It started in July 2016, with squads of FBI agents sitting in conference rooms from coast to coast, listening to then-FBI Director James Comey’s press conference on the subject of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Public corruption squads, organized crime squads, and foreign counterintelligence squads all had suspended their routine investigations for this momentous moment.
The HRC Investigation, as it was referred to by agents, was understood by all as a true test of the bureau’s ability to function objectively, free of political influence. Initially enthusiastic, the agents paid close attention, with a growing sense of certainty that a criminal referral was imminent, for in the United States, even those at the highest level of power are held to account for their acts.
Then—loud exclamations of shock, disgust, disappointment. “This is b******t!” shouted the supervisor of a New York public corruption squad. He, as well as thousands of rank-and-file agents, didn’t know it then, but so began a downward spiral that would take from the FBI its reputation as the world’s truly independent and objective law enforcement agency, whose motto, never sullied, has been “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” (italics mine).
The events that followed have been well-documented, encompassing the revelations of bias and deceit on the seventh floor of FBI headquarters—the executive suite of the J. Edgar Hoover Building, or JEH as it is known to its denizens (of which I was one, in another era). The staining of the bureau perhaps has come to an end with the firing of former Deputy Assistant FBI Director Peter Strzok, who has monetized his limitless hubris, having almost reached his goal of $500,000 on GoFundMe.com. He can arguably be described as one of the most successful panhandlers of all time—a wonderful role model for future fallen sycophants.
Few outside the FBI had heard of Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and Strzok before the events starting with that July bombshell. For that matter, few inside the bureau were familiar with these upper-management executives.
Now, perhaps, the housecleaning on the seventh floor is nearing completion. The entire original cast of bad actors has been removed. Additionally, as revealed by Epoch Times reporter Ivan Pentchoukov on July 20, an additional layer of upper management—those serving immediately below McCabe and his acolytes—have all chosen to submit their retirements; their timing suggests, perhaps, a link to the departure of their immediate superiors.
But these senior managers, who are top-level decision-makers at the FBI, weren’t operating in a vacuum. They didn’t—and couldn’t—have been making the decisions and implementing the policies that they executed without the knowledge and concurrence of their equivalent counterparts at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The next step, then, is for the focus to shift to the DOJ and for the commencement of a thorough investigation to uncover impropriety among the DOJ’s career upper-level executives.
While public confidence in the FBI’s independence has recently eroded, the decline has been brewing at the DOJ for several years. Having exercised their authority and discretion in highly public and controversial cases, ranging from Enron to HRC, career federal prosecutors Rod Rosenstein and Andrew Weissmann have earned what would justifiably be a primary spot as subjects of such an investigation.
They have been the subjects of public, and sometimes official, scrutiny and have received significant media attention, but they haven’t been subjected to systematic investigation. Much has been made of the fact that there were no criminal prosecutions in the course of the Obama administration, differentiating it from all past administrations.
Is it because human nature was suspended for eight years within the confines of the Obama White House? Or, as is more likely, did the DOJ choose to turn a blind eye to criminal acts committed by those serving in the Obama White House?
A formal investigation by the DOJ inspector general, supplemented by old-fashioned, hard-boiled investigative journalism—exploiting sources and filing Freedom of Information Act requests—is called for, to uncover criminal investigations of the Obama White House that were initiated and subsequently suppressed or terminated without cause.
The neutral, objective, and impartial application of the law is a cornerstone of our constitutional system. And as is repeated ad nauseam, it is essential for those responsible for the application of the law, be they judges or prosecutors, to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Maybe this seems a quaint and antiquated notion in today’s DOJ.
The perception that the DOJ isn’t too concerned with the appearance of impropriety—say by slow-walking subpoenaed documents to Congress—would account for the public’s diminished expectation of the DOJ’s neutral application of federal law. When convictions against Enron and Merrill Lynch executives were overturned, after the targeted businessmen had spent fortunes in legal fees and years in jail, DOJ’s commitment to justice was justifiably called into question.
When special counsel Robert Mueller, a DOJ/Rosenstein appointee, has individuals interviewed with regard to matters exceeding the scope—to the extent that it is known—of his mandate, and when he then brings charges for lying about these unrelated issues, the perception endures of a lack of fairness and abuse of authority, further diminishing public confidence in the objectivity of the federal criminal-justice system.
“Justice … is the great interest of man on earth. It is the ligament which holds civilized beings and civilized nations together.” This ligament of which Daniel Webster spoke can only continue to hold our civil society together once an independent and neutral FBI and DOJ have been restored.
Epoch Times contributor Marc Ruskin is a 27-year veteran of the FBI, an adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and the author of “The Pretender: My Life Undercover for the FBI.” He served on the legislative staff of U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.