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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

What's Wrong With The Bureau?

Regular readers will know that I like to blame the FBI's current dysfunction on the practice of "parachuting" top management in who are predominantly former federal prosecutors--a disproportionately liberal demographic at odds with Bureau culture. Add to that the now top heavy presence of attorneys and a revolving door between FBI and DoJ, as well as the practice of many of these same people rotating between government service and the private sector. Think, at the Director level, Mueller, Comey, Wray. All have gone through that revolving door of private law practice and government office. Add to that some of their top legal people--Andrew Weissmann and Aaron Zebley. And then there's the lower level types--Lisa Page, Trisha Anderson. And the list goes on. It has led to a radical cultural change at the FBI, which now has an institutional culture that is informed by the prosecutorial mindset of 'anything goes for a conviction that will enhance my career.' That change came on top of the institutional change that emphasized career advancement as a professional manager rather than developing a specific expertise. Together it has spelled disaster.

For some time Shipwreckedcrew has been having a dialogue on this subject on his twitter thread: What's wrong with the Bureau. As a former prosecutor, SWC is sympathetic to the Bureau, although he speaks as an outsider. Just the fact that he uses the phrase 'gun and badge' rather than 'badge and gun' tells me that he's an outsider. It may seem like a small thing, but it jarred on my ear. Nevertheless, he sees the Bureau's problems in ways that are similar to the way I view them. His solution is to appoint as Director someone who rose through the ranks.

That does hit on some of the problems I've described, but unfortunately the problem is bigger than that and won't be solved that easily. In a sense Louis Freeh is the proof of what I'm saying. Freeh had started his career as an agent and was supposed to bring with him the understanding of the agent point of view that SWC talks about. Of course, Freeh had quit the Bureau because he failed to make director in five years, or whatever his master plan was. Under Freeh, problems simply metastasized, even though in his previous life he had been an agent. He lacked a broad understanding of the Bureau's mission. His tenure culminated with the Robert Hanssen debacle. Nuff said. Lots of other things went wrong.

Unfortunately, nothing in life is so simple as the suggested solution of putting an agent in charge of the FBI. By now the Gramscian long march through the institutions--spearheaded by the takeover of Human Resources officers and the career support people--has also marched through the Bureau. The Bureau, like any other social institution, will ultimately reflect the society around it, and so the solution can only be cultural--and those types of solutions are precisely what the Progressive takeover of our legal system is in place to prevent. Trump's latest executive orders may begin to have a salutary effect on that, but at best we're looking at a years long struggle. Many years. To think otherwise is simply naive.

Nevertheless, you may be interested in SWC's latest exchanges on this topic. I've put it in Q & A form, with SWC being "A".


Q: Most law enforcement agencies are headed by people who have been on the gun & badge side themselves.  But the FBI and a few other fed agencies seem to pick a lot of prosecutors or ppl who’ve been attornies [sic] for most of their professional life. Agents would prefer one of their own.

A: This is a much bigger issue than most understand.  The "gun and badge" folks have less interest in the "politics" of the position.  But POTUS has always looked for a "political" actor for the job.  It's a mismatch that hurts the environment.

It's like if all the "Generals" in the military were civilians.

Q: The very thing people are complaining about now is the result of picking people from the outside.

Q: You're an institution man. That doesn't make your views more "justified," it exposes you to the same errors in judgment necessitating inspectors general. The same kind of thinking that causes people to compromise themselves because they place an organization above individuals.

A: Not true. It gives me a window into why the Bureau is dysfunctional in some ways.  Public assumes one thing -- but public lacks facts.  Facts show problems originate elsewhere.  Correct those and public perceptions will change.

Q: I know nothing how the internals of the FBI work, but it seems to me this type of in house hire should be a major field office director, like Ted Gunderson was supposed to be.

A: Agree--the individual must COMMAND respect from the rank and file to get them to perform. Bringing in outsiders who lack the necessary POV of the working agents is detrimental and creates a division between working agents and senior management. "Us v. Them" = blame shifting.

 

57 comments:

  1. Can the FBI be farmed out to each state and put under state control? I.e, get them the heck outta DC and de-federalize them to the extent that they use their resources at the behest of state officials. Coordinate as necessary where investigations require it across state lines or foreign actors. The idea being that if we are stuck with a federal agency like this, better to break up the tyranny over 50 states than one monster in DC.

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    1. That would defeat the whole purpose of a FEDERAL Bureau of Investigation, which is to address interstate or national problems over which the states lack jurisdiction. I don't see how devolving to the states things that they can't handle would solve a thing. All states already have what amounts to their own bureaus of investigation--state police or separate bureaus. The problem with the FBI is not with the concept itself.

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    2. Wasn't this duty first performed by the US Marshals service? Why not beef them up and turn the FBI into a more investigation service than a law enforcement service. The Federal government has too much law enforcement, seems every agency has a SWAT team.

      Rob S

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    3. The FBI already is and long has been more an investigation service than a law enforcement service. The fact that it also has SWAT teams--membership on which is heavily part time--doesn't change that.

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    4. Tschifty Mccoy - I have a little different thought process with what you are asking.

      As Mark states there are law enforcement agencies in every state. My difference in opinion is that they are perfectly capable of doing what the FBI does without the Federal Government being involved in law enforcement.

      The only issue with that has been the devolution of 10th amendment and constitutional law over the last 90 years.

      "Only" is a word I am using above lightly.

      Congress was granted the power of law enforcement only within the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia. It took 4 very specific and very bad supreme court decisions giving extra constitutional powers to congress to get us here in the last 90-100 years. Collector v. Day being the one variation of that dating back to the 1860's.

      Oddly enough those cases were never about actually about "federal law enforcement" but about child labor, wheat, prohibition and social security.

      The FBI has only been in place since 1924 it was the invention of technology such as the automobile and telephone that really drove the creation. They were deemed too powerful as technology for local law enforcement to combat when used in crimes. (Sounds REALLY silly and I contend it is/was)

      I think if you would have allowed the states to evolve naturally with technology without the one size fits all and fixes all federal government we would be in a much better place today. I would also argue that the states with currently technology could easily take this roll on.

      Easier said than done, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men..." This is why we were meant to be a republic of states and not states of unionized democracy. Someone's going to need to explain that to congress. ๐Ÿ™„

      One thing I love about history is it's ability to teach us if we are willing to listen to it. I would argue that there have been very few times with very few directors where the public have not been asking the same questions of the FBI and / or calling for a directors replacement.

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  2. Mark, I think your analysis is valid and highlights a larger underlying problem in many institutions- lack of personal character and firm grasp of the positive aspects of tradition (referring to hard-to-gain knowledge that takes difficult situations over time to learn).

    This has been a larger problem in society since the '90s, when the top leadership in the country was abject in these areas and didn't seem to suffer meaningful consequences. The lawyers you're discussing going back and forth are emblematic of this. If they were really good and had good character, firms would not let them leave to go back to the government. Firms have the resources and understanding to keep whomever they want.

    The going for the convictions, etc. is just a surface id. of someone who doesn't understand the big pictures of society, doesn't care about doing good or serving some type of beneficial purpose. They don't have the type of conscience that prevents them from looking at themselves in the mirror in the morning if they cross certain boundaries. Just for example, look at the affairs going on in the recent FBI/DOJ saga.... You basically have people who shouldn't be driving at all given the keys to the fastest cars- how can you not have trouble?

    Once a group like that gets in, they self-select, and multiply. Then it takes some tough, old-school type who does have some proper values to clear house. Hoping that guy is Barr....

    Same thing goes on in the military, and in private companies. A great book, Once an Eagle, examined the phenomenon in the military. Lots of corporations have quick results from some high-flyer, then go broke, and in hindsight everyone sees that the culture had lost its bearings. Unfortunately, it's part of being human, but when times get tough, the tried and true values seem to come back and work once again.

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    1. To simplify, what we see is a rejection of the very concept of character--replaced by rules that are supposed to enforce a libertarian alternative to character. Once it was accepted that you supposedly "can't legislate morality" it became a question of no actual standards except what are put in writing--and then it becomes a question of how you interpret and what you can get away with. All that is embodied in HR departments now--as I know only too well from having participated in background investigations from time to time. This is why I say it's about culture. Which is also why open borders or even non-biased immigration is suicidal.

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    2. What can we do? - Exactly what Trump is doing, and more: Call out the "news" as Democrat propaganda. Call out the Democrat party as a plantation. (Yes, I personally call my Democrat family members "plantation enforcers". The fear of being honest is what got us in the situation we're in)

      Honesty is the best medicine.

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  3. It is about organizational culture. It can be changed quickly, but normally takes a long time. Retirements, forced retirements, firings, people leaving, etc can help with that.

    Problem is this culture is everywhere and appears to be in all our institutions.

    In Mark Wahlberg’s movie “Shooter”, I thought Hollywood was projecting when it had a FBI agent wearing a Che t-shirt. Now, I am not so sure. I am not saying the entire organization is that, but a significant amount is, including lots of leaders.

    This problem is generational and widespread.

    Take Neill Macaulay, for example. A graduate of the Citadel and US Army officer in the mid to late 1950s. He states in his book, “A Rebel In Cuba”, that he always had an affinity for socialism/communism, but believed it could be tempered with capitalism. Neill fought as an officer in Castro’s Army. He became “disillusioned” when Castro took away the land that was gifted to him by Castro. Same land Castro took away from someone else in the overthrow. Neill went on to get a degree from UT Austin and more becoming a professor expert on Latin America in a southern university. Oh, it took Senator Strom Thurmond, a Democrat then, to get Neill back into the US.

    It’s not just the FBI.

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    1. Organizational culture is a function of the broader societal culture.

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    2. I had a unique exchange with someone where I work. I am a cop. This person is not a sworn officer.

      I made a comment in jest if you follow me on FB and elsewhere you know how I will vote. This person stated how can anyone vote for Biden on his stance on law enforcement (shooting in the leg, cops need mental counselors on scene so cops do not resort to violence). I replied that there are people, many people, in LE that would. It’s true.

      Organizations and professions are not monolithic. Granted, in my profession, it may appear that way, but it is not in reality.

      When I was an E5, Petty Officer 2nd Class, Electronics Technician, ET2, in the US Naval Reserve, my reserve unit was a detachment of Commander of 7th Fleet. We participated in the various year round military war games with South Korea. My main job was to create slides for my officer to present to the command staff. The Koreans did the same, but my counterparts were officers. These games were/are existential to them on a national scale.

      Coming home from one exercise, I was seated next to a US Naval Captain, 06. I made a remark that while historically our southern border was open and porous, now, after 9-11, it was a liability and terrorists have the ability to infiltrate our country at will if they so choose.

      The officer looked at me stone faced without saying a word. I took that to mean he did not agree. I am no mental prodigy, but obvious things I can grasp. Maybe he was ill informed, but we all sat in the same classified meetings on this and other things.

      It was a quiet flight home after that.

      My point is this, culture is a big deal. You can recognize failings, but still have a common bond. When leaders reject the culture, work to undermine it, the result is what we have today.

      This culture of America being corrupt and wrongly founded is insidious and pernicious and has, for generations, been allowed to grow all over.

      The name of the now Washington Football Team (Waft, my term) is exemplar.

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  4. Prosecutional Immunity I see as driving this along with over charging many problems. Laws need to be simplified. What Trump has done with deregulation needs to be done to federal laws.

    >prosecutorial mindset of 'anything goes for a conviction

    On the leadership path, my understanding, is Mueller centralized a lot due to 9-11, that resulted in a career path of Required relocating to dc for advancement.

    I still favor breaking out counter intelligence from the fbi. I think the fbi can either do criminal or the counter intel really well, not both.

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  5. Speaking of the FBI, the FBI and DoJ are supposed to have a joint press conference today at 11am EDT about "China." No further details.

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    1. I haven't seen a thing about this. Must be bad info.

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  6. @Mark

    As is often the case, my take (big picture) is slightly different. Not that I disagree with any of the particular assessments which you or SWC make... (I have again exceeded the applicable limits on length of post, so this comment is in two parts)

    1/When we hooked up with China (remember Chimerica?) and jobs in the US began to disappear in droves and the Rust Belt went out of business, the Smart People told us not to worry about the Economy...not to worry about the fact that we were no longer making anything and that our trade relations were increasingly one-sided. We were told that service jobs are just as important to the economy as manufacturing jobs and that in any event a successful economy could be based on consumption instead of production.

    The fact that wages would erode in the face of declining production was not a problem, the Smart People told us, because consumption could be driven be credit in lieu of cash savings.

    Many agreed with the Smart People and were thrilled to run to Walmart and pick up a new flat screen TV for, first, $1000, then $800, then $600, then $400…Life was good. Never mind that millions of Americans were losing their jobs and that grandmothers in flyover country were trading their oxycontin prescriptions for a thousand dollars a month to feed their unemployed families. Since these jobs lost were in places like Youngstown and Akron the Smart People never noticed or, in fact, even cared.

    But, and the labor-saving but job killing growth of technology played into this, it wasn’t like the Smart People could run this country on no jobs whatsoever and all credit cards…so the fake job (complete with a ‘pay check’) was invented. (Never mind that that paycheck has been worth less and less over the last thirty years as real wages (especially after health care costs) declined.

    So…what’s a fake job? Well, they are all around you. In the year 2020, its what we do. They are the millions of bloated government jobs, the millions of bloated ‘health care’ jobs, the millions of bloated jobs in academia. In an economy where nobody makes anything, but people still have to do something, fake jobs fill the gap.

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  7. 2/What does this have to do with the FBI? Well, in the world the Smart People have created, the FBI isn’t just a law enforcement (or counter-intelligence) agency, it’s a government leviathan which employs over 35,000 people in nearly 500 offices with an annual budget of more than $9.5 billion. Substantially less than half of all FBI employees are special agents actually investigating crime; thousands are human resources ‘specialists’, information technology ‘specialists’, and other so-called ‘support’ professionals. And then there are the lawyers. In a world of fake jobs, the lawyers are always big winners. The Smart People have persuaded us you can’t do anything in 21st Century America without a lawyer saying its ok (whether or not it is), so the FBI has thousands of lawyers…a handful of whom actually practice law.

    I have often wondered what the true cost of the FBI’s participation in the Russia Hoax actually adds up to. Not just the salaries and expenses of agents (and ‘support’ professionals) who investigated the unpredicated Crossfire Hurricane, but the indirect costs and reduced productivity of employees like Strzok and Page who texted each other tens of thousands of times, and sat around at meetings discussing whether to frame a guy or just drive him out of his job…Or like James Comey, who must have spent thousands of hours ‘colluding’ with his friends at Columbia and in the main stream media to achieve his political goals. Or like Andrew McCabe, who seems to have had a personal vendetta going with Michael Flynn who supported an FBI employee who accused McCabe of retaliation in a discrimination case. Doesn’t quite sound like the days of Elliot Ness, does it?

    In any event I conclude that it’s not easy to figure out who should (or is able to) run a government agency of 35,000 people only a fraction of whom are actually engaged on a daily basis in the mission of the FBI: “to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States”.

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    1. I think it still comes down to culture in society.

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    2. Not having a meaningful job (or not being able to obtain and hold a meaningful job)...and not having to produce to survive...can seriously distort an economy...and warp a culture.

      It has.

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    3. There are some nations in Europe whose inhabitants think of themselves in a sense as colonists, indifferent to the fate of the place they live in. The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved. They are so divorced from their own interests that even when their own security and that of their children is finally compromised, they do not seek to avert the danger themselves but cross their arms and wait for the nation as a whole to come to their aid. Yet as utterly as they sacrifice their own free will, they are no fonder of obedience than anyone else. They submit, it is true, to the whims of a clerk, but no sooner is force removed than they are glad to defy the law as a defeated enemy. Thus one finds them ever wavering between servitude and license.

      When a nation has reached this point, it must either change its laws and mores or perish, for the well of public virtue has run dry: in such a place one no longer finds citizens but only subjects.”
      ― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
      Tom S.

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    4. In some ways we are victims of our success. The middle class has mobility, socially, professionally, and physically, that no society in history has enjoyed and so, without real roots/ties to neighbors or communities other than some vague proposition based largely on rationalization of convenience, Americans become de Tocqueville's "colonists".
      Tom S.

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    5. @Tom S @12:23

      "There are some nations in Europe whose inhabitants think of themselves in a sense as colonists, indifferent to the fate of the place they live in."

      I believe this is the case with much of our Elite today.

      For example, look at the current exodus of many of the wealthy from places like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to places like Florida. They leave not only to avoid high state and local taxes, but also to avoid participating in the hard work of finding solutions to the intractable problems they have helped create.

      In the place where I live, an affluent community in a Western Red State, swarms of 'refugees' from the Coasts are moving in post-Covid. Longtime residents worry about how our 'quality of life' will be impacted by increasing housing over-development, traffic congestion, crowded schools and the like. An acquaintance of mine, a not-so-old retired investment banker from New York, told me not to worry. "If it gets really bad", he said "We'll just move (again)." Needless to say, he has no intention himself of getting involved in work on any solutions.

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    6. @Tom S. @ 2:10

      "In some ways we are victims of our success. The middle class has mobility, socially, professionally, and physically, that no society in history has enjoyed and so, without real roots/ties to neighbors or communities other than some vague proposition based largely on rationalization of convenience, Americans become de Tocqueville's 'colonists'."

      That's only one part of the equation. The 'middle class' which you describe I might call the 'professional class and the wealthy' or, for convenience, the Elite. This class in America (including the associates of the MSM, the Deep State, the Banks, Academia, and Hollywood) enjoys not only 'mobility' but also extraordinary wealth and privilege, perhaps unrivalled for such a large cohort in the history of the world. The temptations of arrogance and hubris in the quest for power in this class are obvious to us now.

      The second part of the equation is the large cohort in this country which is, and which is increasingly becoming, totally dependent on the federal government. Playing into this are the 'fake jobs' which I discuss above, merit-destructive affirmative action programs, political correctness which discourages transparency and meaningful debate, incentive-killing welfare and transfer payments, and rampant political corruption. This cohort is essentially a serfdom of the 'colonist' Elites.

      The third cohort, and I'm not sure how large a voting cohort it is, consists of the deplorable chumps who actually believe in the foundations of this Republic which Tocqueville well understood. Who are neither Elitist colonists nor their wholly-dependent serfs.

      I guess we'll find out on Tuesday how we sort out.

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  8. First, you have to admit that you have a problem. Then follow that up with an honest self-appraisal. Then select the right man for the job (Wray must go and finding the right replacement is crucial, and that may require a war with McConnell). There can be no real change without cleaning house in FBIHQ (and yes, some good agents will get tossed in the process, but a fresh start is the key to moving fast). Restoring public trust is a must and that will likely require some hard medicine, no more double-standard, agents who broke the law will need to be prosecuted (and yes, that should include prison time where warranted). And last, there needs to a robust internal mechanism for self-correction. The next time a DC pol wants "his man" at the helm for political leverage, every agent should make it his business to assure that that crony fails spectacularly.

    And as a final point, Comey (as a sitting Director of the FBI) led a coup attempt against a duly elected president. That reality cannot be ignored or swept under the rug. If you don't make him pay, it will happen again.

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    1. Problem is the man at the helm is a political appointee that can be fired at will as Comey admitted to Congress. This fact, yes fact, was settled long ago.

      Lincoln’s VP Andrew Johnson was impeached not on criminality, but on politics. He wanted Sec of War Stanton gone and fired him. Congress, firebrand Republicans (Johnson was a Democrat) said no. They passed the Tenure of Office Act overriding Johnson’s veto that declared no president had the right to unilaterally fire a department head. All of the impeachment articles, save 1, were about violations of the act. The other was for bad mouthing Congress in public.

      The Tenure of Office Act was found to be unconstitutional much later in the next century.

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  9. Thanks for sharing Mark. Obviously this hits "home" with you and your experience. That being said:

    I was a former school board member for 8 years. School boards are a dichotomy of experiences from regulations, policy, collective bargaining and tax funding. During my time I was able to convince the teachers union to move from a compensation contract based on equal merit increases of xx% year over year to a compensation contract based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) where "floors" and "ceilings" were created to protect the school district from robbing the Education fund supported by tax payers.

    This was no easy task you see. Teachers unions are an excellent example of "Institutional" thinking. Changing the culture to support a compensation contract based on the CPI was looked at extremely suspiciously. Why? Teachers didn't have business degrees or backgrounds but rather education degrees and backgrounds.

    Trust developed with the school board was the only way we could achieve the collective bargaining agreement with the comp package to be successfully completed. The difference was the comp contract based on CPI floors/ceilings was only ratified by 80% of the union versus the regular 100%.

    The trust we had to achieve was developed through a "win-win" approach. Teachers needed to be "taught" that their livelihood was directly linked to the tax payers livelihood.

    Drawing on this example, is there any way the institutions of public government, FBI, DOJ, etc. can have their "culture" impacted in a way that is similar? I think yes and starting with the recent removal of protections for government workers is the way to go. We need people in public positions that are truly passionate about improving the lives of everyday Americans and how their taxpayer funded gov't entities perform.

    Tall order I acknowledge and thanks for letting me share.

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  10. Speaking of culture being the problem. File under can't make this up:

    Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner's Gun Violence Counselor Shoots Male Prostitute

    Krasner, of course, is one of those Soros DAs.

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  11. Slightly OT: Why are DOJ prosecutors seemingly or inherently left/liberal? (I would assume defense attorneys to be left/liberal.)

    And I would assume "law & order" types (FBI and DOJ prosecutors) to be right/conservative. At least, this is the stereotype.

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    1. SWC claims that it was Obama admin hiring policies:

      "When I started in the 90s, and all thru the the Clinton and Bush years, I'd say it was 50-50. Obama changed all that. The hiring at DOJ was 90% liberal, and older prosecutors like me were pushed out to create slots to hire into. Probably close to 75% or higher now."

      I retired in 2006. My perception is that the change came well before Obama was elected. To me, it had to do with generational shift, with Boomers taking control of institutions.

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    2. Products of the 60's university.
      Tom S.

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  12. So here's that FBI China story for today:

    "The FBI has arrested 5 people in "Operation Fox Hunt" with working on behalf of China to try and threaten people to return to that country who may have been wanted for crimes (legitimate or illegitimate charges) there."

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  13. The FBI problems you outline are difficult. My solution to these problems is at the personal level. If I am ever on a jury that is presented with any FBI involvement at all (lab, resources, etc), I will hang the jury. I encourage others to do the same. Make the FBI the liability to justice that it certainly is.

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    1. Well, then, at voir dire when you are asked to speak the truth (actual meaning), then you will be eliminated and not part of the jury.

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  14. Mark, please elaborate on "He lacked a broad understanding of the Bureau's mission. His tenure culminated with the Robert Hanssen debacle. Nuff said."
    Can you specify how Freeh's lack of a broad understanding helped lead to the Hanssen fiasco?

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    1. His lack of background in national security matters.

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    2. "He lacked a broad understanding of the Bureau's mission."

      The Richard Jewell circus was entirely a function of his hubris. The Hatfill fiasco and, some would say, fumbled uncovering of 9/11 could blamed on the FBI culture he nurtured (Sep '93 - Jun '01). Too often the promise of credentials, much less patronage, doesn't translate to actual capacity.

      To be honest the 90's saw a lot of bad outcomes for DoJ. Ruby Ridge, Branch Davidians (ATF), Eliรกn Gonzalez, Oklahoma City, 1st WTC bombing.

      Fortunately the success rate at infiltrating and shutting down the real threat to America, right-wing terrorist militias, has been 100%.
      Tom S.

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    3. In his testimony today Mr. Zuckerberg blamed the FBI for FB censorship of the Biden hard drive story.

      So who's lying?

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    4. Zuck's lips were moving, right?

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    5. "Fortunately the success rate at infiltrating and shutting down the real threat to America, right-wing terrorist militias, has been 100%."

      LOL. Did they use the "kneel" strategy?

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    6. A real classic from Zuck was his claim that, if FB is reigned-in, we won't be able to have elections, because (get this!) we'd lose the slew of registrations, and many poll-watchers, FB had facilitated/ recruited!
      So much of today's Left revolves around (to paraphrase Mencken) the avid fear, that someone, somewhere, may be capable of reasonable thought.

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    7. @ Anonymous @ 5:24

      Through "infiltration", which apparently means walking in the door and saying, "Wha'sup? Any you guys wanna buy some military grade det'nators?" or, "I got an idea, le's kidnap a gov'nor." Works every time. Of course Antifa isn't listed in the white pages so they're pretty much stymied in that direction, apparently.
      Tom S.

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  15. What's wrong with the Bureau? Is this a special Halloween edition? There are many frightening things in the attic. If they're not hidden away, it would be Halloween all year long.

    Where to begin? No proximate answer to the question can hope to be ascertained without first assembling and examining all identifiable FBI failures as a single subject of study. An independent outside task force comprised of a range of expertise and dedicated exclusively to that mission could be a good start.

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  16. Want to understand why large organizations, especially government organizations, read Hayek "The Road to Serfdom". If I recall correctly, chapter 6 or 7 is the most applicable.

    Basically, the people at the top are most likely corrupt, getting promoted often requires going along or participating in the corruption. Those who won't are likely to quit.

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  17. The cia, fbi, doj need to rearrange those consonants and vowels.

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  18. "The FBI's assessment was driven by the analysis of their behavioral science unit, which did a profile of Jewell and concluded that he fit the mold of a domestic terrorist."

    The original name of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) was "Behavioral Science Unit," or ... BSU.

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    1. That is correct as far as it goes. But but at the end of the day they were technocrats a thousand miles away from events, with literally no skin in they game. God deliver me from experts. Trial by process is not what any part of our justice system is supposed to be about.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/i-helped-make-richard-jewell-famous--and-ruined-his-life-in-the-process/2019/12/06/c3c205ec-177f-11ea-9110-3b34ce1d92b1_story.html

      "The FBI called Jewell to the Atlanta field office on Tuesday afternoon, pretending they were making a training tape. He was the hero, so they wanted his help. No need to bring a lawyer. They were going to lead him in, lead him on and then spring their trap. As they were trying to trick him into a confession, Freeh called Atlanta and told the agents in the room to read Jewell his rights. The agents made the situation worse by pretending that giving him his Miranda rights was part of the training tape."

      Maybe Gen'l Flynn sees some parallels there.

      https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/dec/18/louis-freeh-is-the-real-culprit-in-the-richard-jew/

      "Jewell agreed. But as the agents were reviewing Jewell’s background with him, Mr. Freeh called David W. “Woody” Johnson Jr., the FBI’s special agent in charge in Atlanta. Mr. Johnson was in his office down the hall from the room where Jewell was being questioned. With him were other SACs and Kent B. Alexander, the U.S. attorney in Atlanta.

      Mr. Freeh said the agents should read Jewell his Miranda rights.

      Any fresh agent out of the FBI Academy at Quantico knows that, based on a long line of court rulings, a suspect must be read his Miranda rights if he is in custody or is about to be arrested. Yet in Jewell’s case, neither was true.

      As revealed in my book “The Secrets of the FBI,” Mr. Johnson pointed this out to Mr. Freeh, and Mr. Alexander told Mr. Freeh on the speaker phone he agreed with Mr. Johnson. But the director was adamant.

      Robert M. “Bear” Bryant, who was about to be named deputy director under Mr. Freeh, was with the director when he made the call. A lawyer, Mr. Bryant also made the point to Mr. Freeh that Miranda rights were not required. Mr. Freeh wouldn’t listen and demanded that agents read Jewell his rights.

      Woody Johnson walked down the hallway and pulled out the two agents who were successfully interviewing Jewell. He passed along Mr. Freeh’s instruction. The agents went back to the conference room and read Jewell his rights. Jewell said he would like to call an attorney, and that ended the interview.

      “If we could have continued with Jewell, we could have confirmed what he told us and cleared him more quickly,” Woody Johnson told me.

      Not until seven months after the incident did Mr. Freeh acknowledge in congressional testimony his own role in the fiasco. Pointing out that he had been a federal judge, Mr. Freeh said, “It is a matter of legal speculation whether a court would have ruled that Miranda warnings were required in Mr. Jewell’s case.”

      Despite the fact that Jewell had gone there voluntarily, Mr. Freeh said he decided to order the warning “in an excess of caution” when he learned that the interview was “being conducted in a law enforcement structure [the FBI office].”


      Like the technocrats Freeh was a thousand miles away but had decided that Jewell was their man and wouldn't let go of it, thereby destroying a life, actually a couple of lives, and delayed the search for the true culprit. If he had allowed (trusted) his agents to do their jobs it may all have been avoided, or at least mitigated.
      Tom S.

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    2. Hate to break it to you, Tom, but the Atlanta FO agents believed Jewell was the perp. And once preconceived conclusion syndrome takes hold...

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    3. Possibly the out come would have been different had Freeh not interfered, causing Jewelleries to lawyer up, reinforcing the agents reliance on "science" that isn't really science. Perhaps not.

      The fact remains that Freeh, out of his over blown self evaluation of his experience as a fld agent, conflated with that of his judicial wisdom, over rode the advice of at least 5 other professionals to micro manage an investigation from D.C.

      The point is bad leadership is top down and one of its hallmarks is a lack of basic trust.

      I think my original argument stands. Freeh injected himself into an investigation at the lowest level, over a technicality that the fld agents were more than competent to handle and therefore contributed to a bad outcome for which he never apologized. Hubris.
      Tom S.

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  19. Main sources:
    LUDE Media (Main pages are NSFW)
    https://gtv.org/web/#/VideoPlay_UI
    https://gnews.org/
    - - - -
    https://twitter.com/WarRoomPandemic
    - - - -
    https://twitter.com/RaheemKassam
    - - - -
    https://www.youtube.com/c/RudyWGiuliani/videos
    - - - -
    https://twitter.com/peterschweizer

    Journalist Matthew Tyrmand and Peter Schweizer obtains 26,000 emails from Hunter Biden associate Bevan Cooney

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  20. I think the same problems that infect the FBI infects the government as a whole. There is too big to fail and then there is too big to actually function. Large corporations hit the same wall as well. The difference being is they are responsible to shareholders and don't survive it. Where a government entity is pretty much not liable to anyone and will continue to crawl along like a unstoppable zombie.

    I often tell people that today's popular "fire Wray" was formerly " fire Comey, fire Muller, fire Fresh, Sessions... All of the way back to Hoover whom undoubtedly had more calls for firing than any other director. That's a long history of expecting change and betterment from a parallel history of parachuting attorneys and federal judges.

    I don't think we need the majority of the adminstrative agencies, I don't think many of them have ever functioned as designed, nor can they.

    If you spend the time studying how we even ended up here you will understand the long historical bit by bit piece by piece dethroning of constitutional law. We started with a congress that could only enact laws within the District of Columbia and landed where we are today. Most of that within only the last 100 years.

    What do you expect when you stray so far from designed intent with all of the warnings an knowledge of why not to?

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    1. One quibble ...

      The US Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land which inherently means it covers more than DC.

      See Article VI Section 2

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    2. Good quibble...

      You have to take a step back and view it from the perspective of "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

      If you study case law you will see that held up wonderfully until about 1920. Before that there were many many MANY case that were flatly swatted down by the supreme court over this exact argument. Examples (read full histories) Hammer v. Dagenhart, Hill v. Wallace, Trusler v. Crooks, etc, etc.

      The constitution today is the supreme law of the land, devoid of the 10th amendment!

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  21. de Tocqueville wrote at length on the relationship between national government and the typical citizen. He considered one of the key factors to the success of American democracy the fact that the Federal gov't could exert virtually no force, except in very rare and constrained circumstances, on the average person.

    The Republicans accomplished a revolution with passage of the 14th Amend. in 1868 and effectively turned the Constitution on its head. There is no Incorporation Clause without the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause. The Due Process Clause leads inevitably to Incorporation, which naturally shades the 9th and 10th Amendments, causing them to wither into impotency, allowing the rise of the conjunctive Administrative and Regulatory States, and inevitably the Deep State.

    So yes, the Constitution did, originally, cover more than D.C., but that covering did more, by design, to limit the Legislature than the citizenry. Post 1868 the limit evolved to be the imagination of what ever legislator, judge, or bureaucrat decided to take an active interest in any given aspect of your life.

    The average American citizen, pre-1860, viewed their relationship with national government very differently than Americans post-1960.
    Tom S.

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    1. Tom,

      Great perspective. I often explain our relationship with the Federal Government pre civil war as being a citizen of your state and a resident of the United States to post war a citizen of the United States and a resident of your state.

      The 1860s saw the invention of adminstrative law, presidential executive orders and many many other bad things.

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  22. If the Bureau is a reflection of the larger culture from which its agents and managers are drawn then the KBG was also a reflection of its culture. Not suggesting any comparison between the two other than as a reflection of their respective cultures and an indication on where those cultures can lead. We are at the cusp of a full cultural shift where the Left assumes control (assuming a Biden win) of about all of the levers of power, including actual physical and financial power to compel compliance. The fundamental basis on which this Republic is founded is an acceptance of, and an agreement to comply with, the rules, said simply everyone agrees to play by the same rules win or lose. If that is lost, which the last four years demonstrates quite clearly it has been at least among the Democratic Party how can those that believe in the benefits of the rules, the rule of law, prevail when the opposition is prepared to sacrifice the rule of law for power? Is that not the most fundamental question we face as a nation? How can those that believe in the ultimate good of the rule of law prevail against those that don’t? The Democratic Party is clearly a concentration of the negative elements of the culture, CRT replaces the Marxist class struggle but provides useful divisions in society, they propose packing the Supreme Court, adding states for votes in the Senate and eliminating the Electoral College. None of those proposals are in any way based on any of the American founding principles or what Lincoln called our “ancient faith”. All are advanced in an effort to achieve consolidated power in order not to govern but to rule of America.

    Perhaps it is time to recognize that the culture is such that the damage that can and will be done by having representatives of that culture in control of a law enforcement agency which has no moral constraints and can read the rules to justify any conduct. That which cannot be justified will simply be covered up or marked top secret. Such an agency now provides such a small benefit to society and poses such a great threat to the Republic because by its culture it cannot be controlled or expected to act within it defined boundaries that its continued existence can no longer be justified. If culture is the driver, and this goes for the Republic at large, then what are the changes that will prevent the coopting of the power for partisan ends. It is beyond my powers to predict, or perhaps imagination to suggest, an institutional structural fix.
    I first came to this blog for your discussions on the Catholic Church and I note that the Pope has recently issued a statement that supports a radically different definition of marriage than the one under which the Catholic Church has operated for the last 2000 years, if the 2000 year old Catholic Church cannot withstand the effects of culture what hope does an increasingly godless 240 year old Republic have? I am sure that you have given thought to that question or similar ones. Thanks for your good work and insight. Your discussions help frame the issues and give us all a useful vocabulary to better understand and analyze those issues. Thanks again. Because it is the badge that gives you the gun not the gun that gives you badge.

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    1. That changed definition of marriage has deeper roots than the guy who dresses in white currently. It first made its way into 'official' documents at V2 but you can certainly trace it to the modernists of the 19th century. It's one sign among many of how deep our cultural crisis is.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

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  23. Mark... Great thread and though it has strayed great topic!!! Though I often have a different perspective I greatly appreciate your perspectives and writings.

    Thank you for what you do sir! ๐Ÿ‘

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