by James T. Murphy
In the alphabet soup of intelligence agencies, the FBI stands out as an archetype of effective and most advanced techniques of crime detection and law enforcement. Or does it? Recent history hints at something less than the ideal, as partisan politics seems to have infiltrated the administration of its mandate.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the domestic intelligence and security service of the U.S., has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 catagories of crimes, as such are codified by the U.S. Code, Title 18. Established in 1908 through some bureaucratic hokus pokus of the then present, and now ironically named, Attorney General Charles Bonaparte, and during the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt, the Bureau it maintained an original force of 34 special agents. Today it employs some 35,000 folks, including Special Agents, intelligence analysts, other worker bees and of course, bosses. Its first official activities included surveillance of houses of prostitution in an effort to enforce the Mann Act, early legislation meant to root out human trafficking. So far, so good. Undergoing some lateral agency shifts and a few name changes over the next 20 odd years, it became the FBI known to the world, and certainly known to domestic law breakers.
Under the tutelage of J. Edgar Hoover, who served as Director from 1935 until his death in 1972, covering 8 presidencies, the agency rose to be known as a premier law enforcement body, charged with the domestic security of the United States. Although credited with the rollout and growth of so-called Scientific Crime Detention, forensics in the vernacular, Hoover turned out to be be highly controversial during his later reign, and a reign it was, dogging the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Marcus Garvey, and future Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, who Hoover maintained at the time was the “most dangerous man in the Untie States.” So much for haracter appraisal skills, at least in these cases.
Following Hoover’s dictatorship, Congress restricted future directorships to ten years, subject to presidential requests for approvals to extend a term, in an appropriate circumstance. As the agency grew it developed highly advanced methods of detecting and rooting out crime and criminals. Think for example, John Dillinger, Bonnie & Clyde, Al Capone; more recent pirates such as Jordan Belfort, Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken; and turncoats Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames. In addition, the Bureau’s war time efforts were credited with the arrest of not a few domestic spies. Over the course of its history then the G-Men and Women, for the most part, exemplified a most professional and effective crime fighting machine. But the problem in today’s woke environment however is who gets to set the alarm clock, and for what time?
As we fast forward to the present, although it can be argued that the action of Director James Comey in releasing a memo he wrote regarding a conversation with President Trump was in violation of certain agency regulations regarding the confidentiality of Bureau info, the Nation awaits the Durham Report on that one. Comey of course has aserted that the information was his own personal property and thus not subject to the rules. Yet Durham, in this regard, is charged with so much more, including the investigation of the investigation into the Russia Hoax, as it is seen by many to be, the activities of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his subordinates, the source(s) of the many leaks emanating from the agency in the recent past, and further, the actions taken against Michael Flynn, to the shenanigans in the Ukraine, and even perhaps, the Hunter Biden Affair. While time passes, it remains crucial that the unvarnished truth, free of political skewing of any sort, be disclosed to the American Public.
Just this past week the FBI was once again criticized, this time by a Federal Judge of the secretive FISA Court, the Court where secrecy in the name of American security, a Hobson’s Choice there, operates behind closed doors. The Court, in a now de-classified ruling, found the FBI guilty of widespread violations in the course of its wiretapping and monitoring program meant to root out foreign terrorists. Consider here the combination of clandestine surveillance and a curtained and sound-proofed court, and then try to measure the degree of trust the American People must have in this important institution. Well, that trust has apparently been broken, again. Worse, in its ruling the Court found that warrantless monitoring activities were “More pervasive that was previously believed.” This is not to say that a program such as this is unneeded, but that its purveyors should not be stretching the authority given them to a length which is in clear violation of the Constitution; and apparently this they have done. Yesterday Carter Page, today your neighbor, tomorrow you.
The greatest caution is required. The acts of overzealous and biased cowboys and cowgirls, such as Peter Strock and Lisa Page for example, need to roped in, and prevented from recurring. Any acquiescence and blase acceptance of such rogue misuse of authority represents a solid building block in the House of Autocracy.