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When Exactly Has the FBI Earned Our Trust?

Posted on Friday, August 19, 2022
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by Outside Contributor
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It was probably the most disillusioning thing that I ever ran into. Because being raised in the ‘50s in the Eisenhower period, I didn’t know that the government wasn’t always straight, and the good guys. They did things to me that made me realize that they’re a tough bunch of cookies. 

That was Dick Clark, known as “America’s Oldest Teenager” and a beloved cultural icon, reflecting in 1986 on the federal “Payola” pay-for-airplay investigation in which he was hounded but ultimately cleared.  

I happened upon Clark’s recollections in an unrelated podcast this week, but they instantly resonated in the wake of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raid on former President Donald Trump’s private residence.  

At a time when our social contract seems increasingly frayed, an operation so unprecedented and potentially grave demands an especially high degree of collective trust.  

Has the FBI earned that collective presumption of trust? Ask yourself how often the FBI has distinguished itself by playing it straight and by the book. Then ask yourself how often it has distinguished itself through excess and impropriety.  

Attorney General Merrick Garland, his equanimity apparently lost to anger over Trump’s denial of a U.S. Supreme Court seat that he thought was his, insisted this week that we must trust his integrity in approving the raid. Indeed, Garland took umbrage over the mere suggestion that federal agents might act out of politicized rather than pure motives.  

Only 36% of Americans view Garland favorably, however, and perhaps public familiarity with recurring FBI misdeeds helps explain why.  

The fact that many of those FBI misdeeds involve its treatment of former President Trump render its trustworthiness especially dubious.  

Recall that in August 2020, former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty to deliberately falsifying evidence in an affidavit in support of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) operation. Clinesmith admitted that he altered an email from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in order to justify a FISA warrant, by taking a CIA email stating that Trump campaign advisor Carter Page had been a previous CIA source and changing it to state that Page was not a source. Outrageously, Clinesmith’s attorney had the audacity to claim that, “Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email,” and that, “It was never his intent to mislead the court or his colleagues.” Why else would someone to deliberately alter evidence, under penalty of perjury, other than to mislead?  

That incident possesses specific relevance to the FBI’s recent raid on Trump’s residence, since that warrant also relied on an affidavit (which Garland and the FBI conspicuously refuse to release, even in redacted form).  

Also recall disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok, whose 2016 text messages with his mistress and fellow FBI agent Lisa Page promised to “stop” Trump from becoming president. “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page messaged on August 8, 2016, to which Strzok replied, “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”  

A week later, Strzok messaged, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in [former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s] office – that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…”  

Nor is the FBI’s record of malfeasance a recent one. Recall how the bureau under J. Edgar Hoover attempted to wiretap, blackmail and destroy Martin Luther King, Jr.   

And beyond the orbit of the FBI’s anti-Trump campaign, there was its questionable orchestration of a scheme to allegedly kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Incredibly, the Special Agent in charge of the Detroit FBI field office during the botched Whitmer plot was subsequently promoted to oversight of the Washington, D.C., field office.  

Even more recently, Garland himself testified evasively and dishonestly on the subject of the FBI applying counterterrorism efforts against parents who attend local school board meetings and criticize controversial educational curricula.  

As for the FBI raid on Trump’s residence itself, we already have proof that it was overly broad. Specifically, FBI agents admittedly confiscated three of Trump’s passports, only to return them under pressure when he complained publicly. Accordingly, the question isn’t whether the raid was excessive, but how excessive. What else did they improperly seize? Perhaps privileged attorney/client documents in their fishing expedition?  

It remains possible that the FBI raid will prove in accord with the rule of law and concepts of fairness.   Both recent and longstanding history, however, create a presumption of skepticism toward Garland and the FBI, not trust.  

Without that public trust in government to follow the rule of law, our social contract decays and lawlessness becomes increasingly likely. Garland, the FBI and the Biden Administration must avoid inviting that state of affairs.  

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Michael Peck
Michael Peck
1 year ago

Jut think of how bad Garland is, and yet was nominated for an open seat on the Supreme Court. It is almost impossible to understand how we dodged a bullet in that case.

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

The FBI management has been corrupted by the Democrats = Americans have No Trust in the Democrat Party or the FBI

gregg Lambert
gregg Lambert
1 year ago

Never cared for these sexually repressed Ivy League snotnoses, but NOW I need to FEAR them!

granky
granky
1 year ago

The FBI was founded and directed by one of the most corrupt and vindictive humans who ever lived, J. Edgar Hoover. He was director from 1924 until his death in 1972, served under 9 presidents, democrat and republican. He managed to do this through blackmail, everybody in the federal government feared him. I was a big city cop for over 40 years and had the misfortune of working with the FBI on numerous occasions. The advantage they had was unlimited manpower, money, jurisdiction and resources. I worked with a few good agents but overall they were not to be trusted. They were like a sponge, soaked up everything but gave back very little. They were excellent at taking credit for other agencies work. In law enforcement circles, they have never had much respect nor credibility.

Mike McKechnie
Mike McKechnie
1 year ago

Attorney general Garland’s phony outrage at the very integrity of the fbi being questioned is laughable! He himself has lied to congress and to the American people.

JR Fox
JR Fox
1 year ago

Garland’s face is engrained with hate. Hard to believe that people like him grew up in this country but have no love for it or the American people. It’s all about power and greed.

JR Fox
JR Fox
1 year ago

The start of all this political corruption began with the First Muslim President, Obama. Remember he said he couldn’t pass DACA because “I’m not a king”. He put it through anyway. The 2013 IRS delaying approving tax exempt status for conservative organizations.

JR Fox
JR Fox
1 year ago

The 87,000 ‘armed and dangerous’ IRS agents being hired, remember when Obama said, “We need a citizen army”? Someone else in history had a personal army and they were called Brownshirts back in the 1930’s who went after his political opponents.

Cathryn Pindzola
Cathryn Pindzola
1 year ago

Just a question…why does President Trump have 3 passports?

Nick
Nick
1 year ago

One was expired

Jeanette
Jeanette
1 year ago

It’s the top officials that are to blame for distrust.

jocko
jocko
1 year ago

THE ONCE HONORABLE FB,I IS NOW THE RUSSIAN, KGB

Denise
Denise
1 year ago

The FBI and ATF are the jack booted thugs of the last few years. Both were involved in the mental torture, burning to death and ultimate slaughter of almost 86 men, women and children at Waco, Texas during the Clinton regime. And the “media” was cheering on the torture the whole 51 days. No surprise if the CIA and every other alphabet “agency” are all budding gestapo for this regime now strangling this nation. This present regime has apparently armed the 85,000 new IRS agents as well. Can we say hostile take over of our once free nation?

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

The Democrats have turned the FBI, ATF , CIA & IRS into their enforcement arm. Americans have no trust in these agencies.

Tommy
Tommy
1 year ago

Federal Biden Intimation, IRS, ATF brown shirts have always been the SS enforcers for Democrats. The Trump raid has just helped provide more evidence that validates if you are conservative or religious you are a target.

jocko
jocko
1 year ago

THE ONCE HONORABLE FBI IS NOW THE RUSSIAN, KGB AND washington, d. c. IS NOW MOSCOW AND/OR NAZI GERMANY AND biden = HITLER

pete
pete
1 year ago

since they won’t print the ‘f’ bomb, readers willl have to substitute; Copulate Book Idiots

David
David
1 year ago

Yes. I remember. I think he liked to pretend that he was Ethyl Mertz.

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

Remember the Clinton’s used the FBI and IRS to SPY on and ATTACK AMERICANS in the 1990’s.
HUSSEIN Obama did same thing for 8 years.
Now we have the New FBI STASI and IRS STASI under DICTATOR Beijing biden.
The New Term for the FBI is: FASCIST BUREAUCRACY of INTIMIDATION.
See: RAID on PRESIDENT TRUMP’s HOME.

Hal
Hal
1 year ago

The FBI in times long past pretty much stayed away from petty investigations against the politicos, except to be ready to help them stay safe from public physical assault. The DemocRats have, over the past few decades, become a bit more oriented towards scouting the politicos for their bad activities. Of course, they didn’t help Ted Kennedy much in his situation in which he was clearly a lawbreaker, to put it mildly. One gets the feeling that the FBI tends to favor the DemocRats as far as looking the other way when their members might be a bit out of line legally! I miss Ronald Reagan!!

Gunny
Gunny
1 year ago

The FBI deserves to be completely disbanded and the leadership arrested due to it’s partisan behavior and illegal actions.

Tracy Kvies
Tracy Kvies
1 year ago

This would happen in any police organization given unchecked power without fear of prosecution.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

During the Gangster era pre Hoover

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