Where did it start and where did it end? That's the question that should be answered. AP PHOTO/Kevin Wolf.
Yesterday, former FBI Director James Comey appeared on Fox News Sunday and was grilled by host Chris Wallace about his part in the FBI’s investigation concerning the Trump campaign and its involvement with Russia, and Comey’s FBI handling of FISA warrants to surveil Carter Page, an American citizen.
Comey, who had just days earlier claimed the Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report had vindicated himself and the FBI, admitted that he was wrong, and the IG was right. The IG’s report detailed 17 problematic areas of questionable actions on the original warrant request and the subsequent renewal applications. While the IG said he found no evidence of political bias, it’s hard to believe that all 17 errors went against the Trump campaign coincidentally.
At least Comey finally admitted the FBI failed to live up to the standards to which we should all hold them accountable. However, the larger question, as if this whole attempt to undermine the 2016 election was not large enough, was also asked by Comey during the interview.
When Wallace pointed out that the issues reported by the IG occurred while Comey was still Director of the FBI, Comey replied by saying if he were still the Director, he would be doing the same thing as current Director Chris Wray, tha is seeking to find out what went wrong and what needed to be done to stop it from happening again.
Then Comey asked a question that many are overlooking in the arguments over whether the issues in question were political in nature or just profound incompetence. Comey continued by saying the most important question here is “Is it systemic? Are there problems in other cases?”
The answer to that question would go long way towards explaining what happened during the Carter Page FISA request. Is there a pattern of similar behavior in other cases? Did the same people conduct themselves in a similar manner when requesting other FISA warrants? Did certain factions of the FBI attempt to railroad ordinary citizens in their zeal for law enforcement. Did the FBI overstep its boundaries when attempting to spy (or surveil, if you prefer that term) on any of us who were not involved with politics?
Is this type behavior limited to the FBI, or do other intelligence agencies within our borders commit the same infractions, omissions, or lack of competency in their investigations? Is the scope of the behavior limited to a few partisan supervisors, or does it go much higher up the food chain?
How ironic is it that the movie Richard Jewel opened this weekend? Jewel’s testimony before Congress in 1997 sounds eerily like the IG’s testimony last week and this happened over 20 years ago. How many ordinary citizens have had their lives destroyed by over-zealous prosecution, but lacked the resources to fight back and didn’t receive enough press to result in a Congressional investigation?
These are troubling times, and I’m not pointing a finger at one side or the other. I’m certain the vast majority of FBI and other intelligence agency employees are simply doing their jobs to the best of their ability and are doing so because of a love for their country and all its citizens.
But these dedicated employees need to realize who the bad apples are and take steps to preserve the integrity of the agencies they serve. Surely someone at the FBI must have seen what was going on during this debacle.
We already know we can’t trust the media. We already know we can’t trust the government. Now, we are finding out we can’t trust the very agencies that have the sole responsibility to protect us, from our enemies both foreign and domestic.
What do the nation’s ordinary citizens have left?