The last three days have seen some extraordinary, and disgusting, events in the story of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Even now, fifty years after the death of J. Edgar Hoover, most Americans grew up thinking of the FBI as the American Scotland Yard, or Sureté. But in fact it has become, or always was, equivalent to the Second and Third Chief Directorate of the Committee for State Security (Komitet Gosudarstvennoye Bezopasnosti, abbr. KGB) in the days of the Soviet Union. But that does not mean the FBI has always been loyal to something called “the Government of the United States.” Rather, it has been loyal to the Democratic Party, or perhaps to one man: Barack H. Obama. And in the last three days, it has proved that beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty.
The FBI and Facebook
Thursday (August 25) brought the first set of revelations. Mark Zuckerburg, head of Facebook, appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience. Joe Rogan asked him how he “handled” the censorship of the Hunter Biden Laptop Story. Zuckerburg could have settled for distinguishing Facebook’s admittedly nuanced approach with the brute-force, you-shall-say-nothing approach of Twitter. (Twitter even suspended the account of The New York Post!) Instead Zuckerburg Said The Quiet Part Out Loud. Headline USA quotes him: I mean, basically, the background here is the FBI, I think, basically came to us, to some folks on our team, and said, “Hey, just so you know, like, you should be on high alert. There was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election, we have it on notice that basically there’s about to be some kind of dump that’s going to be similar to that.”
If the FBI came to Facebook, then they certainly came to Twitter – and Google, YouTube, Pinterest, Spotify, and many more. (They probably came to Gab, too, but Gab would tell them what they could do with their “high alerts” in unprintable and unrepeatable language, if Andrew Torba, its head, was not a Christian.)
Notice also that the FBI was repeating the Russia, Russia, Russia canard. Which they, under Special Agent (or Inspector?) Peter Strzok, started.
Locking the laptop
In fact, that laptop story began when a computer repairman, to whom Hunter had brought his laptop, turned it over to the FBI. We now know that the FBI warned its agents not to touch the laptop.
We know this from witnesses who have come to Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) as well as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
The next day, the FBI denied that they can
ask, or direct, companies to take action on information received.
Likewise, Facebook themselves denied that Zuckerburg said anything new.
Both these denials ring hollow. Particularly since Facebook, under Zuckerburg’s leadership and with his direct financing, effectively told supervisors and clerks of elections what to do before the Election of 2020.
The FBI, the Trump Raid, and an affidavit treated Soviet-fashion
A fine document this is – thirty-eight pages, half of them fully or nearly blanked out! It looks very much like the letter Count Leon d’Algout sends to Nina “Ninotchka” Yakushova while she is still in the Soviet Union – after the mail censors get through with it. (Ninotchka, dir. Ernst Lubitsch, with Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, and Ina Claire; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1939.)
And even that one, they wouldn’t let me read. It begins, “Dear Ninotchka,” and ends, “Yours, Leon.”
To paraphrase Herman Wouk, it tells us nothing we didn’t know before, and explains nothing we wanted explained. Except! We now know that the FBI relied on news media reports in their supporting affidavit! From Paragraph 30 (Page 11):
According to a CBS Miami article titled “Moving Trucks Spotted At Mar-a-Lago,” published Monday, January 18, 2021, at least two moving trucks were observed at the PREMISES on January 18, 2021.
The FBI has blanked out the rest of Paragraph 30, and many Paragraphs after that.
Another paragraph, with the context blanked out
From Paragraph 53:
I am aware of an article published in Breitbart on May 5, 2022, available at https://www.breitbart.comvoliticsi2022i05/05/documents-mar-a-lago-marked-classified-wereah-eadv-declassifi.ed-kash-patel-savs/, which states that Kash Patel, who is described as a former top FPOTUS administration official, characterized as “misleading” reports in other news organizations that NARA had followed classified materials among records that FPOTUS provided to NARA from Mar-a-Lago. Patel alleged that such reports were misleading because FPOTUS had declassified the materials at issue.
Paragraph 53 says at least one other sentence. But again, the FBI has blanked it out, together with the next seven paragraphs.
The problem: the FBI did this once before, in obtaining a FISA warrant under false pretenses against Mr. Carter Page.
You’ll regret this!
John Solomon, head of Just the News, interviewed Kevin Brock, formerly the Assistant Director for Intelligence at the FBI. He minced no words:
I will caveat all of this by saying we can only see what we can see, but the first thing that jumped out to me is that the probable cause statement focuses on the nature of the documents, and where they are. But it doesn’t, at least in the unredacted portion, address the main element of the criminal federal statutes that they cite.
The FBI should not have participated in this investigation. It is something that needs to be settled along established routes in that regard that we traditionally used. There was no need for law enforcement involvement in this. And there was certainly no need for an invasive search for the residence. I think they’re going to regret this.
From what I can see, that’s not established in the probable cause. And there’s an allusion to the argument from the Trump advocates that the former president has was within his authority to declassify and to establish what a presidential record is.
Wanted: a Special Master
Mr. Brock is talking about “Exhibit 1,” a letter from Trump’s lawyers saying Trump could absolutely declassify anything. Indeed the affidavit (what we can read of it) never refers to classified information. It refers to classified markings. But remember: Trump had left a standing order that he could declassify anything by virtue of removing it to:
- The White House residential quarters, or:
- Mar-A-Lago before Biden’s Inauguration.
We still don’t know why the FBI acted as it did. Or at least, the FBI refuses to tell us. So we can, indeed must (per the Declaration of Independence), infer worst-case. And worst-case is that the FBI sought and got a writ of assistance against Trump. Remember what a writ of assistance is: a general warrant to search anywhere and everywhere for anything and everything.
Trump has sued the government over that raid. Earlier he filed a motion before Judge Aileen Cannon to have a Special Master examine everything the FBI took from Mar-A-Lago, to determine whether the FBI violated attorney-client privilege. This morning Judge Cannon scheduled a formal hearing for Thursday, September 1. But she also signaled her “preliminary intent” to grant the motion for a Special Master.
A Special Master is an officer of the court who acts on the court’s behalf and in the court’s place. In essence, a Special Master is a vice-judge. The appointment of a Special Master would mean that no prosecutor could look at the seized documents without an objective observer present.
The real FBI v. the idealized FBI of movies and TV
At this time, CNAV calls on its readers to conduct a thought experiment. Imagine, say, James Stewart as Agent “Chip” Hardesty, FBI, in The FBI Story (1959). Or imagine Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., as Inspector Louis Erskine, FBI, in the Quinn Martin TV show The FBI. Now imagine either man having any part of the Trump Raid or its planning. Imagine either man swearing before a judge that he needs to search the private residence of a former President of the United States, on the basis of, of all things, news reports. Now imagine either man leading a team to enter said residence and peremptorily order the subject’s attorneys to leave. Then imagine whether either man could calmly go about a professional search, while members of his team rifled the private closets and dressers of the lady of the house.
If you have any conscience or any sense of decency at all, you cannot imagine that! Nor can CNAV imagine Mervyn LeRoy or Quinn Martin ever accepting a script depicting FBI agents behaving this way. Certainly J. Edgar Hoover, who commissioned both projects, would have flatly disallowed any such movie or episode. Even though he was running COINTELPRO at the time, Director Hoover would never have been as brazen as Christopher Wray has been, in attacking a sitting, then a former, President of the United States to the partisan gain of the opposite political party.
J. Edgar Hoover would not have done this
And no, J. Edgar Hoover would not have done such a thing. Not out of the kindness of his heart, but in the belief that neither Party was better than the other. Remember: all official Washington was corrupt in Hoover’s day. Hoover saw Presidents come and go, and wanted them all to leave his agency alone. But since his death, two Presidents have realized everyone’s worst fears. Bad enough, while Hoover lived, that he behaved so “imperiously” that Life Magazine famously designed a cover featuring a marble-like Roman-style portrait bust of Hoover, wearing the golden oak-leaf chaplet called Corona Civica, and captioned that cover Emperor of the FBI. What’s worse is that the present FBI has let two Presidents turn it into an anti-dissident police. First was Barack Obama; now it is Joe Biden. Obama’s Third Term, indeed.
This same FBI has actually investigated parents as “domestic terrorism suspects” for daring question their school boards over school curriculum. What they will say to thirteen school boards that “flipped” in Florida on August 23, we can only guess.
Destroy the monster
Two Presidents created a monster. At present only one President and possibly another potential President can destroy that monster. Destroy it, someone must – though if Rep. Jordan is correct, a change of leadership might suffice. But that will require sacking not only the Director but also many Assistant Directors and senior agents. Barack Obama must have salted that agency more thoroughly than Robert Iger salted the Walt Disney Company. Desalting it will require a Trump – because Trump has his own security force, which Ron DeSantis does not have. But we cannot expect this monster to go down quietly. Prepare for the new FBI Story – and for your part in it.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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