On November 4, the House Judiciary Committee Republicans released a 1,000-page report detailing what its majority describes as “a rampant culture of unaccountability, manipulation, and abuse at the highest level” of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
Prompting many of us to ask: “What took you so long?”
It’s not a petty response. It’s not a “sour grapes” mentality. It’s simply a statement of fact to observe that, since its inception, the FBI has been a political strong-arm and “hide the crime” organization far too many times to go unchallenged, and that its very existence is constitutionally dubious, at best.
Under ranking member Jim Jordan (R-OH), the Republicans’ Executive Summary reminds readers about what many of us long have been trying to report.
“The FBI is artificially inflating statistics about domestic violent extremism in the nation. Whistleblowers have described how FBI leadership is pressuring line agents to reclassify cases as domestic violent extremism even if the matter does not meet the criteria. They also explained how the FBI is misrepresenting the scale of domestic violent extremism nationwide by categorizing January 6th-related investigations as organic cases stemming from local field offices, instead of all related to one single incident. In both ways, the FBI is fueling the Biden Administration’s narrative that domestic violent extremism is the biggest threat to our nation.”
Sadly, the authors of the report don’t question the underlying lunacy of the federal government defining “domestic violent extremism,” and whether that comports in any way with the U.S. Constitution and the federalism originally envisaged by the Founders. However, even if one were to accept this amorphous Orwellian language-tool, the recent use of federal Justice Department resources to target, demonize, threaten, and legally lasso innocent political dissenters is as blindingly obvious as the sun.
The Executive Summary reminds us of one of the most recent examples, the coordination between Merrick Garland’s “DoJ” and the leftist “National School Boards Association” to target concerned parents who attend local school board meetings in order to express their opposition to budgets or pedagogy. It’s a problem on which I wrote last year, and which persists, as Garland has used tax cash to create a new team to ramp-up this ludicrous federalization of local issues.
“The FBI is abusing its counterterrorism authorities to investigate parents who spoke at school board meetings. Whistleblowers disclosed how, shortly after the National School Boards Association urged President Biden to use the Patriot Act against American parents, the FBI Counterterrorism Division set up a special ‘threat tag’ to track school board-related cases. Whistleblowers provided evidence of how the FBI opened investigations into one mom for allegedly telling a local school board ‘we are coming for you’ and a dad simply because he ‘rails against the government’ and ‘has a lot of guns.”
It's a combination of politically-useful hype, manufactured monsters, the creation of limitless rhetorical simulacra, and the leverage all of it offers to push narratives through the pop media and to drown innocent people in legal expenses, if not literally lock them behind bars. And, according to the report, FBI employees who disagree are being tossed.
“The FBI is clearing the Bureau of employees who dissent from its woke, leftist agenda. The FBI is actively seeking to ‘purge’ FBI employees holding conservative views—or, in President Biden’s view, those who are a ‘threat to American democracy’ — because they hold conservative views. The FBI has even taken retaliatory actions against at least one whistleblower who has spoken out.”
All, at the expense of handling what could be real crime.
“As a prime example, one whistleblower described how he was ‘told that child sexual abuse material investigations were no longer an FBI priority and should be referred to local law enforcement agencies’ so that he could work a Washington directed politically charged case instead. Such a mis-prioritization is not only a dereliction of duty, but it is a grave disservice to the victims of crimes that do not advance the FBI’s political agenda.”
The Judiciary Committee Republicans’ press release offers a hailstorm of alleged FBI abuse:
- The FBI leadership abusing its law-enforcement authority for political reasons.
- The FBI artificially inflating and manipulating domestic violent extremism statistics for political purposes.
- The FBI downplaying and reducing the spread of the serious allegations of wrongdoing leveled against Hunter Biden.
- The Justice Department and FBI using counterterrorism resources to target parents resisting a far-left educational curriculum.
- The FBI abusing its foreign surveillance authorities.
- The Justice Department and FBI conducting an unprecedented raid on a former president’s home.
- The FBI stalking a Republican Congressman on a family vacation to seize his personal cell phone.
- The Justice Department and the FBI continuing to allow attacks on pro-life facilities and churches to go unabated, while pushing an anti-life agenda.
- The FBI conducting an “intelligence” assessment of a conservative charity under the guise of investigating unrelated alleged crimes.
- The FBI purging employees who refuse to align themselves with the leadership’s political ideology.
- The FBI helping Big Tech to censor Americans’ political speech.
And while some might criticize the authors of the report as engaging in their own political show without actually addressing the deeper systemic problems of the FBI, the Executive Summary does acknowledge at least some of the historically contemptuous FBI activity of the past 60 years:
“The FBI has a troubling history of using its authorities to advance political goals. Under J. Edgar Hoover, the Bureau surveilled Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., engaging in ‘an intense campaign’ to discredit the civil rights leader. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller sought to change the FBI’s ‘culture’ to produce a ‘centraliz[ed]’ and ‘intelligence driven’ organization. With its new centralized structure, FBI leadership began running investigations out of headquarters rather than the originating field offices—something that had been standard practice for nearly a century.”
But there are two major disappointments on their way for readers who applaud the creators of this report.
First, the Republicans will not be able to move the Democrat majority to “reform” the DoJ, the FBI, or those subcontractors who might be engaged in these kinds of despicable activities.
Second, the GOP minority is not striking the root, which is the questionable nature of the FBI itself.
For example, the Summary notes:
“The FBI has abused its foreign intelligence authorities to spy on American citizens, including people associated with the campaign of President Trump in 2016. These facts have been documented in Inspector General reports and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinions, but there is little indication the FBI has changed—or is willing to change—course.”
This assumes a falsehood. The FBI has ZERO “foreign intelligence authority” – or “authorities,” as they put it -- to spy on anyone, foreign or domestic. Spying implies surveillance/search without a warrant, which is a breach of the Fourth Amendment. It doesn’t matter if the spying is being done on foreigners or Americans. Not only is the federal government NOT granted such a power, it is explicitly prohibited from engaging in the activity unless a judge publicly produces a search warrant specifying the person to be searched and the things sought. If the GOP, Dems, and FBI bureaucrats want such immoral power (the FBI has been caught doing it to Americans, btw), they can try to amend the Constitution, rather than do the shadow dance of swearing to defend their rule book while they break it as a matter of course.
There are sundry constitutional questions about the very existence of the FBI, going back to its corrupt 1908 start, when then-President Teddy Roosevelt pushed to have his new Attorney General, Charles J. Bonaparte, create a “force of permanent police… under its control.”
Despite Congress opposing the such a force, Roosevelt and Bonaparte levered the Department of the Treasury to use Secret Service men as “investigators” of “breaches of the antitrust laws” (themselves highly questionable federal attacks on interstate trade) and to “investigate” the interstate trade of “prizefight films.”
From there, as author James Bovard closely documents, and as author and radio host Howie Carr notes in his book “Ratman,” the history of the FBI has been one of intimidation, corruption, expansion of self-claimed “jurisdiction,” spying, and, as Judge Andrew Napolitano has noted, a seemingly ever-increasing list of FBI stings that look much more like entrapment and self-congratulation than crime-fighting.
Most of the Founders involved in writing the U.S. Constitution likely would find the very existence of the FBI offensive. The original concept of federalism was such that the feds were to get involved with interstate crimes when states requested assistance for things such as extradition. This new GOP report shows us that there is more reason than ever to feel the same – and wonder if the GOP ever will have the backbone to address the heart of the problem.
(Cover Photo: fbi.gov)