Friday, May 22, 2020

MAJOR UPDATE: File Under: Where Do They Find Time?

As if dealing with FISA abuse and all isn't enough, OIG's plate is kept full with matters such as these:

Significant findings:

The OIG investigation found that the SAC sexually harassed six subordinate employees while serving as the SAC and two subordinate employees while serving in a previous position as a Section Chief at FBI Headquarters, failed to report an intimate relationship with a subordinate, engaged in actions following the end of that relationship that created a hostile work environment for the subordinate, and lacked candor during the SAC’s interview with the OIG, all in violation of FBI policy. The OIG investigation also found that the SAC violated the Department of Justice’s zero tolerance policy with respect to sexual harassment. 
The OIG has completed its investigation and provided its report to the FBI for appropriate action.

One suspects that the zero tolerance policy is honored in the breach until such time as it can no longer be ignored or swept under a rug.

UPDATE: Adam Mills has a nice article on the general topic, Justice Department Protects Its Own from Tax Prosecution, (which in turn contains a link to a much longer article by Eric Felten, Accused in Justice Dept.'s Upper Echelon, and Innocent Until Scot-Free).

The general topic, of course, is how to deal with corruption among those charged with upholding societal standards of morality, as embodied in the laws. I remember as a very young first office agent (that's Bureau lingo--we were transferred several times in our careers) getting into an argument with another first office agent, also a lawyer. He maintained that the laws we enforced had nothing to do with morality. It was wrong to disobey the laws simply because the laws were the laws. He later rose to a fairly high level in the Bureau, and I was reminded of him when I recently saw his name on the list of 2000 former DoJ/FBI officials calling on AG Barr to resign over the dismissal of charges against Michael Flynn. I was mildly gratified to see how few ex-Bureau people had signed on.

More broadly, Wikipedia has an informative article Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? that summarizes the dilemma nicely. As I have urged in the past, the dilemma becomes especially pressing when the highest standard for conduct becomes--as it seems to be in modern America--a purely positivist one, usually measured by the criminal law or the strictures of PC think. It then, logically, reduces morality to whatever you can get away with. If Bill Haydon is right that the intelligence services are the measure of a society's help, we're in a bad way.

Anyway, Wikipedia:

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? is a Latin phrase found in the work of the Roman poet Juvenal from his Satires (Satire VI, lines 347–348). It is literally translated as "Who will guard the guards themselves?", though it is also known by variant translations, such as "Who watches the watchers?" and "Who will watch the watchmen?". 
The original context deals with the problem of ensuring marital fidelity, though the phrase is now commonly used more generally to refer to the problem of controlling the actions of persons in positions of power, an issue discussed by Plato in the Republic. 
This phrase is used generally to consider the embodiment of the philosophical question as to how power can be held to account. It is sometimes incorrectly attributed as a direct quotation from Plato's Republic in both popular media and academic contexts. There is no exact parallel in the Republic, but it is used by modern authors to express Socrates' concerns about the guardians, the solution to which is to properly train their souls.

Who will guard the guardians? It's none of your business, but since you ask, the guardians will guard themselves--which is the whole incentive for becoming a guardianin the first place. That seems to be where we're at. You can tell from the howls of rage from the elite when AG Barr suggests the some standards of right and wrong actually have objective value.


  1. For what it’s worth, Obama fired 3-4 IGs and obstructed a lot of IG investigations. I think it was in 2014 that 47 IGs sent a letter to Congress detailing how Obama’s admin obstructed investigations. We had or have around 73 IGs.

    - TexasDude

    1. A few dots for discomforting consideration:

      "Brennan is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning info from inside the beltway sources...There is a specific tasker from the [White House] to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda."
      —Fred Burton, Stratfor, 21 Sep 2010

      "In response to a question from John Cornyn about why DOJ started changing sharing rules in 2010, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz suggested it was a response to a series of 'hard-hitting' national security reviews."

      "Prior to 2010, neither the Justice Department nor the FBI questioned our legal authority to access all documents in its possession ... There has not been a single occasion in our 27-year history where we have been accused of mishandling such information. However, in 2010, FBI lawyers concluded that our office could not have legal access to such information, despite its past practice and despite the fact that no laws had changed."
      --DOJ IG Michael Horowitz

    2. Right. That was Mueller time--he was FBI Director.

    3. Think Mueller has much to hide?

    4. And the comic book super villain known as Brennan was Obama's counter-terrorism "czar" at that time.

    5. Brennan was the Director of the then newly founded National Counterterrorism Center from 2004-2005 under W.

      According to Wikipedia, AG Holder under Obama (this implies with Obama’s blessings after Holder kissed Obama’s ring) in 2012 ...

      “... granted the agency the authority to collect, store, and analyze extensive data collections on U.S. citizens compiled from governmental and non-governmental sources for suspicious behavior through pattern analysis and to share the databases with foreign states. The effort has drawn controversy for its pre-crime effort, which has been likened to the Information Awareness Office and its proposed mass surveillance.“

      - TexasDude

    6. @Mark

      "Think Mueller has much to hide?"

      Yup. And maybe even something to fear?

      Bob "He's a good man" Mueller needs to be brought to some kind of justice, imperfect as it may be.

      As a collaborator, a co-conspirator, in the cover up of the worst political crimes in our nation's history he needs to be held accountable.

      He had to have known there was no Russia Collusion case against Trump, in fact he had to have known there was not even any organized Russian interference in the 2016 election.

      Therefore, his actions as special counsel were all utterly craven and dishonest, in support of a coup attempt to overthrow the duly elected President of the United States and his government.

      To achieve its goals the coup attempt was calculated to unconscionably charge, convict and imprison innocent men and destroy them and their families for no reason other than to criminally usurp political power.

      Had he ordered their assassination in a blind alley at 4 am the damage would not have been much worse. Or maybe he and his henchmen did that, too, on July 10, 2016.

      Wouldn't it be divine retribution if Durham were able to dredge up a few juicy hidden tidbits from Mueller's career as a dirty cop and employ on him a few of the abominable tactics he employed on his targets?

      And let's not forget to get his despicable little friend Andrew Goebbels, er, I mean Weissmann, too.

      Why not a coerced confession or two, and a few multi-million dollar bankruptcy-inducing and house-forfeiting legal bills, and a couple threats of indictment of children and why not throw in a televised 6am SWAT team raid where he's perp walked out to the street in his pajamas and handcuffs for good measure...

      Nothing but the best our system of justice has to offer for these guys.

    7. Mueller's years-long Special Counsel farce and its accompanying abuses is but one public exhibit among many that are not. But, hey, it's not like anybody ever died as a result of B.S. Mueller's negligence. Oh, wait...

    8. @Cassander

      I definitely the way you think. Haha!


  2. -->failed to report an intimate relationship with a subordinate<--

    For good reason. An intimate relationship with a subordinate is forbidden in most organizations as inappropriate, i.e. construed as sexually coercive, and such sexual relationships are usually disruptive in the workplace and destructive to employee morale. Many organizations make it grounds for termination due to the legal liability that results from the "lawsuit experience" of sexual harassment and hostile workplace claims.

    Needless, it's rather pathetic that the OIG has the time and resources to investigate what is essentially a HR matter.

    Your "honored in the breach" observation is the tell as regards the state of play in federal employment practices.

    1. Consider--Lisa Page was in an intimate relationship with a subordinate (Strzok), wasn't she? Priestap basically said it was none of his business. True, there was a different chain of command--agents v. lawyers, but as lawyer for McCabe she was in an intimate relationship with a guy two rungs down from McCabe and who could have a great influence on Strzok's career. She could put in a good word for him with McCabe--under threat of revealing her previous relationship with McCabe (so I've heard). And who was gonna complain about the DD? Not Priestap.

    2. She was previously in an extra-marital relationship with her client, DD McCabe. Then in an extra-marital relationship with an underling in charge of investigating and exonerating HRC and ambushing PDJT? Wow.

      Under threat?

    3. The extramarital relationship is a whole other can of worms. It takes the verboten superior-subordinate intimate relationship to a whole new level because it brings spousal relationships (third parties, including children) into the realm of HR employment policy.

      Employees involved is such relationships demonstrate reckless judgment which questions fitness for responsibility and authority for institutional resources. Managers who become aware of and allow said conduct to persist are similarly compromised as to suitability for managerial responsibilities.

      This is effectively how corruption begins. Managers feign a blind eye to illicit relationships, then use the knowledge to leverage silence against subordinates to do some dirty work. Everyone gets to eat cake, and the internal management control system is run over by a steam roller.

  3. -->He maintained that the laws we enforced had nothing to do with morality. It was wrong to disobey the laws simply because the laws were the laws.<--

    That is curious. Often, it is argued that law and morality are the same thing. In other words, there are no other "wrongs" than those specified in the law--that the law is the only limiting factor on conduct. In the current context, since extramarital affairs (or intimate relationships with subordinates) are not outlawed, then they are not wrong or immoral.

    It also turns ethical behavior and responsibility into simply a matter of legality--which then become "what you can get away with." An investigation of a presidential candidate in order to effect the electoral outcome (or force from office once elected) is completely kosher so long as the machinations remain unexposed.

    In contradistinction though, the law has a lot to say about form vs function, appearance vs performance--mere going through the motions doesn't cut it--in the same way that the test of predication (specific and articulable facts) must be met, not merely claiming such.

  4. @ Forbes

    "An investigation of a presidential candidate in order to effect the electoral outcome (or force from office once elected) is completely kosher so long as the machinations remain unexposed."

    Or so long as it is 'by the book'.

    1. And that's the reason for my subsequent paragraph. Even "by the book" falls under the form/appearance mode that doesn't cut it--though regularly used to paper over deficiencies and corruption.

      The "by the book" claim is the tell.

      It's just as when someone says, "Now, trust me..." That is the clue that you're about to be lied to, fleeced, and taken to the cleaners in one swift move. It's a set-up for whatever follows. It's a con and you're the mark.

  5. @ Forbes

    I guess I should have added /sarc to my 'quotes'.