Elder Patriot – Kevin R. Brock, former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, an FBI special agent for 24 years, and principal deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), wrote an Op-Ed that appeared in today’s The Hill.
Brock implored President Trump’s soon-to-be confirmed attorney general nominee, William Barr, to examine the facts when evaluating the decision to begin investigating then-candidate Donald Trump that eventually led to the appointment of the special counsel.
Barr has already promised to do this which is almost assuredly why Sen. Dianne “Chinese spy) Feinstein (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and leading Democrats are opposed to Barr’s confirmation.
This exchange, during confirmation questioning between Barr and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) runs straight to the heart of Democrat objections.
Sen. Graham: “Are there rules on how you can do counterintelligence investigations in the FBI?”
Nominee Barr: “I believe there are.”
Graham asked Barr to “please get to the bottom of it.” Barr promised, under oath, that he would.
Barr is well aware these rules exist under the title 42 U.S. Code Subchapter II – ATTORNEY GENERAL GUIDELINES
Brock stresses the importance of these guidelines:
“The AGG exist for one fundamental reason: to protect Americans from investigation by their government based on caprice, curiosity, resentments, or differences of political, religious, policy and cultural opinion.”
Mollie Hemingway, writing for the Federalist, has an excellent piece dissecting a New York Times article that attempts to defend the FBI launching an investigation into President Trump relying on “the FBI’s surprisingly flimsy justification.”
Admitting there is no actual evidence for their probe into whether Trump “worked for the Russians,” FBI officials instead cited their foreign policy differences with him, his lawful firing of bungling FBI Director James Comey, and alarm that he accurately revealed to the American public that he was told he wasn’t under investigation by the FBI, when they preferred to hide that fact.
According to Brock:
Under the guidelines, before the FBI can initiate an investigation it must articulate facts that reasonably indicate a U.S. person may be acting on behalf of a foreign government or entity.
“Acting on behalf” means more than simply considering or pursuing a business deal in a foreign country. If that were enough to trigger an intrusive investigation literally tens of thousands, or more, international business men and women would be under constant FBI surveillance.
Perhaps if Trump had offered to grease the transfer of, oh say, 20% of our Uranium reserves to a Russian company in exchange for a preferred deal in building a hotel in Moscow…
The FBI must use this preliminary stage of less-intrusive investigative techniques to determine if further, more intrusive investigation is warranted. The AGG impose firm time limits on the FBI at this stage to help ensure investigations don’t become open-ended.
Yet, an open-ended mandate is exactly what Acting Attorney General gave to Mueller in the “scope” letter he issued authorizing the special counsel’s investigation.
Brock also questions the fact patterns that lead him to conclude that the AGG were likely violated by initiating the counterintelligence investigation of Trump and his campaign:.
First, there seemed to be, according to his and then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s own testimony, a heavy reliance on information generated by opposition party funding. This does not rise to the reasonableness standards of the AGG for starting a case.
Second, Comey took the highly unusual step of opening and conducting the counterintelligence investigation at FBI headquarters rather than an FBI field office, where all other FBI investigations are carried out. If there was a good reason for this, none has been offered. Those of us who served in the FBI can think of many, many reasons why it is a terrible idea.
FBI headquarters is not set up to run an investigation, to monitor and meet all the dense administrative protocols of the AGG, like a field office does on a daily basis. The likelihood of compliance failures is immense. In addition, headquarters leadership is where the FBI most closely intersects with political Washington. For this reason alone, they are traditionally and prudently not involved in active investigations — that is, until Comey, McCabe and former agent Peter Strzok.
The hope here is that once the new sheriff takes over the focus will shift to investigating the real corruption that took place – the corruption of the CIA, the FBI, the DOJ, and the State Department under the guidance of John Brennan, James Comey, Loretta Lynch, and Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.
That hope is buttressed by the long faces and stated opposition of Feinstein, Schumer and other Democrats when Barr’s name is mentioned.
Check out this video of the then-haughty Schumer warning Trump not to try confronting the corrupt and out of control intelligence community (Deep State) prior to Trump’s inauguration:
“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you. So, even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he is being really dumb to do this.”
If body language means anything Schumer is not so haughty anymore:
Finally, the special counsel’s recent public repudiation of the BuzzFeed article – the first such renunciation of the many false news stories during the tenure of the special counsel – indicates that Robert Mueller understands that he is now the one who’ll be under the microscope from here on.