Witnesses at the hearing—titled “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Counterintelligence Implications of Volume 1″—included Robert Anderson and Stephanie Douglas, described by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) as former executives from the FBI’s counterintelligence division. Left out of Schiff’s description of Anderson and Douglas was that both witnesses had worked under former FBI Director Mueller prior to his role as special counsel.
Sean Hannity interviewed Devin Nunes and Mark Meadows afterwards. Here are some excerpts:
NUNES: What was amazing to me, ... is there were two retired FBI agents on the stand there, ... What I was amazed at is the lack of concern by these former FBI agents, one of whom Peter Strzok used to work for and, look, they served their country and I'm sure they did a great job, but when I brought up the fact that we probably shouldn't be using counterintelligence capabilities in this country to target a political campaign, they just sat there. ... I know we always say, oh, this happened at the very top of the FBI, but I will tell you, if that attitude permeated throughout the counterintelligence capabilities, and if retired FBI agents think its OK to use counterintelligence against political campaigns, I think we've gone a long way in this country, ...
MEADOWS: ... Even some of the witnesses here today on Capitol hill? They're supposed to be experts? They hadn't even read the Steele dossier!
So how unimpressive is that? Most Americans probably think being an FBI agent, working at the higher levels at FBIHQ, working CI, protecting against espionage and all that stuff--that's pretty impressive, requires smarts and dedication, a sharp, inquiring mind. Right? And here we are, talking about THE BIGGEST SCANDAL IN FBI HISTORY, even in US history, and it happened within a few years of them leaving the job. One of them even formerly supervised a major player in all this, Strzok.
So Nunes asks them, What do you think of the FBI using CI capabilities to spy on political campaigns? And "they just sat there." How intellectually unengaged do you have to be, given their background, to have no opinion on that, or none that you're willing to offer?
And of course Nunes has to go through the usual pro forma rigmarole: "look, they served their country and I'm sure they did a great job." But he knows better. And Meadows knows better. They testified under oath that they hadn't even read the Steele dossier--and "they're supposed to be experts?" Again, what kind of intellectually unengaged slugs are these two, given their background and the historic nature of what went down, that they didn't read the dossier? Shouldn't they be embarrassed to admit that they--former investigators at a high level for the "finest law enforcement agency in the world"--were so lacking in simple curiousity, let alone professional interest, that they didn't even bother to look at the dossier before coming to testify?
Of course, there IS another possibility. Maybe they lied under oath. Maybe they did read the dossier, but thought lying was the best policy because then they couldn't get grilled on it.
So, which is more shameful for a retired FBI agent--lying under oath or admitting that you have no interest whatsoever in the biggest scandal in FBI history happening right where you used to work and involving people you supervised? Or put it this way, no interest now that you're drawing regular--and very generous--annuity checks? Is Nunes really sure that people like this "did a great job"?
Then again, what does this say about the whole culture of Mueller's FBI? We get away with what we can? Isn't that his code of prosecutorial conduct? Maybe that's the lesson they drew from working and rising through the ranks in Bob's FBI. Maybe those were the qualities that got you rewarded in Bob's FBI.
But there's good news--yes!
MEADOWS: Sean, we're getting a lot of whistle blowers. Primarily the whistle blowers are coming forward because they believe Attorney General Bill Barr and John Durham are willing to get to the bottom of it. So people that perhaps were afraid under previous leadership to actually say, Well, we knew this was wrong, they're coming forward now ...
Yeah, I guess that's good news. The coast is clear, and these people are coming out of their foxholes. On my creds, glued to a plaque, I read the FBI's motto as: Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity. But nothing about sticking your head out of your foxhole before the all clear sounds--thank God! And, look, I'm not saying these people didn't have real reason to fear, caught between Lynch/Yates/Boente/Rosenstein and Comey/McCabe/Wray. But, overall, it's not terribly impressive.
I have to say this. People like to tell retired agents: Thanks for your service! It's a bit like Lyle Lovett says in his monologue at the start of "That's Right, You're Not From Texas":
People mean well. They think they know what it's like. And some of them do ...
Could we please stop pretending? None of this Russia Hoax could have happened without a real culture of corruption--and not just at the FBI. There's plenty of blame to spread around. I just hope Bill Barr doesn't think that getting back to the Good Ole Days will be easy.