Who gets to run the FBI?

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2016

Something else you may not have known:
Let's review. Benedict Comey and Vladimir Putin are trying to stage a small coup.

Yesterday, we posted some surprising notes on Comey's professional history. Unless you count that letter from that Rutgers professor, the material has gone unreported and unexplored within the mainstream pundit corps and press.

We didn't know that stuff about Comey's professional history. We think it's amazing that it wasn't reported and discussed after he (improperly) scolded Hillary Clinton back in early July.

Today, you might be surprised to learn who gets to run the FBI. We don't think we knew this either.

The following passage appears deep inside Wayne Barrett's new piece for The Daily Beast about the FBI's coup-plotters. Disrespectfully, Barrett eschews Comey's normal honorific, Comey the God:
BARRETT (11/3/16): [A]s quiet as it’s kept, no Democrat has ever been appointed FBI director. Four Democratic presidents, starting with FDR’s selection of J. Edgar Hoover in 1935, have instead picked Republicans, including Obama’s 2013 nomination of Comey, who was confirmed 93 to 1. This tally does not include the seven acting directors, who were named for brief periods over the last 81 years. For the first time in FBI history, the agency is now run by a director who isn’t a Republican, since Comey announced in a congressional hearing this year that though a lifelong Republican, having donated to John McCain and Mitt Romney, he had recently changed his registration (he did not say how he is currently registered).

Six months into his first term in 1993, President Bill Clinton tapped [Louis] Freeh, a onetime FBI agent who’d worked under Kallstrom, and Freeh spent much of his eight years at the bureau’s helm trying to put Clinton in jail, even dispatching agents to a White House side room to get the president’s DNA during a formal dinner. When Freeh stepped down in 2001, shortly after George Bush replaced Clinton, he went to work for credit-card company MBNA, a giant Republican donor where Kallstrom and another top Freeh FBI appointee were already working. He’s still hunting for the Clintons, though—delivering a speech assailing them at an annual FBI office event in New York last year.

It’s not just the man at the top who’s invariably a Republican. Like most law enforcement agencies, the FBI hierarchy and line staff has a Republican bent—it’s a white, male, usually Catholic, and conservative culture.
As an aside, did Louis Freeh really "spen[d] much of his eight years at the bureau’s helm trying to put Clinton in jail?" We can't answer that, although he was also trying to probe Candidate Gore during Campaign 2000.

It's often said that Clinton referred to Freeh as his worst appointment ever. We can't find such a quotation today, but in his book, My Life, Clinton said this about Freeh, using a magic word:

"Whatever Freeh's motives, the behavior of the FBI toward the White House was just one more example of how crazy Washington had become. The country was in good shape and getting better...yet the mindless search for scandal continued."

Was Director Freeh involved in The Crazy while at the FBI? Given prevailing rules of the game, a comment like that can never be credited within the mainstream press, whose members have memorized the official tale:

Those Clintons just keep bringing this shit on themselves!

That said, did you realize that no Democrat has ever served as FBI chief? We don't think we knew that. Such matters don't get discussed.

Are you surprised to see Barrett allege a Catholic aspect to prevailing FBI culture? We are too! As we've noted in the past, the press corps' most aggressive Clinton-haters were often (culturally conservative) East Coast Irish Catholics from the mid-twentieth century. (Joe Klein once noted this obvious fact too!) According to current media rules, you're allowed to discuss the culture of evangelical faith, but you aren't supposed to mention the role of mid-century conservative Catholic culture.

At any rate, that's who gets to run the FBI, even as viral strains of The Crazy seem to be emerging from its midst. Just for the record, it's a bad idea to build big orgs around some single cultural strain. NBC News proved that point rather conclusively back when right-wing owner Jack Welch weirdly made it an East Coast Irish Catholic preserve during the Russert years. Also, Nantucket ahoy!

We grew up East Coast Irish Catholic ourselves! That said, some people failed to escape the pull of its mid-century culture, which was devoted to punishment and puritanical sexual views.

No single culture is "right" or "wrong," of course. As a general matter, it's wiser to let our various cultures mix and challenge and help each other. A sensible person might even imagine that we're stronger together!

Concerning that 93-1 vote: Who dared to vote against Comey the God?

Who else? The heathen Senator Paul!

11 comments:

  1. The movie Spotlight illustrates this point well.

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    Replies
    1. If we are to believe the late Tom Clancy, Boston College is either the primary location for FBI recruiting or the finishing school for FBI wannabes.

      Delete
  2. ...Trying to stage a small coup! That's what this is!
    *FT

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