It is difficult to argue that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has not mismanaged several investigations and operations, over the past few decades – most notably, the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information and the surveillance of individuals associated with President Donald Trump. Much to the frustration of many Americans, though, senior FBI officials are never held properly accountable for their mistakes or bad judgment.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has demanded answers from the Bureau concerning its recent heavy-handed arrest of political operative Roger Stone and, once again, concerned citizens will hope that government officials will face actual consequences for abusing their authority. Probably, no-one should hold their breath.
A Virtual Military Assualt
In what virtually amounted to a military assault, Stone – who faces process crimes related to the special counsel investigation – was taken from his Florida home in a media spectacle. Indeed, the FBI and the news network CNN still have questions to answer about how the latter just happened to be on the scene in the early hours of the morning to cover Stone’s arrest.
In a letter sent January 30 to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Senator Graham questioned the tactics used and whether the FBI leaked the timing of the arrest to the media ahead of time.
“I am concerned about the manner in which the arrest was effectuated, especially the number of agents involved, the tactics employed, the timing of the arrest, and whether the FBI released details of the arrest and the indictment to the press prior to providing this information to Mr. Stone’s attorneys.”
According to court filings, federal investigators were concerned that Stone may have attempted to flee or destroy evidence prior to his arrest. As excuses go, however, this is weak – to put it mildly. Stone has been under investigation for some time and it is virtually inconceivable that investigators do not already possess all the evidence they need. After all, if they do not yet have sufficient evidence against Stone, why have they already charged him with several crimes?
As for the possibility of Stone evading arrest, he has publicly stated – for many weeks – that he fully expected to be indicted and arrested at any time. He lacked the physical capability to resist or evade law enforcement officers and he claims that he has no valid passport.
Indefensible Tactics in a Free Country
If the aim is to swoop in unexpectedly to arrest someone suspected of, or indicted for, a non-violent crime, any competent law enforcement agency is more than capable of successfully conducting such an operation with only five or six officers. Utilizing multiple vehicles and 29 heavily-armed agents does nothing to enhance the element of surprise so, clearly, the FBI is being less than honest about its agenda in this matter.
Senator Graham was also concerned that the public spectacle surrounding Stone’s arrest only contributes to “the media circus that surrounds the Special Counsel’s investigation.” Graham, who now heads the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, has given the FBI Director until February 5 to provide a briefing on the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
Perhaps the real questions that need to be asked of the Bureau are why its agents are not sufficiently well trained to affect the arrest of an old man who posed no physical threat and was waiting to be apprehended and, if they are, then why its leadership feels it appropriate to stage a frightening, paramilitary display for the apprehension of a nonviolent American citizen.
It is no exaggeration to suggest that Special Counsel Robert Mueller – who has been elected by no-one and who, according to Democrats, is answerable to no-one – is conducting his business as if he were a grand inquisitor and the FBI was his personal militia.