the act. In these cases, the FBI has good reason to worry.
More disturbingly, this is nothing new. Look at the "Herald Square Bomber" case as another instance in which the FBI identifies, recruits, trains, dispatches and then arrests the very informant they recruited in the first place. The FBI appears to have fabricated plots and terrorists to advance their own agenda and statistics. It looks, walks, and talks like "entrapment." Are there really no other bad guys out there for the FBI to go after? They need to focus on this modus operandi?
Questions are now being raised as to whether the FBI had a role in the Capitol Hill protests of January 6, 2021. When one examines the FBI's involvement in the Trump-Russia collusion hoax; Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses; standing by idly while in possession of Hunter Biden's Ukraine and Burisma-laden laptops, while President Trump endured a second phony impeachment; and the frame-up of Trump's National Security Advisor, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn – it is not too difficult to imagine. And that is just the problem: It is not difficult to imagine. It should be an "impossibility."
The FBI needs to go away. It should happen in an orderly and thoughtful process, over a period of months. Congress should authorize and create an investigative division in the U.S. Marshals Service and open applications for law enforcement officer seeking to be rigorously screened, vetted and then accessed into the new organization. Similar action was taken before in the very creation of the FBI. It is now time to clean house and restore the public's trust in the "premier investigative agency" of federal law enforcement.
Chris Farrell is Director of Investigations at Judicial Watch and Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.