Of the letters we received in response to our commentary on "Crossfire Hurricane" being proven a total fraud, this is one we especially wanted to answer, to put the FBI's unconscionable political spying into historical perspective. They've done it before.
Having worked for the FBI in the early and mid ‘70s, and actually having met Director Hoover, I find the Special Agent's actions and attitudes involved with trying to corroborate allegations made in the dossier to be reprehensible. I'm certain had Mr. Hoover been in charge of the Bureau when all this garbage was alleged that it would have been crushed early on.
I know one thing for sure...if FBI agents knocked on my front door and wanted to speak with me, I'd order them off my front porch. I wouldn't talk to anyone from the Bureau ever. And that hurts me, but it's a fact!
From the Gov:
Thanks so much for writing. I’ve long spoken with pride about our rank-and-file FBI, no matter who was calling the shots from the top. I would imagine that most current and former FBI agents are as embarrassed and disgusted by the reprehensible conduct of McCabe, Comey, Strzok, Brian Auten and that group as you are.
Sadly, your advice not to talk with anyone from the FBI is on the mark. After what they did to set up and ambush Mike Flynn, deceiving him into thinking he was just having a casual meeting and didn’t need a lawyer, the trust is gone. It would be extremely ill-advised to speak to someone from the FBI without a lawyer present, even if you can’t imagine that you’ve done anything wrong.
It must have been quite a moment to meet someone with the stature of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, a powerful legend who served eight Presidents, running the Bureau for decades. Still, Hoover’s long tenure was also controversial, especially as it related to violations against the civil liberties of Americans. In other words, there was a whole lotta spyin’ goin’ on, and we didn’t really start learning the extent of it until the 1970s. I’d like to think Hoover would have refused to work against Trump by spying on innocent Americans associated with his campaign, but given his history, that’s very hard to say.
My writer/researcher Laura Ainsworth wrote about this a couple of years ago in her commentary, “The FBI’s Long, Proud History of Political Spying.”
“In an interview in 1971,” Ainsworth wrote, “J. Edgar Hoover revealed that he had bugged [Republican presidential nominee Barry] Goldwater’s plane on orders from the Oval Office. Why? ‘You do what the President of the United States orders you to do,’ he said. Hoover’s second-in-command, William C. Sullivan, also confirmed the spying operation.”
Ainsworth turned up an archival story from THE NEW YORK TIMES in December of 1975 that “details acts carried out ‘for political purposes’ by the FBI at the behest of all six Presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Richard Nixon.”
Aside from the breaking-and-entering of Democrat Party headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, which was carried out by Nixon’s re-election campaign, the most famous bugging episode, which was outlined in a 16-page report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is no doubt the FBI’s bugging of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s hotel rooms. This was done by Hoover’s FBI on three different occasions, on order from President Lyndon Johnson in the mid-’60s.
We’ve turned up something else of interest, a website called TODAY IN CIVIL LIBERTIES HISTORY. Here’s a page that describes an event from August 24, 1936, “FDR Authorizes FBI To Resume Political Spying.”
It includes a number of links to more information.
“Given a green light by FDR,” the piece reads, “Hoover went on to conduct the greatest violations of civil liberties by any single person in American history.”
It should be acknowledged that, then as now, the country faced serious threats. In the 1950s, it was Communism, of course, threatening America from within, and today, it’s –- wouldn’t you know? –- Communism, once again threatening America from within (and, at the moment, succeeding). Surveillance has necessarily been a part of the FBI’s activities. The problem is when that spying is done on American citizens for political purposes, and J. Edgar Hoover, on order from several U.S. presidents, crossed that line numerous times.
Apparently, Todd, at the time you met Director Hoover, the extent of these violations was not well known. Much of this came out during Sen. Frank Church’s congressional investigation in 1975-76. That, in turn, resulted from the exposure of documents taken during the break-in of a small FBI office in 1971. A book came out about this in 2014, “THE BURGLARY: THE DISCOVERY OF J. EDGAR HOOVER’S SECRET FBI, by Betty Medsger.
It’s important to note that Hoover was following orders that came from the very top, directy from the President in office at the time. So far, we don't have hard proof that FBI Director Jim Comey was acting under direct orders from President Obama to spy on the Trump campaign, but under Obama's tenure, not only did Comey’s FBI cross that same line and conduct political spying on Americans, but they also obtained warrants with uncorroborated and even falsified evidence. That’s taking it yet another step. And, as we reported, the agent in charge of "corroborating" the fictional evidence for "Crossfire Hurricane" still has his job with the Bureau.
It’s going to take a concerted effort --- by the next Republican President, please! --- to clean house at the Justice Department, State Department and FBI and to make sure laws are followed. The dedicated rank-and-file deserve to be working for agencies they can be proud of once again.