Fred LaSor: FBI, DOJ at it again!
Each column I write about FBI and Department of Justice misdeeds feels to me like it must be the last.
“How much worse can it get?” I ask myself, then a week later more revelations emerge and I’m stunned and saddened once again. This week, more information emerged to reaffirm my conviction senior officials in the FBI and DOJ are breaking the law, and doing so to benefit Democrats and damage our elected president. I wonder just how long this can be tolerated.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller released an indictment in February of 13 Russian individuals alleged to have bought political ads on Facebook and committed computer crimes during the 2016 election.
People who have been defending Mueller and his probe of Russian interference in our election were delighted. They said it proved there was, indeed, substance to his investigation. Yet at the same time there was little chance the 13 would be extradited or see the inside of an American courtroom to have Mueller’s allegations tested in a court of law. Which indictee, after all, would turn themselves into American law enforcement and say “we want a trial.” Much better to go about their business, was the thinking on the left side of the commentariat.
Until this week, one of the indicted companies notified Mueller it had hired a U.S. lawyer and would fight the charges. Before that, it wanted information about the case and the identities of all witnesses — a legitimate request. On top of that, it wanted a list of U.S. government efforts since the beginning of the Cold War to influence elections around the world, also legitimate, but embarrassing.
Mueller asked for more time to respond, but the court said no. If his original indictment was truly based on facts, expect to see him press on. If it was a false flag operation, expect to see Mueller try to squirm out of the corner he has painted himself into.
The next misdeed by the DOJ has to do with documents previously provided to Congress with numerous redactions. The documents in question had been sent to Congress Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), highly redacted, but he complained the redactions made gibberish of the documents — likely the intention of the reviewers. When he complained to the DOJ, its response was the redactions were necessary to protect highly classified sources and methods.
As regular readers of this column know, I spent several years reviewing documents for the U.S. Department of State in response to public requests under the Freedom of Information Act. Before we were authorized to review requested documents we needed training on what could be redacted (withheld) and for what reasons. High on the list of reasons that did NOT qualify for redaction was that release of the material that would embarrass the State Department. And believe me, in my time there, I saw a number of documents I knew were damaging to the department’s reputation. Protecting sources and methods was always accepted as a valid reason to redact a record; protecting reputations wasn’t.
Nunes was finally able this week to see the original documents with some of the redactions reversed, and it was clear there was no national security reason for the original redactions – they were purely and simply designed to obscure misdeeds on the part of DOJ and FBI personnel. They had been a shamefaced smokescreen.
So once again I ask myself, “how much longer can they lie and obfuscate?” There seems to be no limit to the dishonesty the DOJ tries to peddle, and I fully expect more criminal efforts from them.
Fred LaSor retired from the foreign service in 1997 and lives now in Minden.