Americans are losing trust and confidence in the FBI and this directly impacts national security. A staggering 63 percent view the bureau negatively — and the reasons are hidden in plain sight. Over the past few years, valid criticisms have been leveled at the partisan decision-making within upper echelons of FBI leadership. Dating back to the 2016 Trump-Russia sham investigation, heavy-handed over-charging of Trump campaign surrogates, blatantly uneven treatment of right-wing and left-wing protesters and rioters, labeling angry parents speaking out at school board meetings as “domestic terror” concerns, aiding Big Tech’s 2020 election suppression of information, seeming disinterest in Hunter Biden laptop revelations and Biden family’s obvious influence-peddling schemes, and a laughably absurd Richmond division intelligence product warning of “radical-traditionalist Catholics,” the FBI has raised eyebrows.
Many retired FBI agents – to include this author – have long caveated criticisms of the FBI by maintaining the bias and partiality concerns are related to certain FBI senior executives. We then justifiably laud the hard work and faithful service of the vast majority of the men and women who comprise the street-level, case-working special agents. Yet, it is becoming exceedingly more difficult to separate large swaths of FBI rank and file from its questionable leadership.
Retired FBI Criminal Division Assistant Director Chris Swecker recently outlined why it is no longer just FBI headquarters executives who are radically transforming the bureau and skewing it leftward. Swecker acknowledges the culpability of the FBI’s current recruitment processes:
“There has been a seismic shift in the [FBI] culture…[I]n comes [FBI director] Jim Comey and he basically parachutes all these DOJ political appointees into the FBI and slowly the culture shifts over Comey’s tenure and then under [FBI director] Chris Wray it’s accelerated because I think the type of recruit they’re bringing in is more opinionated, more idealistic, more liberal, highly educated, more Ivy League, and they tend to not just follow the facts, they tend to insert their own ideologies, their own opinions because the indoctrination that’s taking place in the schools these days – if you’re virtuous and you’re highly educated, you do everyone else’s thinking for them. You can decide that President Trump is not fit to be president, therefore we need to go after him. You can decide that domestic terrorists only exist on the right side of the political aisle, not on the left side of the political aisle. You can pick winners and losers…It’s no longer ‘Let’s just follow the facts.’ I’m going to say that’s at the highest levels of the FBI…but I think it’s beginning to percolate down to the street level [rank and file agents] as well.”
The FBI proclaims that diversity remains “at the core of [its] mission.” Same preferred diversity of which American universities clamor – race, gender, sexual orientation – all while seemingly avoiding diversity in thought. Recall that the U.S. Supreme Court last June struck down affirmative action – race-conscious admissions policies – at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. Yet, liberal groupthink continues to pervade Harvard’s campus. Its incoming freshman class contains 65 percent who identify as liberal/progressive and just eight percent who identify as conservative, with 53 percent who identify as Democrat and six percent as Republican.
And while the FBI does not proudly promote its legacy of quotas, they have been a part of its diversification efforts dating back to at least the 1980s. A solidly conservative (and Caucasian) agent population rightly needed to be adjusted to better reflect the nation’s population. But at what cost? Ultimately, it translated into a system of racial preferences that unfairly rewarded less-qualified applicants for the color of their skin or gender. Certainly, no meritocracy.
J. Edgar Hoover, the father of the FBI, was born in 1895. Hoover hired James Wormley Jones, a WWI veteran who in 1919 became the FBI’s first African-American special agent. This was some 29 years before President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981, leading to desegregation of U.S. Armed Forces. Yet in 2015, a handful of FBI agents complained about a “wax-like, life-size figure of J. Edgar Hoover” positioned within the New York division’s museum. What was the reflexive decision by FBI headquarters public affairs office? Immediately remove the “offensive” statue so as not to “trigger” some fragile agent. The Washington Post characterized it thusly: “The decision to oust Hoover, who was the FBI director for 48 years and served under ten presidents, is something of a cultural moment for the bureau. Once revered among FBI agents, Hoover is no longer universally admired at the crime-fighting organization he built…Today’s agents and other employees dislike the history he represents…”
That same year, I also witnessed firsthand the FBI’s shift away from objective resource allocation and “calling things what they were” when Barack Obama’s “wing man,” Attorney General Eric Holder, compelled Comey’s FBI to resist accurate description of terror attacks by “radical Islamists” in exchange for more nebulous depictions of our efforts in “combating violent extremism.” Contrast that muted downplaying of the Muslim perpetrators of the vast majority of worldwide terror attacks with how DOJ treated the January 6th “insurrectionists” and angry parents at school board meetings — compared again to 2020 ANTIFA and BLM anarchists and rioters. The FBI has also been accused by a whistleblower of artificially-inflated domestic terrorism data as pertains to rightwing groups. Certainly, appears one-sided and partisan, no?
A majority of Americans distrust the FBI because of the appearance of partiality and bias. It is the demonstrably different manner certain investigations are conducted, dependent upon whether the target is an R or a D. Even the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) – which purports to represent active and retired agents – has taken a perceptible leftward lurch in its advocacy. The FBIAA saluted controversial and embattled immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci by presenting him its 2020 “Distinguished Service Award,” and its then-president tweeted that U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick’s death was a “killing” based upon deployment to Capitol on January 6, 2021. According to the medical examiner, Sicknick died of “natural causes.” Most egregiously, the FBIAA awarded $100 gift cards to FBI agents who shamefully knelt in solidarity with – or fear of – the mob of BLM protestors (and rioters) who descended upon Washington, D.C. in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the Summer of 2020. These examples prove that bias hasn’t only permeated the top of the FBI. It has also infected segments of the special agent population.
As the ideological underpinnings of FBI recruits continue to swing leftward, FBI leadership needs to remain ever more vigilant to ensure trust and confidence in FBI’s impartiality is not further degraded. Why does eroded trust in the FBI matter? Because part of the business is securing trust of crime victims, investigative targets, and the American public – as they all serve as the agency’s “eyes and ears.” As calls to do away with the FBI grow louder, the FBI needs to heed these warnings. We need the FBI. But it can’t continue to whistle past the graveyard, refusing to embrace necessary reforms. To do otherwise will serve as the agency’s Waterloo.