These days, I have been hearkening back to the days of my youth, and a staple of that innocent time: The TV series The FBI starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. For a decade starting in 1965, that show depicted the most effective law enforcement agency in the world catching the bad guys, and doing so with unparalleled competence and honor.
While we know the actions of the man who defined the FBI for almost forty years following its inception, J. Edgar Hoover, were at times reprehensible, the Bureau nevertheless enjoyed the confidence of the great mass of the American people.
Those days may well be over now that the FBI has announced its jaw-dropping conclusion in the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise and three others.
First, the facts: the shooter, James Hodgkinson brought two guns, including a rifle, to the scene of the crime and fired upwards of sixty rounds. He has been clearly identified through his activities and public utterances as a left-wing political activist with a hatred for Republicans in general and Trump in particular. He asked a bystander to which party the players belonged before he opened fire. Police discovered a list of Republican members of Congress and pictures of the practice field in his pockets.
The FBI’s conclusion? That Hodgkinson’s motives are unclear, his actions appeared “spontaneous,” that the photos and list did not represent surveillance of intended targets or the killing field, and that he didn’t have any concrete plans to inflict violence on the Republicans.
Excuse me, what? I mean, they can’t be serious, can they? If they are unable to ascribe a motive to someone with such an obvious motive, one wonders how they solve cases that are actually a challenge. Any fourth grader with marginal intelligence and just a modicum of common sense could seemingly figure out Hodgkinson’s motive without blinking an eye.
Indeed, the FBI has become such a politicized institution that it is no longer trustworthy.
The decline in the public perception of the FBI started to take root when former Director James Comey dove deep into the political realm by first laying out a damning bill of particulars against Hillary Clinton one year ago during the 2016 presidential campaign, and then asserting that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring an indictment against her. Never mind that it has never, ever been the role of an FBI Director to make decisions on whether to indict. Comey then proceeded to re-open the investigation upon discovering more missing emails less than two weeks before Election Day.
Once Donald Trump was elected president, and the Russian collusion fantasy took hold on the left, Comey refused to announce that Trump was not under investigation publicly – even though he admitted as much twice under questioning by Congress. That allowed the bloodthirsty establishment media to continue to engage in wild and reckless speculation. And then, upon being fired – perhaps for general incompetence or perhaps for his refusal to announce the non-investigation into the president – he went before the Senate Intelligence Committee and willingly testified that he had (through a friend) leaked a memo about a private conversation with the president…in order to try and force the appointment of a Special Counsel. Comey got his way when such counsel was in fact named, and it turned out to be his good friend and former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who in turn has hired a series of leftist partisans to help lead the investigation. One can only speculate on what else Comey may have leaked in a town which has been leaking like a sieve since Trump arrived there.
Are these the actions of an agency playing it straight and focusing on law enforcement instead of politics? That question appears to answer itself. Between Comey exceeding his authority, making a spectacle of himself as he spoke out of both sides of his mouth about Hillary Clinton, creating a firestorm before the election by announcing a reopening of that investigation, refusing to end rampant speculation that Trump was being investigated, leaking memos for retribution and making vengeful remarks against Trump after he was fired, the Bureau had already been brought low in the public’s eyes.
But their weak, feckless whitewash of a conclusion about the assassination attempt on Republicans, so obviously tainted by politics, may just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.