By Jacob G. Hornberger
Clinton’s assets within the mainstream press are on the warpath over FBI Director James Comey’s decision to advise Congress that the FBI had discovered additional evidence in his investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Given the possibility that the announcement could influence people to vote against Clinton, Clinton’s supporters are saying that Comey should have kept the information secret until after the election.
They have it wrong. Whatever effect Comey’s actions have on the election is not his responsibility. Sole responsibility for the controversy lies with Clinton herself. If she had followed the rules and the law in the first place, she wouldn’t find herself in this pickle.
But as is standard with people in Washington, when wrongdoing goes awry, the propensity is to immediately shift attention from the wrongdoer and look for a scapegoat to attack and be used to distract attention away from the original wrongdoer, which in this case is Clinton.
Consider what would have happened if Comey had kept the information secret. It is a virtual certainty that someone would have leaked the information anyway. Where would that have left Comey? It would have left him in the position of covering up for Hillary Clinton. Why should he or anyone else be expected to risk his integrity and career for the sake of Clinton or any other political hack?
Consider the cowardice and disingenuousness of the Justice Department. It’s making a big deal out of the fact that it told Comey that he had a moral duty to keep the information secret until after the election.
But notice something important here: The Justice Department could have ordered Comey to keep to keep the information secret. It didn’t. And why not? Because it knew that once the information leaked out, the cover-up would have landed in the lap of the Justice Department. By counselling, not ordering, Comey to keep the information secret, the Justice Department perfectly positioned itself in the controversy to appear as a white knight.
Unfortunately, in all the attacks on Comey, you can bet your bottom dollar that not one of the attackers will ask a deeply fundamental and critically important question: Why not just abolish the FBI? What’s it good for?
For more than a hundred years, America lived without a national police force, especially one that conducts much of its operations in secret.
There were two reasons for that.
First, Americans understand that a secretive national police force is incompatible with a free society. They knew that throughout history it has been czarist regimes, imperialist empires, totalitarian dictatorships, and authoritarian regimes that have employed secretive national police forces. For the sake of their own freedom, they chose to have criminal violations handled at the state and local level.
Second, Americans also knew that there was no provision in the U.S. Constitution that empowered the federal government to establish a national police force.
The wisdom of the Framers and our American ancestors was borne out in the early history of the FBI, when federal agents were used to investigate, harass, and prosecute Americans who were opposed to U.S. entry into World War I, the war where 116,708 American soldiers, many of them drafted, were forced to die for to make the world “safe for democracy,” a world that produced Nazi Germany a short time thereafter.
Their wisdom was also confirmed during the 45 years of Cold War I, when the FBI spied on, monitored, harassed, ruined, and destroyed people who believed in communism or socialism, which were beliefs that were supposed to be protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
And, of course, their wisdom was confirmed when it came out that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was using the FBI to secretly compile information on people so that he could blackmail them or ruin them with it.
In actuality, the FBI is part and parcel of the entire national-security establishment, the totalitarian-like governmental apparatus that was grafted onto the federal government to wage the First Cold War against America’s World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union. It’s the apparatus that has embroiled the United States in endless war, conflicts, and crises, sent the government into an out-of-control binge of spending and debt, engaged in interventions that have killed, tortured, maimed, or exiled millions of people, engaged in actions that expose Americans to endless terrorist blowback, assumed extraordinary powers pertaining to torture, assassination, and indefinite detention, and destroyed the liberty and privacy of the American people.
In this era of massive political discontent, the American people need to start thinking at a higher level, just as our ancestors who founded this country did — a level much higher than James Comey’s release of information relating to Hillary Clinton’s emails or, for that matter, issues relating to Donald Trump’s sex scandals.
Americans should be asking themselves such fundamental questions as: What is the nature of a genuinely free society? Is it possible to have both a free society and a national-security state, including the FBI? Why did the Framers and our American ancestors oppose both a FBI and a national security state for America?
Once enough people begin asking those types of questions, the country will get back on the right track — the track toward a free, peaceful, harmonious, safe, and secure society,
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.