After the IG Report, Let's Kill the FBI While We Can

It's time for this intrusive, politicized, and overly powerful agency to be dumped.


Ron Sachs/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

If you hoped for a scathing and yet inconclusive report that would satisfy absolutely none of the partisan players claiming the FBI played favorites in the 2016 presidential election, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz dropped exactly that last week. Basically, the IG found no evidence that the FBI intentionally acted to affect the outcome of the election, but that its staff and leadership behaved like rogue, politicized clowns.

And if that's all we can agree upon, perhaps it's enough to pull the plug on this excessively powerful internal security force that's been playing at politics since its founding.

For Republicans, among the more important tidbits in the report are exchanges of politically charged text messages between FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok and his romantic partner, FBI Special Counsel to the Deputy Director Lisa Page. As the report details, "In a text message on August 8, 2016, Page stated, '[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!' Strzok responded, 'No. No he's not. We'll stop it.'"

"The report shows how the FBI became infected with politics and continuously disregarded rules and procedures to the detriment of Donald Trump and benefit of Hillary Clinton.," Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) quickly snapped off in response to the report's publication.

Democrats are equally angry over then FBI Director James Comey's decision to announce just days before the election the reopening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email practices.

"Much like with his July 5 announcement, we found that in making this decision, Comey engaged in ad hoc decisionmaking based on his personal views even if it meant rejecting longstanding Department policy or practice," noted the IG report.

"The stark conclusion we draw after reviewing this report is that the FBI's actions helped Donald Trump become President," responded Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) right on schedule.

Despite the inevitable reactions from the right and the left, the IG "did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions" of the investigating agents. And, after calling out the then FBI director for breaking from established procedures and flying by the seat of his pants for the greater glory of the bureau and his own cushy role therein, the IG "did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey's part." That leaves plenty of room for continued argument over unquestionably unprofessional behavior.

Worthy of attention is the degree to which some agents seemed to believe the email investigation was pointless, with a predetermined outcome. An agent identified as Agent 1 texted a colleague multiple times to complain about "work and bullshit for a political exercise" and "a case that doesnt matter and is predestined…"

Such concerns were obviously shared by the IG when it was discovered that Comey's July 5 statement about the outcome of the investigation into Clinton's email practices had first been drafted in May.

"We asked Comey about the date of this initial draft and whether it indicated that he had predecided the outcome of the investigation even before the interview of former Secretary Clinton," notes the report.

Comey responded, "[I]f you were in my position after nine months you're incompetent if you don't know where this is going."

Maybe so, but if word got out that the final take was being drawn up months before the main target was interviewed, you could see why some agents might feel like they were just going through the motions. And word was bound to get out. Comey's draft statement was shared with several top staffers, and the IG report details how much bureau decision-making was driven by the knowledge that the FBI leaked like a sieve. "[I]f we don't put out a letter, somebody is going to leak it," then FBI General Counsel James A. Baker told the IG.

Baker resigned in May after being named as a likely leaker himself.

Reactions to the report reveal little chance that Teams Red and Teams Blue will agree anytime soon on who was most screwed-over by James Comey and his G-Men. But there is a remarkably harmonious chorus of disdain about the conduct of the FBI.

"Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's 500-page report covers plenty," writes Kimberley Strassel at the Wall Street Journal. "[B]ut it can be distilled to two words he uses to describe the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the 2016 election: insubordination and bias. Two terms that are chilling in connection with such a powerful agency."

"Mr. Comey receives a thrashing in the report," sniffs the New York Times editorial board. "Mr. Horowitz found that the former F.B.I. director repeatedly crossed the line from arrogance to insubordination."

As I've pointed out before, the FBI has a long and unpleasant history of entangling itself in politics.

The FBI "has placed more emphasis on domestic dissent than on organized crime and, according to some, let its efforts against foreign spies suffer because of the amount of time spent checking up on American protest groups," the U.S. Senate's Church Committee reported in 1976.

The FBI maintained and expanded its power through the decades by playing to whoever held office.

In former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's 1972 obituary, the New York Times reported, "Roosevelt liked him; he slapped the F.B.I. director's back and laughed when Mr. Hoover confessed that an agent had been caught in the act of illegal wiretapping, and he was amused at the bureau's temerity in putting a spy on Harry Hopkins, Roosevelt's counselor, in London. Roosevelt's assignment of counter-espionage duties to the F.B.I. as war loomed in 1936 expanded the bureau's size and heightened Mr. Hoover's prestige.

But, when the Republicans won the White House again in 1952, Mr. Hoover's loyalty swung immediately to the new team."

But now the FBI has managed to anger both major political parties and much of the country. It's demonstrated its capacity for political meddling and misuse of power—even if people disagree on who was on the receiving end.

That offers a rare opportunity to pull the plug on a dangerously powerful agency at a moment when its potential for bias, arrogance, insubordination, and plain incompetence are on public display. Let's kill the FBI while we can.

NEXT: Brickbat: Celebrating Our Freedoms

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  1. The FBI, like most other government agencies, is a hydra. It would take a lot of coordination and many proverbial swords and torches to finally bring it down, and any lesser attempt will result in more heads popping up in the form of a reoganization.

    1. This. It’s essentially an impossibility. I don’t see government reducing the size of the surveillance state anytime soon. Insolvency is going to be the only thing that shrinks government in a meaningful manner. The sooner we get there, the better.

    2. Same as getting rid of the DHS. The pieces would migrate to other departments and nothing would change except letterheads and business cards.

    3. You are right – removing specific people isn’t the answer. But those government hydras need money to grow. The members of Congress so outraged at the DOJ and FBI behavior – and their stonewalling at any oversight – could simply defund those institutions. All it would take is guts.

      1. What is wrong with agitating for its immediate and unequivocal destruction?

        Sure, Trumpists being Trumpists, and MIC crony capitalists being MIC crony capitalists, and AIPAC loving cocksuckers being AIPAC loving cocksuckers, the government will not willingly reduce the surveillance state, much less eliminate it.

        But does that mean we capitulate?

        If you vote for Trump or any GOP types, you are capitulating and you acknowledge that you are a loser.

        Yes, if you vote for any democrat types, you are capitulating and you acknowledge that you are a loser.

        1. The only winning move is not to play. I mean, you can devote a lot of sweat and blood to trying to change the status quo, but it’s like trying to move a mountain one rock at a time.

          1. One person, yes. Ten million protesters storming the Hoover building?

            1. The L.A. Riots didn’t really change anything, why would it be much (if any) different in Washington?

              1. Might help if they stormed something other than random Korean Grocery stores.

                1. Well, that much is true I suppose…the said could be said for a lot of ‘riots’ that end up just being wide-spread looting. They’d probably have better success if they went after, say, the courts or something. Then again, that’s usually where the National Guard is…

                  1. BYODB, protesters fed up with totalitarian FBI parasites is not the same thing as the LA riots.

                  2. They’d call in the troops and the military would sweep everybody up. The rioters, err, protesters would be shot or arrested and the whole thing would be framed as a bunch of hooligans looking to stir up trouble. The only viable way to change is slow and steady via the electoral process. Too many American are too fat, lazy or flat out satisfied with their lives to stomach any type of change through violence. Besides, the U.S. Military is far too powerful to be checked by a bunch of redneck right wingers or snowflake Leftists.

        2. Trumpists being Trumpists, and MIC crony capitalists being MIC crony capitalists, and AIPAC loving cocksuckers being AIPAC loving cocksuckers

          If you vote for Trump or any GOP types, you are capitulating and you acknowledge that you are a loser.

          Yes, if you vote for any democrat types, you are capitulating and you acknowledge that you are a loser.

          Look at the homophobic misanthrope over here.

        3. Nothing is wrong with it – but changing a line in the budget is a lot easier and more likely to work.

    4. The FBI, like most other government agencies, is a hydra.

      *whispers* “Hail Hydra.”

    5. Nope. One swift act – defederalize the entire agency, hand over all assets to the States in which they reside and then let the State legislatures decide wether they want to refund and apply those assets to State law-enforcement or shutter the whole thing. Done.

      1. Who would get Fox Mulder?

  2. You asked for miracles, Theo, I give you the F.B.I.

    – Hanz Gruber, 1988

  3. It’s not gonna happen and you’re all partisans by the way so maybe you should remember that going forward.

    1. I think “defending the FBI to own the cons” is a far more curious position to take then “questioning the FBI to own the libs”.

      1. But, if only conservatives would question the FBI, whereas libertarians are more apt to tut tut legitimate concerns and instead focus on completely illegitimate conspiracy theories than the term “libertarian” is clearly more useless than the term “liberal”.

        1. There are more libertarian writers at Reason than there are libertarian commenters and there are no libertarian writers at Reason.

          1. WTF- that was beautiful

            1. This would be the moment in an 80’s movie where everyone slow claps you

            2. Libertarianism is just another -ism. It doesn’t make sense to me to identify people as members of a group for having some ideals that align with the -ism. Many people have some libertarian ideals, but they would never consider themselves libertarians. It’s one of the reasons the Libertarian Party loses so badly.

              Plus, what’s the point of being part of a group that’s about individual liberty?

              1. The point is that groups are more likely to achieve things than individuals. Whether you think any particular group has goals that are worth achieving is up to you, but if you want something, you’re not advised to fight for it alone.

              2. True. Each individual Libertarian defines it as it pertains to the individual which is why the “ism” is all over the place. But we do have a Constitution which is supposed to limit the federal government. Unfortunately, Libertarians (as a group or party) have not properly defined themselves as being opposed to liberal and conservative government omnipotent moral busybodies. Can I get a slow clap on that?

    2. Partisans of what?

      1. You prefer something. You tell me.

        1. I prefer your sister to your mom.

    3. Just what we needed, another Tony but without the charm.

      Fuck along now, Z565.

      1. I’ll take that as a compliment and good advice.

    4. I ain’t no partisan. I’m an idealogue.

  4. Why is Tuccile writing this? Why can’t he get on board with making-up totally bat shit crazy Russia fever dreams? What a terrible woketarian

    1. 2chili is a hardass desert ancap who doesn’t give a fuck about anyone’s narrative, it is known.

      1. Sure, but an honest article like this is depressing. Made-up conspiracy theories are fun. Where’s the entertainment value in making reasoned arguments?

        1. You aren’t turned on by correct arguments?

          1. “gargle balls” or gtfo

            1. An invitation to statists to gargle balls is implicit in every 2chili article.

              1. Hell, they may as well make the headline to every article he writes “Fuck Off and Suck My Balls, Statist Slavers” regardless of topic.

                1. I second this motion. Reason, if you read the comments on this, headline his articles “Suck My Balls, Statist Slavers” (or at least use that as the subhead).

  5. Fuck Hillary’s email review, and fuck the Russia investigation – – they need to be shut down because of the report three years ago that of the 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the trials reviewed – spanning decades. The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison. Seriously – these people could fuck up a bowl of cereal. They need to be stripped of the “I” in FBI because they can’t investigate shit without completely fucking everything up.

    1. Doesn’t matter when you know what you want the answer to be.

    2. I wouldn’t trust the Fan Belt Inspectors to investigate the smoke coming from the fire on top of their heads.

    3. Take out the ‘I’ and all you’re left with is Facebook…

  6. “Let’s Kill the FBI While We Can”

    While we’re granting fairytale wishes, I would like a pet unicorn and to be able to shit gold…..

    1. Unicorns are dicks, and do you really wanna fish around in your toilet after every crap you take?

      1. For 10s of thousands of dollars worth of gold every day? Yes, please, sign me up.

      2. After the first shit you can have staff to do that

    2. Shitting gold would imply you are a Philosopher’s Stone. I don’t think you want any part of that.

      Don’t unicorns only make friends with virgins?

  7. It’s a nice dream. It’s even a laudable goal.
    But it’s not gonna happen.
    Like all bureaucracies, they are first and foremost all about self-preservation whatever it takes.
    The exposures would be vastly amusing but the chaos would be massively harmful.
    The CIA or NSA, or, gods help us, the DHS, would be called in to take over and “put things right.” Now there’s a nightmare for you.

    1. Or we could nuke D.C. and not rebuild it.

      1. Save the nukes (there are few individualists left in Virginia). Just use the EPA to force reclamation of the malarial (literal) swamp, and watch the mess get straight in a hurry.

        Or my favorite fantasy: reduce all congressional staffs to two employees, make the legislature part time, and have the meetings twice a year; in an unheated barn in Topeka KS during January and February, and again in an un-air-conditioned quonset hut in Big Bend TX in July and August.

        1. Pretty close to how L Neil Smith make the legislature of the North American Confederacy, that has met 7 times in 200 years. Helps to require a 90% quorum.

        2. I’m down with the first idea, first.

      2. “Take off and nuke the site from obit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

  8. It’s tempting to want to abolish the FBI given that the Comey letter cheated Clinton out of the presidency, but then I remember that great patriots like Peter Strzok also work there. So it would be unwise to dismantle the whole thing.

    If we’re abolishing government agencies, we should start with ICE.


    1. It seems you have an admirer, see Chris Cat (I admire you, too OBL, as witnessed by my thoughtful posts assessing the quality of your posts).

    2. You are SOOOO right dude! I mean, all he did was discuss and leak information concerning and on-going investigation to a member of the press. So what if he told his girlfriend reporter the predetermined findings. I’m sure that’s not the only scoop he gave her! if ya know what I mean haha.
      And when he assured her that Trump wouldn’t win by say WE won’t let that happen he was just lubing her up by showing what a big man he is in the FBI (so what if he was compensating? she took it anyway)


    3. Homeland Insecurity first, then TSA, ICE and EPA.

  9. The FBI addresses corruption among local police, an important role. They are probably the most professional police we have. Yes, J Edgar was corrupt, a long time ago. Comey made inexplicable decisions but they did not seem to have an real agenda that made any sense. If we have to choose between right wing extremists like Sheriff Joe and the FBI – and we do – I’ll take the FBI.

    1. Is OBL your idol?

    2. If you do not see an explanation for Comey’s decisions, you aren’t looking.

      1. If you think you see valid explanations for Comey’s decisions, you drank way too much kool-aid.

        As Horowitz expressed, Comey made so many procedural mistakes that there is no valid explanation,especially with someone of Comey’s longevity in the Bureau. It could only be horrible decision making based on politics, absolutely against the tenet’s of the FBI and DOJ.

    3. The FBI also does play an important role in interstate issues that no local or state police agency can reasonably investigate. In addition, they have a significant role in investigating corruption the federal government.

      There is a purpose for having a federal police force. Their misuse of this power is grounds for extreme pruning, but I do not believe fully uprooting the agency is a valid solution.

    4. The FBI also does play an important role in interstate issues that no local or state police agency can reasonably investigate. In addition, they have a significant role in investigating corruption the federal government.

      There is a purpose for having a federal police force. Their misuse of this power is grounds for extreme pruning, but I do not believe fully uprooting the agency is a valid solution.

  10. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Libertarians should be pushing the boldest proposals. Open the borders, dump the FBI. While we’re at it, let’s dump the CIA and the rest of the security state. Privatize the roads and get the government out of the education business.

    1. The government is not in the education business. It is in the left-wing propaganda as education business.

    2. CLOSE the f-ing borders!

      Why are f-ing “libertarians” so suicidal?

    3. I take it you are out in the Arizona or Nevada desert with Patriot food supplies, plenty of ammo and willing to surrender the sovereignty of the United States. I can find no other reason for the desire of absolute anarchy with an unmanageable influx of illegal occupants to the US.

  11. While we’re at it, it’s also time to kill articles by Dalmia and Chapman.

  12. Once upon a time the comments around here would be of biting anti-establishmentarianism the FBI would be monitoring these threads.

    After what I’ve heard about the FBI and their attempt to what I would think is a soft coup against Trump, yeh, it might be a good idea to shut it down and rebrand.

    But how much Weed Be Gone will be needed?

  13. “Much like with his July 5 announcement, we found that in making this decision, Comey engaged in ad hoc decisionmaking based on his personal views even if it meant rejecting longstanding Department policy or practice,” noted the IG report.

    Look, I think Comey is a fucking clown but it’s hard to ignore that the AG at the time caused this problem by meeting with Clinton on the tarmac during the investigation without anyone else around, thus after it was discovered she had to recuse herself.

    So it wasn’t just the idiot clown Comey, it was the whole justice department. Continually ignoring that is…an interesting way to ignoring a far more serious potential problem. Note that Lynch isn’t even being investigated last I saw, whereas Comey got the axe for at least some of the things that are directly her fault. He still would have been axed, I think, but I guess we’ll never know now.

  14. …”Lets Kill the FBI, while we still can” Not exactly a non-inflamitory title. That’s the kind of title that gets your door kicked down at 4:00 am. Fact is I’m having second thoughts repeating it.

  15. If the FBI didn’t get shut down in the 20s-30s, when it was literally poisoning people, it won’t now.

  16. Fuckin A, along with 99% of the fucking government; the beast full of SJWs trying to fuck with you in every way possible.

  17. But if we close down the FBI, who will insure the shooters reported to law enforcement like Omar Mateen
    will still get their chance to shoot up Our Country?

  18. You do not have to read much more than the conclusions of this fraudulent document to see that it is a whitewash and cover-up. Anyone who expected anything better would be named Polly Anna.

  19. Unfortunately, it’s a law enforcement agency so conservatives/Republicans will slobber over it even when it pulls shady stuff.

    1. Democrats too. Almost every democrat I know goes into conniptions at the mention of reducing the size and/or funding of any aspect of our Federal Hero Government.

  20. Anyone who knows the FBI’s beginnings and J. Edgar Hoover’s self-appointed lifetime head of this outfit could have told you that the FBI should have been squashed after a year in business. However that is unlike government to do something right and of course they never admit to mistakes- it is always the citizen’s who do wrong.
    If we could empty out Washington DC tomorrow nobody would notice until their paycheck arrived and it had no tax taken out,
    I am all for dumping the myriad of law enforcement agencies besides the FBI, NSA, and on and on. We don’t need them. Oh yeah and tell the border patrol that the border is not 100 miles wide but an inch now start patrolling it, fucking job description is right there on the badge and vehicles and patch plus checkpoints 100 miles from the border are illegal, fuck SCOTUS and their opinions. Morons cannot understand The Constitution need not be walking around with a sidearm but in school, first grade…
    I hate the stink politics puts on this great land.

    1. Oh yeah and tell the border patrol that the border is not 100 miles wide but an inch now start patrolling it, fucking job description is right there on the badge and vehicles and patch plus checkpoints 100 miles from the border are illegal

      Yeah, this.

      The immigration system isn’t broken, it is overwhelmed because the BP isn’t on the border. Stop em BEFORE they get into the country and this problem could be managed.

  21. Yes, the FBI should be shut down. It has no constitutional basis.

  22. Our government has gotten used to be much too headstrong with America’s population with respect to “getting what they want” all the time; having many methods with which to accomplish that – while almost never taking “no” for an answer.
    Propaganda is a powerful tool. Couple that with indoctrination, and the process becomes all the more powerful.
    I wonder if the American people shall ever muster the will and resolve to direct government (the intention with which our system was designed to work) instead of haplessly obeying it and satisfying its every whim.

  23. Wow, we’re figuring out that the federal guvmint is doing unconstitutional things beyond it’s “limited” powers. We have mostly sheeple in America who accept it as “doing good” (i.e. gives them “free” stuff and “solves” their problems). What we really need is a PC SJW campaign recognizing that “1 in 5 women are (financially) raped by the feds and a #zetoo campaign where accusing them (the proverbial “they” who do this stuff) of untoward sexual advances. That’ll fix them for sure.

  24. Any reasonable person might notice that since its’ founding by JE Hoover the FBI has NEVER been reformed or had a review of their activities. No institution s powerful and insulated as the FBI should ever be allowed to become an unaccountable power unto itself.

    They over the decades defied Congress, deceived the Judiciary and in some cases were involved in defying a Pres. In fact it was a rogue FBI agent that supplied RAW investigative data to the Washington Post that undermined Pres. Nixon and overwhelmed him. He resigned without ever getting a day in court. Probably guilty but it was NOT the place of FBI to push the political case over the edge into a public circus. Media working with a criminal FBI agent (Deep Throat) took a dumb campaign burglary and whipped up a political firestorm that caused the paranoid Nixon to try to cover-up for his campaign.

    As I said the FBI needs a top to bottom review of their tactics, political nonsense, bias and their methods. They seem to be an out of control powerhouse that can steamroll Congress, Judges & even a President. This is the result of the very weak oversight by Congress and a total “hands off” policy by our elected Presidents. FBI/KGB just what is the difference under present conditions?? Politically driven investigations using the criminal justice system could be the end of our representative Democracy.

    1. “overwhelming Nixon” was the right thing to do. It’s good to have squabbling factions in government. That’s why we have 3 main branches. They should always be auditing each other. No one told Nixon to resign he did that himself because he was a crooked motherfucker.

  25. So which is it Reason? Are the biased an pro Republican or pro Democrat? You can’t have it both ways.

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