Thursday, August 18, 2022

An Insider Perspective on the Mar-a-Lago Raid

An Insider Perspective on the Mar-a-Lago Raid

John Nantz

J. Edgar Hoover’s golden rule was, “never embarrass the Bureau.” Even if a relatively small infraction, by today’s standards, brought embarrassment to the Director’s office, it could result in summary termination. Whatever you may think of Hoover, he created an agency with a peerless reputation. Hoover’s FBI, where the suit and tie G-men bagged bank robbers, cuffed mobsters, or ferreted out KGB spies, was created to fill the professionalism gap in American law enforcement. The result was a national investigative agency that embodied the tip of the law enforcement spear — employing the latest in scientific innovation, staffed by highly educated, dedicated law enforcement professionals.  

The troglodyte, ham-fisted buffoonery perpetrated at Mar-a-Lago would have resulted in an FBI HQ bloodbath. Hoover would have fired or transferred anyone associated with the Mar-a-Lago outrage. The empty suits and professional briefers who currently scuttle through the sterile Seventh Floor halls of FBI HQ must have known the search warrant on former President Donald Trump’s estate in Florida would create a firestorm of Biblical proportion. If they truly lacked the acumen to foresee the excrement-hitting-the-fan, then they should be fired for sheer stupidity. 

Current Director, Christopher Wray, certainly knew the unprecedented, unthinkable, and obviously partisan execution of a search warrant at a former president’s residence would blacken the FBI’s reputation — very likely irreparably. But, it seems, nothing is too precious to sacrifice on the altar of political expediency. The top echelon of FBI management has become arrogant and entitled. But, why not? Former Director James Comey has yet to be held accountable for his role in running interference for Hillary Clinton’s criminal negligence in handling classified material. The bias is crystal clear. If you’re an establishment Democrat in Washington, you get all the top cover you need — clear, corroborated, scientific evidence of a crime will be expunged. If you’re a Washington outsider, or a threat to the bureaucratic state, you’ll be harassed, maligned, and persecuted at every opportunity. We are no longer a nation of laws. 

As a retired FBI agent, I can assure you that if any FBI employee had handled classified information the way Hillary Clinton did, “storing” it on a private server, he or she would immediately have their security clearance revoked, be immediately escorted out of any FBI facility, and become the subject of both criminal and counterintelligence investigations. To put things in perspective, Hillary Clinton placed classified information on a vulnerable system, directly connected to the internet, which any mid-grade hacker could easily exploit — she essentially took top secret files and left them on the steps of the Russian, Chinese, and Iranian embassies. That’s how bad it really was, and she got away with it. 

Conversely, Trump secured his classified documents, which he was free to declassify (when President, Trump was empowered with original classification authority), in a secure location and complied with requests to enhance the security of the documents by likely installing Hirsch scramble pads, commonly utilized to control access to Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIF). The entire Mar-a-Lago estate was under 24-7 Secret Service protection — access to the estate being monitored and documented. The documents in Trump’s possession were practically secured in Fort Knox compared to the clown-show Hillary Clinton was running with state secrets. Again, Hillary was demonstrably criminally negligent and destroyed subpoenaed documents. Whereas, Trump was in negotiation with the National Archives to comply with legitimate requests for documents. 

Interestingly, The raid on Trump’s estate was requested by David Ferriero, former National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Director. Ferriero is the same individual who refused to request DOJ involvement in Hillary Clinton’s criminal negligence, even after receiving a request from Senator Chuck Grassley to do so. Apparently, NARA only cares about classified documents if there is a Republican presidential election to thwart. As a tangental note, former President Barack Obama absconded with approximately 33 million pages of government documents with not so much as a twitch from NARA. 

A search warrant involving a political figure of Trump’s stature would involve a voluminous affidavit, would certainly be controlled at every step by FBI HQ, and would certainly include the electronic signature of the FBI Director. FBI investigations live and breathe in documents called Electronic Communications, or ECs. These documents reside within the secure structure of FBI computer systems. The search warrant process routinely involves copious amounts of documentation via EC that flows not only up and down the FBI management chain, but also horizontally to DOJ attorneys and/or to the Attorney General himself. Search warrants do not exist in and of themselves, they are one of an array of investigative tools utilized in an overarching investigation — and don’t be surprised if other investigative methods are utilized against Trump. An investigation of a former president, would be centralized at FBI HQ (the Hoover Building) and strictly compartmentalized. This is how a relatively small group of individuals can operate within the larger FBI structure without the knowledge of most “street agents.”

With investigations of this nature, there is always a massive paper trail, documenting approvals at every level. 

It is farcical to assert that the FBI Director, the U.S. Attorney General, and the White House are not hand-in-glove participants throughout the development of an investigation of this import. I have personally been part of investigations, of far less sensitivity, where White House officials observed operational activity. For me, the assertion that Joe Biden didn’t know is laughable. 

For me, it is less important to know that the Mar-a-Lago raid was a fishing expedition — that’s obvious from the details of the search warrant and from the refusal of agents to allow Trump attorneys some oversight. And, it explains why FBI agents have been reduced to rummaging through the former First Lady’s lingerie drawer. You can never be too sure where a former president may be stashing his flash drives. 

The Mar-a-Lago raid becomes truly grotesque and diabolical in context. 

The same political class that covered up Hillary Clinton’s criminal negligence is engaged in a transparent attempt to subvert the franchise. That means the Department of Justice and the FBI have been marshaled by the Democrat party to perpetrate tyranny at the ballot box. There could be no greater threat to our democracy. Was the Mar-a-Lago raid a fishing expedition? Certainly, common sense easily resolves that calculus. Is Trump being set up? Certainly. Is the FBI, particularly in this instance, a political patsy? Without a doubt. 

The FBI can and must be salvaged. All it takes is an FBI Director with the fortitude and mandate to do what Hoover or former Director Louis J. Freeh would certainly have done — ferret out and fire those executives bent on embarrassing the Bureau. I know a host of retired agents who would cheer on the judicious operation of a professional guillotine. I know I speak for many, many FBI agents who are tired of being embarrassed by executive management ideologues. It’s not just our FBI, it’s yours as well. There are still G-men and G-women of the Eliot Ness mold who need all of us at the ballot box — we can still turn back the tide of Democrat and deep state tyranny.

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