Having spent the early years of my military career as a special agent in the Army version of the FBI, I can only wonder at the systematic abuse of power accrued by the Bureau over the last three administrations. How can any agency in our system of government escape accountability for such abuses? Remember James Comey’s blithe dismissal of charges against Hillary Clinton or the Bureau’s concerted efforts to sabotage Donald Trump’s presidency? What about those leaks to a biased media about Trump’s supposed ties to Russian espionage, the endless investigation by former FBI Director Robert Mueller that eventually produced nothing? Just last week, Senator Chuck Grassley confronted FBI Director Wray, alleging that “whistle blowers” had informed him of “political bias” in the agency’s handling of the Hunter Biden laptop. BREAKING: Grassley Confronts FBI Chief Wray Over 'Political Bias' In Hunter Biden Investigation - Bing video
Just when it seemed like the FBI might never receive its come-uppance, it seriously miscalculated Monday’s egregious raid on President Trump’s Florida home, the first such outrage in American history. Why did no one in authority understand - or even suspect - that they were igniting a firestorm? Heavily armed agents ransacked Mr. Trump’s private office and even fondled the wardrobe of his wife, the former First Lady of the United States. It is hard to imagine anything worse but, 48 hours later, no clarification is made, no justification tendered as President Biden jets off on vacation, his Attorney General stands mute and everyone in the White House clams up. The only answer not demanded by the White House press corps: “If President Biden really didn’t know about the raid, then why didn’t he? Last year, he was surprised by Afghanistan: Is he equally clueless about Florida?”
This Keystone Kops raid is the behavior of Third World dictatorships. As many outraged observers have lately noted, these are also the tactics of the East German Stasi, their Nazi predecessors or the Russian KGB. If that seems like an exaggeration, then consider the famous boast of Lavrenti Beria, the KGB’s most notorious chief: "Show me the man and I will show you the crime." https://www.oxfordeagle.com/2018/05/09/show-me-the-man-and-ill-show-you-the-crime/ Hey, come to think of it, this same motto also motivates the intrepid investigators of the House January 6th committee! Add in the highly suspicious official silence as well as the raid’s conspicuous over-reach, and there you have it: a fishing expedition designed to serve the agenda-driven 1/6 committee, not a documentary quest brought by an outraged librarian.
Call me cynical but this distrust of investigative excess was one of my earliest lessons. As chief of investigations for a front-line Army intelligence unit during the Cold War, I was summoned by our commander into a highly confidential session. After swearing me to secrecy, this future general gestured to a banker’s box of investigative files while outlining an astounding tale. Despite struggling to counter Soviet espionage, some of our not-so-special agents had taken it upon themselves to spy on expatriate Democrats! Astonished, I asked “Whose idea was this? Were they afraid these Democrats were preparing their absentee ballots to vote for George McGovern?” He laughed but explained that a detailed investigation would insure punishment for any wrong-doing. “Meanwhile, Captain, you are to take personal charge of these files to insure they are ‘sealed and segregated’ until the formal investigation begins.” And so I did, until the day when a distinguished- looking civilian walked into our headquarters, informally introducing himself as “Bob” – actually the Hon. Robert Froehlke, Secretary of the Army! Things were quickly put right; but similar incidents throughout the 1970’s fueled reforms that gradually established permanent Congressional oversight of the steadily growing intelligence bureaucracy. https://www.nytimes.com/1974/09/19/archives/us-checks-reply-by-army-to-suit-sends-investigator-to-berlin-in.html
The lesson for the future: You cannot centralize investigative powers in what the Soviets called "certain of the organs of state security" without expecting those powers to be abused. Undeterred, we have indulged in a continuous orgy of centralization for more than three decades under both parties. We have also failed to ask: who shall watch the watch-dogs? Should you discover, for example, a sudden enthusiasm for purging/reforming/de-funding the FBI, then you only have to worry about those other 17 intelligence agencies which were never reformed after 911 – this despite being accused by the 911 Commission of an institutional "failure of imagination," 9/11 Commission slams 'failure of imagination' | CBC News
Sadly, none of those agencies were ever disciplined and no senior leader was compelled to walk the plank. Is it any wonder their latter-day successors are so arrogant?
NOTE: Colonel Allard is the author of Command, Control and the Common Defense, winner of the 1991 National Security Book Award. After leaving active duty, he became an on-air military analyst for the networks of NBC News