Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Did You Hear The One About ...

... The “slimy” and “creepy” high-ranking FBI agent who groped three of his female subordinates, made inappropriate sexual comments in the workplace, and regularly drank on the job?

I didn't actually pay any attention to the story until I was catching up on Twitter just now, and I saw Kurt Schlichter and Shipwreckedcrew weighing in on this--with a few others. Here's how the discussion went ...

There's truth in what SWC is saying--to some extent. This is the extent: The Bureau isn't necessarily all that different from any other work place--especially now. I entered in 1978 and retired at the beginning of 2007. During that time there was a huge culture change within the organization. My generation--Boomers--was part of that change that worked its way out over the decades. I dare say SWC is more right now than he would have been a couple of decades ago. Which is hardly surprising--ultimately any government bureaucracy mirrors the culture that empowers it.

Years ago when people I met asked me what I did for a living and I told them, they'd typically say: Wow, that must be exciting/interesting/something along those lines. They usually had very fanciful ideas about what the job involved. I tended to respond along the lines: I'm a bureaucrat. That wasn't totally true, either, of course. The FBI does handle a lot of fascinating investigations and responsibilities. It can also involve high risk situations that most people don't encounter on the job. 

I liked my job very much. But there was always the other side, which was being a government bureaucrat. That had its good and bad sides. Bureaucracy is necessary in a complex and large government, but It takes certain types of people to put up with it--it's not for everyone. On the other hand there are those who take to bureaucratic culture like a fish to water. Those were often--not exclusively--the ones who advanced administratively. I knew managers whom I regarded as stand up guys, and then there were others.

This hits on the aspect of what SWC said above that I would tend to disagree with. Advancing administratively in a bureaucratic organization doesn't necessarily make one an alpha male. Some are, some aren't. The managers I knew whom I would have regarded as alpha males tended not to be the ones like the subject of the article. The subject of the article sounds like a knucklehead rather than an alpha male. I certainly knew some guys who advanced administratively and had the impression that that entitled them to a harem in the workplace. Most of them paid the price.

IMO, SWC comes out on the short end of that exchange.

SWC is correct about the influx of military types during that time period. However there's a difference. My generation also included many military types, but they were often guys who had been drafted and sent to Vietnam, or perhaps another Cold War semi-hot spot. I didn't know many officers from that group. Being drafted doesn't make you an alpha male, nor does being sent to Vietnam. It's simply what it is. You have to make a life once you're out of the military and the Bureau was somewhat smooth transition. But not entirely, since many of those guys were antagonistic to bureaucratic climbers. 

The generation that SWC is talking about was different. They had all enlisted in the professional, volunteer, military. I knew a fair number of officers in that group. They were a quite different breed from my generation. They tended to be adept at gaming the system, in a way similar to agents who had risen from the ranks of support employees to become agents. Obviously that's a generalization, but I think there's truth in it. Guys who game the system are, to my mind, antithetical to the usual understanding of what an alpha male is.

The Strzoks of the Bureau are very much in that mold. McCabe, of course, was never in the military. I would say that the transition from the professional military to the Bureau was a smoother transition for those guys.

I never worked under Obama, but things were changing radically already under Dubya, so I can only imagine. I suspect that the process simply gained even more momentum.

Whatever. Another life.


  1. I remember being actually shocked that the FBI under Bush began using CAIR to help 'train' FBI agents with respect to Islam. When I read those reports I sensed we were screwed. Little did I know how badly the rape was going to be. At this point, I'd love to see a new process implemented that required an obtrusive polygraph every year for FBI, DoJ, and CIA employees to keep their jobs. Better to cull too many than to retain the kind of arrogant, seditious jerks we employ now.

  2. My experience in large organizations had been that these culturally crafted morons are usually far less alpha and far more cuck'ish in origin. Some one gives them a few inches of stick and they suddenly start loosing their minds in abusing those around them... The bullied becomes the bully wrapped in a cloak of nonstop passive aggressive sideways behavior.

    It doesn't take a Government entity to breed that, corporate America does it all day long.

    1. Yeah, I think that's where SWC is off base. Abusing authority doesn't make you an alpha male, just a jerk. Call them out and you'll find that out pretty soon.