For years now, we have been forced to qualify every conversation on the subject by stating the FBI is honorable and deserves our unwavering respect for the great job it does.
Repeat: “I do not demean the FBI” echoing this decree on a loop.(optional megaphone)
I would like to counter that at the risk of offending those required sentiments. I am extremely ashamed and offended by what the FBI has done, apparently with carte blanche over the last 3 years. I am disturbed and disgusted by it. And I will not make apologies to anyone for my informed disdain.
This was not just some abuses within the system that occurred, it was the entire system that was abused. Nor was it some case of “sloppiness” regarding FISA either.
Not by some rogue agents within the department, this was done and condoned at the highest levels within the Bureau. Then it was defended even to this very day. I am supposed to have empathy for that? I think not.
That some of those responsible for this conduct are still employed in that agency is further cause for disgust. I cannot misplace my outrage for that.
To the rank and file agents: we did not do this to you, your agency did it. Do not blame us for the reputation hit to your agency. We know you did not force your superiors to do it either. That does not, however, minimize what has happened. It was egregious for the country not only your department. It shed a stain on our entire government as a whole.
I will not make gratuitous excuses for or minimize what FBI leadership did. As the premier law enforcement agency in the country, there must be accountability. Weeding out a few of the bad actors does not cut it. Replacing one director does not solve the problem. It is a leadership issue. And we cannot condone it.
So the “good work” the Bureau does cannot be used by anyone as a blank license for this.
The lacking necessary oversight that allowed it to happen is another big problem. I am disgusted by that as well. And that must not be repeated.
I make no apologies now or in the future. Those rank and file agents must now live with it, and the damage done, the same way the rest of the country has to live with this stain. We can only hope that it becomes a learning experience for us all – and for history itself.
Note: the era of qualifying statements on honorability of the FBI have officially ended.
Right Ring | Bullright