FBI’s Unsavory History Casts Shadow Over Debate About Political Meddling: New at Reason

The FBI has a long history of playing at politics, and many of the officials complaining the loudest keep handing the feds more tools to do just that.

J.D. Tuccille writes:

Aren't law enforcement agencies supposed to be above partisan squabbles? Not this year, as elected officials debate whether the FBI's conduct in 2016's hotly contested presidential election was spurred by legitimate concerns over foreign meddling, or by bureaucrats' fears that the "wrong" candidate might win the contest.

But the feds brought this on themselves; they've never been above playing at politics. And many of the political players complaining the loudest about the FBI are all too happy to hand it the tools to continue the shenanigans.

The FBI "has placed more emphasis on domestic dissent than on organized crime and, according to some, let its efforts against foreign spies suffer because of the amount of time spent checking up on American protest groups," documents released by members of Congress reveal.

To the contrary, the FBI director protests, "FBI employees in these programs had acted in good faith and within the bounds of what was expected of them by the president, the attorney general, Congress, and, I believe, a majority of the American people."

Oh wait. That exchange is over 40 years old. The revelation of FBI interference in domestic policy debates, spying on activists, and even trying to sabotage political parties comes from the Church Committee report, issued in 1976. The riposte comes from then-FBI Director Clarence M. Kelley.

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