“He is the most vulnerable president in our history in terms of compromise and potential exposure to those who want to help him dig out of this financial pit in return for a price.”
That was former FBI assistant director Frank Figliuzzi on MSNBC in early October, and he wasn’t done. Trump was “entangled with Russia and the former Soviet Bloc.” With Trump “we got this wrong and this can’t happen again,” so “it’s time to have a national discussion about how we vet a presidential candidate.”
The vetting would happen by means of “a bipartisan committee that demands tax returns. Make that a requirement.” This NBC national security commentator holds strong views. For more on what he is about, dial back to August of 2019.
After the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, President Trump lowered flags to half-mast until August 8. According to Figliuzzi, that was a secret signal to white supremacists meaning “Heil Hitler,” with H being the eighth letter of the alphabet. As a number of commentators and comedians pointed out, it was the sort of thing one expects from the drunk at the end of the bar, but Figliuzzi is an attorney with a JD from the University of Connecticut.
He joined the FBI in 1987 and, among other tasks, served as special agent in charge of the Miami field office. Figliuzzi worked his way up to FBI Chief Inspector and in 2011 FBI boss Robert Mueller made Figliuzzi assistant director for counterintelligence. What actual foreign espionage Figliuzzi managed to uncover has not come to light. On other hand, as an MSNBC mouthpiece, he has revealed a great deal about himself.
In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House,” Figliuzzi told anchor Chris Jansing that the Trump Administration should be viewed through the “lens of radicalization.” Jansing countered that the president demands blind loyalty from his followers, and Figliuzzi quickly piled on.
“Well, this is why it’s so important to look through the lens of radicalization when you look at this president and then apply counter-radicalization techniques, because you’re right, attacking his followers is going to be counterproductive,” said Figliuzzi. “He demands that loyalty, and they are loyal. So if you call Trump followers racist en masse, they simply coalesce around each other and become even more defensive and protective of the leader, just as they would in, say, a terrorist organization to compare to the radicalization.”
As Mike Brest noted in the Washington Examiner, Figliuzzi had indeed “compared supporters of President Trump to members of a terrorist organization,” and that would of course justify militant action against them. As it happens, that is a belch from the deep state in general and the administration of POTUS 44 in particular.
“Desire to wage war on ordinary Americans—to disadvantage them and even to kill them—had long been bubbling in the ruling class’s basements,” Angelo Codevilla notes. He cites the Department of Homeland Security’s Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1979-2008. This 2012 study classified persons judged to be “suspicious of centralized federal authority” and “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right-wing terrorists.” That’s how the FBI’s former counterintelligence director sees them.
Frank Figliuzzi may be the looniest anti-Trumper on television, but to be fair the former FBI assistant director is an equal opportunity hater. He also tweets about “Moscow Mitch” and as the network explains, Figliuzzi joined Nicolle Wallace “to discuss reporting that a Russian company invested in an aluminum plant in Kentucky soon after McConnell led the efforts to lift sanctions on that company.” As it happens, Figliuzzi is something of a company man his own self.
When Devin Nunes was chairman of the House intel committee, he was set to release a memo on FBI surveillance abuse. That rang alarms with Figliuzzi who called for a criminal investigation of Nunes, whose memo would be corroborated by the report of the DOJ inspector general on FBI abuses.
On April 18, 2019, special counsel Robert Mueller released a 448-page report that found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. “Yet in October of 2020, Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence, repeats the claim that Trump was “entangled with Russia.” A candidate like that “can’t happen again,” so Figliuzzi wants a bipartisan committee to vet presidential candidates.
A more pressing need is to ensure that something like the Russia hoax—a Hillary Clinton operation from the start—can’t happen again. That calls for a better way to vet those who get into the FBI. That someone as bent as Figliuzzi became an assistant director for counterintelligence should confirm that FBI doesn’t stand for fidelity, bravery, and integrity.
If Figliuzzi fails to convince, consider James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Kevin Clinesmith et al. At this writing, the only one to face criminal charges is Clinesmith, for altering documents. Based on the work of the allegedly intrepid U.S. Attorney John Durham, a ballpark figure for those who will serve prison time is zero.