Thursday, May 16, 2019

Quickies: Circular Firing Squads Can Reverse Direction Very Swiftly

     There’ve been a number of articles on the Web these past few days about the exchanges of accusations among Justice Department and intelligence community figures who had some hand in the “Russian collusion” hoax that targeted President Trump. The most frequently cited names so far have been those of disgraced former FBI director James Comey and former CIA director John Brennan, who are now sparring over the prominence of their respective roles in the promotion and exploitation of the “Steele dossier.” Many in the Right have been figuratively rubbing their hands together with glee, anticipating a falling-out among highly placed persons involved in the hoax that could lead to all the details of the affair being revealed.

     This does seem a happy development. However, the seeming fusillades among these persons could have another purpose. It could be a tactic intended to persuade those capable of investigating the matter deeply enough to bring major miscreants to justice that “it’s too big” — that is, that a serious, determined plumbing of the cesspool would do unacceptable damage to persons or institutions that we “can’t afford to lose.”

     Do not doubt that that could result. The spanking-new FBI director, Christopher Wray, is already maneuvering to protect “his” Bureau from a housecleaning. Various prominent Republicans have displayed a great reluctance to “perpetuate the nightmare” for the sake of determining the responsible parties, bringing them to justice, and enforcing a thorough cleansing upon the agencies involved. Many highly placed persons, both inside and outside the corridors of power, have opined that the cost of restoring integrity to the Justice Department and the intelligence community might be too high to bear. Never mind what it might cost the country to allow them to remain corrupt. <

     Of course, it could also be about fear of reprisal. The old saying “it ain’t what you know; it’s who you know” is moderately misfocused. As Lawrence Block has observed, it ain’t who you know; it’s what you’ve got on ‘em. The FBI and CIA are fanatic collectors of such information, and have several times proved willing to use it for their own purposes. The IRS also collects dirt in wholesale quantities. As it’s still under the crosshairs for its suppression of conservative political activity, it might be persuaded to lend a hand.

     It’s been noted by many that Washington’s first priority is to protect Washington. The attitude is more pervasive than even a great many cynics would believe. This will bear close scrutiny…and possibly the most extraordinary reaction, should corrective action fail to materialize.

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