Perhaps some truth telling from the top is what the FBI needs right now!
In listening to the recent House Judiciary Committee questioning of Christopher Wray a few points came to mind. First, the number of parsed phrases, hiding behind “top secret” or “ongoing investigation” claims, and downright misdirection is remarkable for a public official.
Wray obfuscated for hours on Wednesday as our mostly incompetent legislators tried to either prop him up or take him down (depending on the party affiliation only, of course). No surprise, these hearings never seem to have the gravitas or honesty that the American people hope for.
The lack of awareness or knowledge that Wray displayed in answering bungled questions about the FISA violations shows that the FBI has no plans to take these misdeeds seriously. His dodges on collusion with social media companies was more of the same. If he could avoid an answer, he did. When cornered, he claimed a lack of knowledge. Lines such as “as I sit here today” or “I believe” or “to the best of my recollection”. These are all phrases to give a perjury defense if you ever got caught. It seems like the director is incapable of recalling an actual fact.
Wray was particularly opaque when discussing the use of FBI undercovers on January 6th, 2021. When asked if there were any FBI undercover agents in the crowd that day, he stated that he was not sure there were any UNDERCOVER agents. The denial included an emphasis on the term “undercover”, a distinction that he emphasized several times. While dodging questions he did emphatically state that accusations that the FBI promoted the January 6th riot was “ludicrous and a disservice to brave” agents.
Which makes you wonder about the FBI’s definition of undercover. In the NYPD undercovers are specially trained detectives who are assigned to a specific case to interact with specific criminals to gain knowledge or purchase contraband like guns or drugs. Plainclothes cops often go out wearing street clothes to blend in with the crowd or patrol areas covertly. It’s a significant difference. Wray’s narrow and unexplained answer makes you wonder if he is continuing to hide the role that the FBI played on that day. Why not come clean about the FBI’s role on that day? They should have had a presence in that crowd after all. There was clearly a criminal element present.
Which brings us to the comments by Democratic Representative Steve Cohen about threats to FBI Agents and Facilities over the past year. There were several serious and deadly threats against the FBI that should be decried by everyone. It is critical that pundits and politicians should use all due caution not to encourage these types of threats. Maybe a little honesty and credibility by the head of the FBI would go a long way to defusing the anti-FBI sentiment of these dangerous individuals. It is clearly what the country wants from its most powerful law enforcement institution.
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