I was born in 1944 and raised in the 1950’s, which was the height of the Cold War. And if your parents, like my parents, were children of Jewish immigrants, you were raised to be afraid of the FBI.
Why be afraid of the government’s crime-fighting corps? Because J. Edgar Hoover didn’t let a day go by without warning America about the ‘Communist conspiracy’ and the need to look under every bed in order to identify every Red.
My parents went so far as to tell me that I had to lead my class every morning in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, because this way my teacher wouldn’t give my name up when the FBI agents came around to my school to see if there were any Commies in the 4th grade.
My father really said this to me, particularly after Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for being Communist spies in 1953. Mom and Dad also stopped socializing with anyone who reported that they had been visited by the FBI.
If anyone had ever told me that the FBI would end up being defended by liberals, I would have told that individual to go immediately and check into a mental hospital because clearly that person had lost their mind.
And yet, the FBI has now become a federal agency whose work and efforts are defended on a daily basis by the Liberal Establishment and the Fake News, thanks to the attacks on its performance by Donald Trump, who first fired James Comey, head of the FBI, in May, 2017, and then two years later got his Attorney General William Barr, to appoint a Federal Prosecutor, John Durham, to see whether the FBI conducted a proper investigation into alleged ties between Trump and the Russians during the 2016 campaign.
Durham’s report has just been issued (you can read it right here) and like everything else going on in D.C. these days, the alt-right immediately praised the effort as much and as loudly as they could and the Fake News opined that the report is just another example of how misinformation floats around the MAGA world and exonerates Donald Trump.
Unfortunately, while it is assumed that Barr appointed Durham to investigate the FBI because Durham was considered to be pro-GOP and therefore someone who would come up with a finding that would exonerate Trump, in fact, Durham was responsible for two previous investigations into how the FBI conducted a criminal case, the second investigation being the corrupt connection between the FBI’s Boston office and the notorious James ‘Whitey’ Bulger and his Winter Hill gang.
So, when it comes to knowing how to look beneath the FBI’s bedsheets, nobody in the Department of Justice has quite the creds of John Durham, particularly when it comes to coming up with a narrative which paints the FBI as something less than an agency committed to ‘fidelity, bravery, integrity,’ which is what’s inscribed on the agency’s logo (see above.)
It should be noted, incidentally, that John Durham was hardly the first prosecutor to examine how the FBI conducted its investigations into the alleged connections between the Russian government and the 2016 Donald Trump campaign. The most important sleuthing was conducted by Robert Mueller, who issued a final report in March 2019, which “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” [Quote from Mueller report.]
Durham was asked to examine the FBI’s conduct both for the Mueller investigation and other counter-intelligence efforts in May 2019 and then was given full, prosecutorial authority to continue his work on February 6, 2020. The result is a report which runs 300 pages and contains – ready? – 1,753 footnotes and references which go far beyond the published text.
Granted, some of Durham’s concerns appear to be a little partisan and maybe far-fetched, such as quoting from personal emails between FBI agents which show their dislike of Trump as perhaps indicating that such feelings would impair their ability to do their jobs. But Durham perhaps was less than thoroughly observant about how often and with such vehemence Trump was a public critic of FBI.
When Nixon was President, he hated J. Edgar Hoover with a passion, but he had the good sense to simply ignore the man he referred to as ‘the Queen’ until Hoover did Nixon a favor, woke up one morning and then dropped dead. To this day, Trump still doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut about anyone or anything.
The FBI may be expert at walking around long-term, airport parking lots looking for stolen cars. But when it comes to counterintelligence, the most dedicated liberal would have to wonder how the FBI protects the United States from foreign intelligence threats if even just a slight portion of the Durham report happens to be true.
Know what really protected the United States from all those attempts by Russia to intervene in our electoral affairs? The fact that all those attempts weren’t actually made.