Wray’s FBI Is Rotting from the Head Down

A traditional Turkish saying has it that a fish rots from the head down. While more metaphorically than biologically correct, it summarizes the troubling state of today’s FBI. 

The FBI had not exactly covered itself in glory while pursuing the execrable “Russian collusion” canard, meant originally both to help Hillary Clinton and harm Donald Trump in the 2016 election, and then post-election to surveil Trump in hopes of impeaching or discrediting him. 

We need not rehash the details of Russiagate, other than to state that it was premised on false submissions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, diverted from its proper purpose of protecting national security, and was intended instead as an improper criminal (not counterintelligence) investigation designed to bring down Trump. 

But as disgustingly dishonest as the Russiagate program was, it has now been overtaken in infamy by the bureau’s subornation of our country’s electoral process during the 2020 presidential election. 

The first questionable foray of the FBI was to surveil electronically the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who was investigating the real 2016 election interference which James Comey missed—that of Ukraine. To mention one example, Clinton aide Alexandra Chalupa had importuned the Ukrainian Embassy to produce a false document (the “Black Ledger”) implicating candidate Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort. It was silly to believe that Manafort took millions in cash payments from a Ukrainian politician, per the phony ledger, since he had been paid by traceable wire. But the hoax worked, and bad publicity forced Trump to fire Manafort. 

But the FBI in 2019 and 2020 was likely not interested in rehashing this issue. It was, however, still interested in spying on Trump. Soon it learned, through surveilling Giuliani on his Ukraine work, of the pending publication by the New York Post of the Hunter Biden laptop story and implications of Joe Biden’s corruption. The story, if widely disseminated, would have sunk the 2020 Biden campaign. 

Even if we give the FBI the benefit of the doubt about the legitimacy of its Giuliani investigation, that presumption cannot be stretched to sanction the use of counterintelligence information for political purposes—which is precisely what the suppression of the Post story was. 

And of course, in casting doubt on the origins of the Biden laptop story, the FBI censored the facts without informing the bureau’s ultimate national security superior, President Donald Trump. At the time, Trump was America’s highest national security official under the Constitution. If Giuliani were truly a national security threat, the president should have received a defensive briefing from the FBI. He did not.

Soon, James Comey acolyte and Russiagate purveyor James Baker was installed as general counsel at Twitter, the main organ otherwise destined to propagate any information on the laptop scandal. Was this merely coincidental, or was this hire at the request of the FBI? All that can be noted without further investigation is the inference that there is a reasonable likelihood of coordination.

In any case, soon after learning that it did not possess the only laptop hard drive, and that the Post had a copy of it, the bureau began a campaign to deter social media from publishing “hacked and leaked” disinformation material—even though the bureau knew perfectly well that the material was not hacked, freely provided to the Post by the lawful possessor, and not Russian disinformation. 

The FBI’s suppression effort was a fraud perpetrated on social media companies by means of the FBI’s representation of the laptop as Russian disinformation. Since the FBI has jurisdiction to investigate wire fraud, it knew its actions contravened the relevant statute.

In addition to this fraud, the FBI sought to curtail both the rights of the Post to communicate freely and the rights of citizens to receive such communication. Only the government and its co-conspirators can violate the First Amendment and, yes, the bureau did just that by conspiring to deprive citizens of their civil rights. The bureau also interfered with the election by suborning and conveying false information about it—an election crime. 

Moreover, as we have noted, Donald Trump, as commander-in-chief, was the FBI’s superior in matters of national security, so that at the least its efforts violated the national security chain of command. The FBI arrogated to itself a presidential decision. Its program of election fraud, by false implication of Russian disinformation, was at the least a shameful breach of duty, and possibly even treason, in essence the unlawful deposing of a duly constituted state authority, the president, as head of the executive branch.

If the tiresome two-year jeremiad against the January 6 incursions demonstrates an “assault on our democracy,” exactly what would one call the FBI’s partisan, fraudulent rigging of an election by falsely citing supposed classified counterintelligence information? 

Because the FBI’s efforts were nationally, indeed internationally, coordinated, and because FBI headquarters controls and coordinates national security initiatives, the program had to have had the approval of—if not the initiation by—top FBI officials in Washington, D.C. Additionally, the FBI’s teaming with the Department of Homeland Security could not have been accomplished solely through a field office but would presumably need headquarters’ authorization. 

Knowing all of this, it’s a solid inference that FBI Director Christopher Wray was at least briefed on the matter, with his approval thereby implicit. That Trump appointed Wray, whose résumé was spoon-fed to the legally unsophisticated president, does not tend to absolve him as impartial. Many a bureaucrat poses as a moderate, “down-the-middle” Republican, independent or “straight” Democrat, for this very reason: To obtain a powerful position. James Comey is Exhibit A on this score. 

To the credit of the unctuously slick Comey, Russiagate—at least at some distant remove—could be sold as being run “by the book,” albeit with concealed malign intent.

But “laptopgate” transgresses so many constitutional, legal, ethical, and moral lines that it almost requires a new textbook to explain all of its sickening wrongdoing. The more pressing present task, however, is to remove FBI partisan corruption, root and branch, beginning with Christopher Wray and everyone in headquarters who lent their approval to this shameful venture. 

Of course, since the laptop program resulted in the election of Joe Biden, it is more likely that the people involved will be awarded distinguished service medals rather than pink slips. 

Shamefully, with our embedded partisan FBI bureaucracy, none of this should be surprising. And given our lapdog partisan media, do not bet any of your life savings on fair and accurate reporting of this travesty of justice.

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