‘Attacking’ the FBI is an unalienable American right
Republicans, we are being told, should be ashamed of themselves for verbally trashing an iconic American institution, namely the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Historically speaking, this is a strange talking point for Democrats to espouse. It’s odder still to see it parroted by the mainstream media. Most discordant of all is when leftists act shocked, shocked that anybody would dare criticize the FBI.
Questioning the competence and honesty of the bureau, The Nation magazine asserted recently, is an attack “on the rule of law” by an administration “willing to collapse the very pillars of American democracy.” Really? Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation was long considered the conscience of the American left, and not a publication that gave itself the vapors defending the establishment. It challenged Woodrow Wilson on race, took early issue with Joseph McCarthy, and battled openly with the FBI. When I.F. Stone, the magazine’s Washington editor, ridiculed FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI spied on Stone for decades — looking ridiculous, not to mention petty and ugly, in the process.
Has the FBI changed its ways? That’s an open question. Operating out of its headquarters in downtown Washington, an ugly building aptly named after Hoover, the bureau managed to make itself the centerpiece of the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton loyalists make a pretty strong case that its previous director cost her the presidency. President Trump and his loyalists have accused the bureau of spying on the GOP nominee’s campaign and trying to sabotage his first year in office.
Neither one is wrong, but the two sides aren’t inclined toward being philosophical these days. For liberals, the dynamic for liberals is clear: Anybody investigating Trump is good; anyone defending him is bad. So The New York Times runs an analysis headlined “Trump’s Unparalleled War on a Pillar of […]