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Monday, February 5, 2018
Naming Names Is Mandatory in the House Intelligence Memo
No one is beyond the law, especially those who are pledged to uphold it. They deserve special scrutiny. That is why, particularly now, the FBI must take its medicine and allow the House Intelligence Committee to publish the Republican memo intact -- with names named.
If the memo is incorrect, inaccurate, or unfair, those who wrote and backed it will pay the price. If it is correct, those named have things to answer for. Systems must be fixed. An organization must be repaired -- and quickly. If the FBI was suborned for partisan purposes, it is an atrocity well beyond Watergate.
We live in an era when human privacy is essentially extinct. Unless you stay entirely off the grid -- and few in the modern world can do that -- you are a fool to think your communications, and indeed movements, are not being monitored. It's been that way for some time.
All our lives have been affected -- technologically, psychologically, and even morally -- in ways we are only just beginning to understand.
That is why the current House investigation into the activities of the FBI is of paramount, even epoch, importance -- way beyond the brain-deadening partisanship that seems to be engulfing the discussion. Everyone, no matter the party, no matter the belief, even if they are foolish enough not to realize it, will be at risk at one time or another from the titanic (and anonymous) technological capabilities of government.
The responsibility of intelligence and policing organizations to protect the privacy of our citizens from this cannot be overstated. It could not be more crucial if we believe in and hope to maintain whatever remains of our freedom.
Whatever the details of the Republican memo, unknown at this writing, and of future memos that may exist, their publication is mandatory, if only to serve notice that the people have primacy over the government agencies that are serving them.
It's surprising, and extremely disheartening, that those leading the FBI and the DOJ don't immediately realize and acknowledge that. Instead, they choose to stonewall, prevaricate, and redact documents in manners that are often fallacious and self-serving. They have failed mightily in their mission that is first to us, a distant second to themselves and the preservation of their organizations. If the FBI serves itself more than the American public -- if this is even a close call -- it should cease to exist.
Another problem with the insularity of organizations like the FBI is that -- since, for the most part, all criticism comes from within a rigid hierarchical structure -- it can tend to create dysfunctional personalities given to arbitrary or biased decision making. J. Edgar Hoover was not a complete aberration.
This always has to be guarded against. Transparency can be a bitter pill. It inevitably has risks. People will be hurt, sometimes unfairly. But that bitter pill must be swallowed to avoid a poison pill. It may not seem so bitter when the air clears, especially if we trust the people, not the bureaucracies or their media allies.
If, as the FBI apparently seeks, their people are allowed to remain in the shadows, while the rest of us walk about at their whim, we are already living in that nightmare Orwell conceived of decades ago.
As has been said, albeit in a radically different context, "Let a hundred memos bloom. Let a hundred schools of thought contend."
MORE: Regarding the question of what the Russians were up to in 2016, it seems many of our friends at the FBI never read Ion Pacepa's Disinformation. This is rather surprising considering Pacepa is the highest-ranking Soviet bloc intelligence official ever to defect to the West. (HINT TO READERS : read this book) But never mind, the substance of what Pacepa, chief intel officer to Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu, tells us is that what the KGB (and now the FSB) is almost always up to is disinformation. Spying is too difficult, time consuming and often inaccurate. Disinformation is simple. So that's what they have given us and always will. Did they want Trump to win? Absurd. Like everyone else -- except me and Scott Adams -- they thought Hillary was going to win. They just wanted to sow discord. This is so obvious a third grader should be able to figure it out. The whole Trump Russia Collusion story is, to put it simply, bananas. Not even Adam Schiff could really believe it -- at least I hope not, in which case he would have to be a lunatic.