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Elected representatives of the people have been investigating unlawful surveillance of American citizens through the FISA court. When representatives posed questions to FBI boss Christopher Wray he told them, “I’m not prepared to discuss what happened in the court,” though he obviously knew the answer. Instead of answering questions, Wray offered boilerplate praise for the brave men and women of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He left out the way foreign governments had gained influence by corrupting FBI agents.
The FBI’s Robert Hanssen, for example, gave thousands of pages of classified material, including U.S. nuclear secrets, to the KGB and its Russian successor agency the SVR. Hanssen pulled this off from 1979 to 2001 and caused enormous damage to the United States. FBI man Richard Miller, a counterintelligence man like Peter Strzok, also sold classified documents to Russian agents. FBI man Earl Pitts gave U.S. secrets to the Russians from 1987 until 1992. On the other hand, when Russia warned the FBI that the Tsarnaev brothers were dangerous, the FBI’s investigation found no links to terrorism and failed to prevent the Tsarnaev’s bomb attack on the Boston Marathon in 2013. So along with corruption comes incompetence.
The FBI boasts a budget of nearly $9 billion but contrary to what Wray appears to believe, the FBI is not a government unto itself. The FBI is a division of the United States government subject to oversight by the people’s elected representatives, who deserve answers to honest questions about political bias and government surveillance of U.S. citizens. If millennials are puzzled by the FBI’s current tangle, they should know that under longtime boss J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI took measures to “neutralize” civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. So it’s entirely appropriate that the current FBI headquarters is the J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC.