The FBI’s integrity has been fatally compromised

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The FBI’s integrity has been fatally compromised

Washington Examiner May 16, 07:04 AM May 16, 07:08 AM Video Embed

The FBI allowed itself to be weaponized for political purposes during the 2016 presidential election. That is the conclusion of special counsel John Durham‘s damning final report released Monday.

It is a sobering conclusion, one strongly supported by the facts in the 316-page report and one that should prompt lawmakers from both parties to clean house at what is supposed to be the nation’s premier bastion of law enforcement, not law bending or breaking.

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According to Durham’s report, the FBI’s 2016 investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia began with a single unverified account of a months-old conversation in a bar with an unpaid foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. Without even speaking to the primary source of information, and in a departure from FBI standards, a full investigation was opened despite the FBI having no information that anyone from the Trump campaign had ever been in contact with Russian intelligence officials.

What the U.S. intelligence community did learn in the months after the FBI began spying on the Trump campaign was that Hillary Clinton’s campaign had hatched its own plan to create a fake scandal tying candidate Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian hackers who compromised the Democratic National Committee’s computers.

These reports that the Clinton campaign was spreading lies about Trump colluding with Russia were understood to be so credible and important that then-CIA Director John Brennan briefed President Barack Obama about them in August 2016. In other words, Clinton’s disinformation operation was suspected months before the 2016 election.

This Clinton disinformation plan, manifested in the Steele dossier, succeeded in providing the FBI the disinformation it needed to secure a warrant to target the Trump campaign from a federal court. Even after the FBI belatedly tried and failed to verify the disinformation in the Steele dossier, FBI officials continued to use falsehoods in filings to the federal court overseeing the FBI’s spying on the Clinton campaign. The FBI underling responsible for making those filings was convicted of intentionally falsifying a document, but he received only a slap on the wrist, and none of his superiors were held accountable for their failure to supervise a rogue employee caught lying to the court.

“Our investigation revealed that senior FBI personnel displayed a serious lack of analytical rigor towards the information that they received, especially from politically affiliated persons and entities,” Durham’s report concludes. “In light of the foregoing, there is a continuing need for the FBI and the Department [of Justice] to recognize that lack of analytical rigor, apparent confirmation bias, and an over-willingness to rely on information from individuals connected to political opponents caused investigators to fail to adequately consider alternative hypotheses and to act without appropriate objectivity or restraint in pursuing allegations of collusion or conspiracy between U.S. political campaign and a foreign power.”

Importantly, the Durham report does not recommend any new rules or reforms. The FBI has the proper guidelines in place; it’s just that in this case, some FBI personnel chose not to follow FBI rules. The details in this report have gravely injured the supposedly nonpartisan integrity of the FBI. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has already called on Durham to come and testify on Capitol Hill.

The Durham report exposes a massive scandal in the intelligence and law enforcement structure in Washington, D.C. There needs to be a thorough follow-up and public airing by Congress. There must be significant changes in leadership if the organization is to regain any credibility. It will take years and decisive action to repair the enormous damage done by a deep state committed to partisan action in favor of the Democratic Party.

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