What Will the FBI Not Do?
By: Victor Davis Hanson
December 26, 2022
The FBI on Wednesday finally broke its silence and responded to the revelations on Twitter of close ties between the bureau and the social media giant—ties that included efforts to suppress information and censor political speech.
“The correspondence between the FBI and Twitter show nothing more than examples of our traditional, longstanding, and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements, which involve numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries,” the bureau said in a statement. “As evidenced in the correspondence, the FBI provides critical information to the private sector to allow them to protect themselves and their customers. The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public. Unfortunately, conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.”
Almost all of the FBI communique is untrue, except the phrase about the bureau’s “engagements which involve numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries.”
Future disclosures will no doubt reveal similar FBI subcontracting with other social media concerns of Silicon Valley to stifle free expression and news deemed problematic to the FBI’s agenda.
The FBI did not merely engage in “correspondence” with Twitter to protect the company and its “customers.” Instead, it effectively hired Twitter to suppress the free expression of some of its users, as well as news stories deemed unhelpful to the Biden campaign and administration—to the degree that the bureau’s requests sometimes even exceeded those of Twitter’s own left-wing censors.
The FBI did not wish to help Twitter “to protect themselves [sic],” given the bureau’s Twitter liaisons were often surprised at the FBI’s bold requests to suppress the expression of those who had not violated Twitter’s own admittedly biased “terms of service” and “community standards.”
The FBI and its helpers on the Left now reboot the same boilerplate about “conspiracy theorists” and“misinformation” smears used against anyone who rejected the FBI-fed Russian collusion hoax and the bureau’s peddling of the “Russian disinformation” lie to suppress accurate pre-election news about the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop.
The FBI is now, tragically, in freefall. The public is at the point, first, of asking what improper or illegal behavior will the bureau not pursue, and what, if anything, must be done to reform or save a once great but now discredited agency.
Consider the last four directors, the public faces of the FBI for the last 22 years. Ex-director Robert Mueller testified before Congress that he simply would not or could not talk about the fraudulent Steele dossier. He claimed that it was not the catalyst for his special counsel investigation of Donald Trump’s alleged ties with the Russians when, of course, it was.
Mueller also testified that he was “not familiar” with Fusion GPS, although Glenn Simpson’s opposition research firm subsidized the dossier through various cutouts that led back to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. And the skullduggery in the FBI-subsidized dossier helped force the appointment of Mueller himself.
While under congressional oath, Mueller’s successor James Comey on some 245 occasions claimed that he “could not remember,” “could not recall,” or “did not know” when asked simple questions fundamental to his involvement with the Russian collusion hoax.
Comey, remember, memorialized a confidential conversation with President Trump on an FBI device and then used a third party to leak it to the New York Times. In his own words, the purpose was to force a special counsel appointment. The gambit worked, and his friend and predecessor Robert Mueller got the job. Twenty months and $40 million later, Mueller’s investigation tore the country apart but could find no evidence that Trump, as Steele alleged, colluded with the Russians to throw the 2016 election.
Comey also seems to have reassured the president that he was not the target of an ongoing FBI investigation, when in fact, Trump was.
Comey was never indicted for either misleading or lying to a congressional committee or leaking a document variously considered either confidential or classified.
While under oath, his interim successor, Andrew McCabe, on several occasions flat-out lied to federal investigators. Or as the office of the inspector general put it:
As detailed in this report, the OIG found that then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lacked candor, including under oath, on multiple occasions in connection with describing his role in connection with a disclosure to the WSJ and that this conduct violated FBI Offense Codes 2.5 and 2.6. The OIG also concluded that McCabe’s disclosure of the existence of an ongoing investigation in the manner described in this report violated the FBI’s and the Department’s media policy and constituted misconduct.
McCabe purportedly believed Trump was working with the Russians as a veritable spy—a false accusation based entirely on the FBI’s paid, incoherent prevaricator Christopher Steele. And so, McCabe discussed with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein methods to have the president’s conversations wiretapped via a Rosenstein-worn stealthy recording device, presumably without a warrant.
Note the FBI ruined the lives of General Michael Flynn and Carter Page with false allegations of criminal conduct or untruthful testimonies. Under current director Christopher Wray, the FBI has surveilled parents at school boards meetings—on the prompt of the National School Boards Association, whose president wrote Attorney General Merrick Garland alleging that bothersome parents upset over critical race indoctrination groups were supposedly violence-prone and veritable terrorists.
Under Wray, the FBI staged the psychodramatic Mar-a-Lago raid on an ex-president’s home. The FBI likely leaked the post facto myths that the seized documents contained “nuclear codes” or “nuclear secrets.”
Under Wray, the FBI perfected the performance-art, humiliating public arrests of former White House officials or Biden Administration opponents, whether it was the nocturnal rousting of Project Veritas muckraker James O’Keefe in his underwear or the arrest—with leg restraints—of former White House advisor Peter Navarro at Reagan National Airport for misdemeanor contempt of Congress charge or the detention of Trump election lawyer John Eastman at a restaurant with his family and the confiscation of his phone. Neither O’Keefe nor Eastman has yet been charged with any serious crimes.
The FBI arguably interfered in two presidential elections, and a presidential transition, and possibly determinatively so. In 2016, James Comey announced that his investigation had found that Hillary Clinton had improperly if not illegally used her private email server to conduct official State Department business, some of it confidential and classified, and likely intercepted by foreign governments. All that was a clear violation of federal statutes. Comey next, quite improperly as a combined FBI investigator and a de facto federal prosecutor, deduced that such violations did not merit prosecution.
Around the same time, the FBI had hired as a source the foreign national and political opposition hitman Christopher Steele. It helped Steele to spread among the media his fraudulent dossier and used its unverified and false contents to win FISA warrants against U.S. citizens on the bogus charges of colluding with the Russians to throw the election to Donald Trump. By the FBI’s admission, it would not have obtained warrants to surveil Trump campaign associates without the use of Steele’s dossier, which it also admittedly either knew was a fraud or could not corroborate.
Again, such allegations in the dossier were false and, apparently, the FBI soon knew they were bogus since one of its own lawyers—the now-convicted felon Kevin Clinesmith—found it necessary also to alter a court-submitted document to feign incriminatory information.
The FBI, on the prompt of lame-duck members of the Obama Justice Department, during a presidential transition, set up an entrapment ambush of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. It was an effort to lure Flynn into admitting to a violation of the Logan Act, a 223-year-old law that has led to only two indictments and zero convictions.
During the 2020 election, the FBI suppressed knowledge of its possession of Hunter Biden’s laptop. Early on, the bureau knew that the computer and its contents were authentic and yet kept its contents suppressed.
Moreover, the FBI sought to contract out Twitter (at roughly $3.5 million) as a veritable subsidiarity to suppress social media traffic about the laptop and speech the bureau deemed improper.
Again, although the FBI knew the laptop in its possession was likely genuine, it still sought to use Twitter employees to suppress pre-election mention of that reality. At the same time, bureau officials remained mum when 51 former “intelligence officials” misled the country by claiming that the laptop had all the hallmarks of “Russian disinformation.” Polls later revealed that had the public known the truth about the laptop, a significant number likely would have voted differently—perhaps enough to change the outcome of the election.
The media, Twitter, Facebook, and former intelligence operatives were all following the FBI’s preliminary warning bulletin that “Foreign Actors and Cybercriminals Likely to Spread Disinformation Regarding 2020 Election Results”—even as the bureau knew the laptop in its possession was most certainly not Russian disinformation. And, of course, the FBI had helped spread the Russian collusion hoax in 2016.
In addition, the FBI-issued phones of agent Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page, along with members of Robert Mueller’s special counsel “dream team”—all under subpoena—had their data mysteriously wiped clean, purportedly “by accident.”
Apparently, the paramours Strzok and Page, in particular, had much more to hide, given how earlier they had frequently expressed their venom toward candidate Donald Trump. Strzok boasted to Page that the FBI in general, and Andrew McCabe in particular, had an “insurance policy”means of denying Trump the presidency:
I want to believe the path you threw out in Andy’s office—that there’s no way he gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take the risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.
When some of their embarrassing texts emerged, both were dismissed by the special counsel. But Mueller carefully did so by staggering Strozk and Pages’ departures, and not immediately releasing the reasons for their firings or reassignments.
To this day, the public has no idea what the FBI was doing on January 6, how many FBI informants and agents were among the rioters, and to what degree they knew in advance of the protests. The New York Times reporter most acquainted with the January 6 riot, Matthew Rosenberg, dismissed the buffoonish violence as “no big deal” and scoffed, “They were making this an organized thing that it wasn’t.”
“There were a ton of FBI informants among the people who attacked the Capitol,” Rosenberg noted. We have never been told anything about that “ton”—a topic of zero interest to the January 6 select committee.
What are the people to do about a federal law enforcement agency whose directors either repeatedly lie under oath, mislead, or do not cooperate with congressional overseers? What should we do with a bureau that alters court documents, deceives the court with information the FBI had good reason to know was false, and leaks records of confidential presidential conversations to the media to prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor? What should be done with a government agency that pays social media corporations to warp the dissemination of the news and suppress free expression and communications? Or an agency that hires a foreign national to gather dirt on a presidential candidate and plots to ensure that there is “no way” a presidential candidate “gets elected” and destroys subpoenaed evidence?
What, if anything, should the people do about a once-respected law enforcement agency that repeatedly smears its critics, most recently as “conspiracy theorists”?
The current FBI leadership under Christopher Wray, in the tradition of recent FBI directors, has stonewalled congressional overseers about FBI activity during the Trump and Biden administrations. In “Après moi, le déluge” fashion, the bureau acts as if it assumes the next Republican administration in office will remove the current hierarchy. And thus, it assumes, for now, not cooperating with Republican investigations while Democrats hold control of the Senate and White House for a brief while longer ensures exemption.
Wray, most recently, cut short his Senate testimony on the pretext of an unspecified engagement, which turned out to be flying out on the FBI Gulfstream jet to his vacation home.
Yet the bureau’s lack of candor, contrition, and cooperation has only further alienated the public, especially traditional and conservative America, characteristically the chief source of support for the FBI.
There have been all sorts of remedies proposed for the bureau.
The three reforms most commonly suggested include:
1) simply dissolve the FBI in the belief that its concentration of power in Washington has become uncontrollable and is increasingly put to partisan service, including but not limited to the warping of U.S. presidential elections;
2) move the FBI headquarters out of the Washington D.C. nexus, preferably in the age of Zoom to a more convenient and central location in the United States, perhaps an urban site such as Salt Lake City, Denver, Kansas City, or Oklahoma City; or
3) break up and decentralize the FBI and redistribute its various divisions to different departments to ensure that the power of its $11 billion budget and 35,000 employees are no longer aggregated and put in service of particular political agendas.
The next two years are dangerous times for the FBI—and the country. The House will soon likely begin investigations of the agency’s improper behavior. Yet, simultaneously, the Biden Justice Department will escalate its use of the bureau as a partisan investigative service for political purposes.
The FBI’s former embattled, high-ranking administrators who have been fired or forced to leave the agency—Andrew McCabe, James Comey, Peter Strzok, James Baker, Lisa Page, and others—will continue to appear on the cable news stations and social media to inveigh against critics of the FBI, despite being all deeply involved in the Russia-collusion hoax.
Merrick Garland will continue to order the FBI to hound perceived enemies through surveillance and performance art arrests. And the people will only grow more convinced the bureau has become Stasi-like and cannot be reformed but must be broken up—even as in extremis a defiant and unapologetic FBI will, as its latest communique shows, attack its critics.
We are left with the dilemma of Quis custodiet Ipsos custodes. Who watches the watchers?