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The FBI agents are not the problem

The FBI agents are not the problem

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has tens of thousands of agents.  They do a great job of tracking down the most heinous criminals of all sorts – terrorists, mobsters, embezzlers, forgers, spies, etc., etc., etc.

They also are trained to follow orders.  It is what they do – and what they are obligated to do.  The raid on President Trump’s residence was carried out by good men and women who were honoring their oaths of office to implement the orders from their leadership and the courts.  They should not be subject to the scorn of the people – and especially not subject to threats or acts of violence.

If there is misconduct in the actions of the FBI, the responsibility falls on the leadership – those who may be manipulating or abusing the powers of their offices for political or personal benefit.

If the Department of Justice and the FBI are engaging in political witch hunts and/or abuse of power, it is not coming from the worker bees.  It is a product of leadership.

We often state our belief in the adage that “power corrupts … and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  There is no sector in the American bureaucracy that is more powerful than law enforcement.  It is the one profession that can deny us our freedom.  Law enforcement can take away our wealth and even our lives.

Those defending the major law enforcement agencies often say they are “independent,” “professional,” and “nonpartisan.” But only when they are in agreement with whatever the DOJ or the FBI are doing at the time.   Currently, those on the left say that criticizing the DOJ or the FBI undermines public confidence in law enforcement.  They accuse those on the right of undermining democracy.

On the other hand, those on the left have no compunction from mounting severe criticism on community policing, on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Secret Service, Homeland Security and the Defense Department (the latter three for the loss of text messages).

Those who head law enforcement agencies have a long history of abusing power.  J. Edgar Hoover had been under constant criticism from the left – as was Attorney General John Mitchell under President Nixon.  Attorney General Eric Holder even got the only AG contempt of Congress citation for his misuse of power to protect his boss – President Obama.

We saw enough very dubious activity by the leaders of the law enforcement and intelligence communities leading up to the 2016 presidential election – and since – to be wisely wary. It was very consistent with Senate Leader Chuck Schumer’s warning to Trump.  In the early days of the Trump administration, Schumer said Trump was really “dumb” in attacking the intelligence community.  “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.” 

As a fellow with decades of experience in the inner workings of Washington, Schumer’s warning does not support the narrative that these agencies are only motivated by independent pursuit of justice.    Schumer’s statement should be a warning to all Americans.  

No, the problem is not the cop on the beat or the FBI agent in the field.  The greatest danger comes from the corruption and politicization of the folks at the top.  One hundred percent trust in government is foolish … period.  That is why Thomas Jefferson admonished us to be “eternally vigilant” and Benjamin Franklin said that the Founders had created a Republic “if we can keep it.”

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

18 Comments

  1. Jerry

    “only following orders” is no excuse for FBI agents.

  2. Wayno

    Didn’t the NAZI soldiers say “I was just following orders”

  3. l2a3

    You would think that like in the Military, if the soldier knows he was given an illegal order he refuses to follow it. With the training these personnel had I would think one of them would have realized that their order to “ search and invade “ the residence of a former President doesn’t sound right. They should also know after their legal training that the President has the authority to declassify anything he wishes. So this sounds like a very political endeavor and not much thought to the legal aspect of this order.
    Let the critic’s loose.

    • larry Horist

      l2a3 — I think the issue of declassification can be subject of debate since there has been no Supreme Court opinion on that part of the Constitution. Personally, I believe in the absence of a law or Court decisions, presidents have an unfettered right to declassify documents without any bureaucratic procedure. Trump’s potential legal problem is in taking the records home in the face of the Presidential Records Act. Since there is a law — and since a court issued a subpoena — we cannot expect individual FBI agents to assume the raid is unlawful — nor would we want that. If there is an abuse of power, we need to focus on those abusing their power. The left would love to see attacks on FBI agents — although they are not concerned about attacks on beat cops, Border Patrol, ICE, Supreme Court justices and pro-life organizations. Recognizing that difference is where you see AG Garland’s and the DOJ’s hypocrisy and abuse of power.

      • Alice

        You and others keep digging for reasons that President Trump broke the law. The bureaucrats in the archives, Garland, fbi, cia, and other abc bureaucrats continue to dig and accuse. It’s doubtful that any of those files shipped to Mar-a-Lago is worth bothering with. Moreover, President Trump didn’t pack the boxes.

        • larry Horist

          Alice … I am more than willing to defend Trump and his policies from the unwarranted and political abuse from the left — Democrats and the media– but I am not willing to ignore facts and reality. I have worked for the White House in two administrations, so I am well aware of certain legal requirements. I think Trump can make a case on his right to declassify, but in view of the 1978 Presidential Records Act, he is on weak ground in claiming ownership of the records. You can believe, without any knowledge, that the files he brought to Mar-a-Lago or not worth bothering with, but the truth is in the records, not our uninformed opinion. You also do not know if Trump participated in packing the boxes … has inspected the contents. As they say, the jury is out on those issues … and actually we have not even seen a compelling case to give to a jury. We all need to wait and see. I just wonder why Trump wanted the records — and would go through so much effort to keep them — especially as you say, they are not important. We should all be patient before arriving at any definitive decisions or opinions.

    • Frank stetson

      I was legal, it was warranted. The man was given a year, he hid them, he lied about them, they are the people’s papers, not the Kings.

      Classified, declassified, It does not matter. He is guilty of violating the PRA, not the biggest crime, but worthy of seizure.

      The warrant and affidavit talks about potential espionage, obstruction of justice, and national security. Whether declassified or not, having this information in a unsecure location create risk to our national security. At least potentially. We will know more as they review the documents.

      • J. Green

        Pure ignorance or subtle complicity, not illegal, just not bending to the criminal wings of Leftist Dems and Demigods, Obama took 30,000,000 plus documents, still has them, yet no swat teams and Fibbie goons showed up. The top echelons of ‘in-justice departments’ need to be in prison. Meanwhile, the Leftist Lizards of the Swampland called D.C. denigrate and attempt to rule the lesser policing gangs.

    • cmw

      There is no question that there is a political agenda by the Brandon Administration here to destroy a winning opponent in 2024. While most of the FBI is good, you know there are swamp leaders leading the way in the FBI.

      • larry Horist

        cmw … thanks for reading and COMPREHENDING the point of the commentary. Most folks seem to just want to use this space to rant their own issues.

  4. Tom

    If the Department of Justice and the FBI are engaging in political witch hunts and/or abuse of power, it is not coming from the worker bees. It is a product of leadership. Does Trump and Hunter Biden come to mind? Yes we should not demonize the worker bees. I agree, it is a management issue. As an independent, I think I can speak better for them than a strong GOP author. Many of us wait on the facts and then place our criticism appropriately. DOJ and Trump both have a good narrative but we will wait for the facts. Trump appears to have first attempted to declassify using Twitter. Not good, not legal. But there appears to have been a second declassification made by Trump that was legal. Again, I will wait to the facts are known and the narrative is condensed to the truth. Trump also has a good narrative that some of the documents seized would indict those at the top, and that they were seized to keep Trump’s accusations/case from moving forward indefinitely. Again, I will wait for the facts. Very few Independents call for defunding any form of law enforcement.

  5. Mike

    Larry, You hit the nail on the head with the title of your blog, the contents not so much. I really am sick of you conservative pundits trying to demonize the Biden administration for this “Unprecedented Action”. You know what was really unprecedented? Taking hundreds of classified documents from the WH. No other President has done that. Oh, but you say, he declassified those. Do you really think that DJT has the knowledge to know what could cause “Exceptionally Grave Damage” to the US if released? I know he doesn’t and as a patriot, I am outraged that kind of information was just laying around at his public club. But you say, it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t know shit about whether it should be classified or not, he is the President, he can declassify anything he wants. (not true, but we’ll ignore that detail for now). Where is the paper trail of that happening? There is a process for everything in our government, especially so with anything dealing with classified information, and part of that process requires documentation of said decision and remarking of the documents, required even if the person performing the action is the president. Oh you say, DOJ is just trying to make this an election year issue. No, number 45 made this an election year issue. Archives has been requesting these documents since 2021, they showed up in January and were given boxes of classified information that he stole from us. Then realizing they didn’t have all the information, they subpoenaed for the rest in April, were lied to in early-June and told there was not more classified information to provide, realizing they had been lied to they later in June told them to double lock the room and prevent access until the government could get their act together to retrieve these documents. No, this did not have to be an election year issue, but the perp of Mar a Lago made it into one, so stop with the faux outrage and put the blame where is belongs, on one DJT…. So there tis….

    • larry Horist

      Tom … Not sure what you are talking about. I have not defend Trump’s taking the records. In fact, I have suggested that it could get him indicted. Also I think there should more clarity on the issue of declassification .. a process. There are procedures that have been established, but they do NOT override the President’s constitutional powers. In a sense, they are voluntary. That is why I also proposed a constitutional amendment because the it what it would take. Why? Because a President has an unfettered power to declassify. What that means has never been tested in the courts. It is not clear. There are arguments that he must do something official .. maybe follow bureaucratic procedures. Good idea, but that is not what the Constitution seems to be saying. There is an argument that just by saying he had declassified them while in the White House — but never told anyone — that are declassified based on his word even after the fact. That may sound like a bad idea, but whether that is the case has to be determined by the Supreme Court. And as you know, the real issue is violation of the 1978 Presidential Records Act — and even that could be challenged constitutionally. Not sure how you have so badly misread my position on this issue over several commentaries. And you are just wrong that procedures trump a President’s power. Same with pardons. And two things can be true … the arbitrary taking of the records is unprecedented and so is the raid. And I hope you are not suggesting that the DOJ and the FBI are not political institutions — the power of which has been abused frequently in the past.

    • Frank stetson

      +1 Mike.

      How much wrong do you need before you admit this is just not right. Where is the line?

      Even if it is the kings right declassify anything he wants at will, is it right to leave it laying around were literally any pool boy, fake heiress, or gate scammer can read it? Is it right to do this and not even tell anyone but the documents are noted no longer declassified.

      But really the classification doesn’t matter, what matters is the information that was left lying around. If it is truly declassified, then let’s see it all, let’s be transparent, let the media print it all. Certainly, given that you don’t think anything is wrong, this must be right by you. Where is the line?

      This guy met with the Russians over 100 times before he was elected. This guy withheld aid from a foreign country in order to get dirt on a political opponent. He was impeached for both of those actions. This guy held a rally which resulted in thousands of people Or crimes arranging from simple trust pass out to seditious conspiracy.

      At some point, just stating that it was legal, does not seem to be a sufficient answer. How much wrong has to be done before you admit it is just not right.Where is the line?

      • Frank stetson

        FYI: I think Larry has been pretty spot on in his comments on this. I may not agree with everything, but I can never say he’s wrong on this one.

        He did say on the PRA that it looks like Trump is guilty, but then again the test of law may be what’s on the table in the court case. It has never been tested. Secondly, I would add that the penalty for this is probably not all that severe. At least when all is said and done.

        Where Larry and I disagree is on why the raid happened : Espionage, obstruction, and national security. This has nothing to do with the classification of the documents, but everything to do with the fact that Trump had them, what info would be leaked, and the risk to national security on where he kept them. As I said, as an American citizen, my real question all along has been: why?

  6. Frank stetson

    Oh my goodness. Trump is at it again. He is doubling down on crazy and once again, when you think he can’t sing lower, he finds a way. Yesterday, his website is full of QAnon information, website links and other tasty tidbits.

    I think he’s trying to raise another army and the FBI is about to become very, very busy…… Again. I hope these people recognize what happened the last time he put a call to arms into the blogosphere.

  7. Penny

    I think it’s all for show I mean really when Hillary Clinton had all the stuff on her phones and papers marked classified what happened to her nothing the same thing that all the 10 prior President’s have gotten away with shady behavior and you might disagree but I can name at least 1 thing from them that is criminal but not any convictions, besides aren’t you over Trump already?

  8. Frank stetson

    I heard that Trump was gonna take advantage of marketing the moment when he threw his hamburger at the wall and it stuck. Apparently, he’s going to open a new restaurant chain with the same ambience of that moment. Rumor has it that has decided to call the new chain: Wall Burgers.