fired FBI Director James Comey and set ablaze the Internet gossip mill, as political analysts and ordinary Americans, alike, debated the implications for the bureau’s investigation into the president’s alleged collusion with Russia — while others celebrated that, for the first time, it might be possible to copy that favorite VHS tape or remove the tags from pillows without an agent knocking down the front door.
Others proposed more ambitious plans for the newly headless Federal Bureau of Investigation — perhaps, Dr. Ron Paul posited, the entire bureau should be disbanded.
Lamenting the degree to which Comey’s termination has been politicized by media pundits and Washington pols, Paul implored the need for critical thinking on the matter, asking the nation to consider several imperatives.
“What is the purpose of the FBI? And are they fulfilling a purpose?” Dr. Paul rhetorically asks Daniel McAdams for the Liberty Report. Further, is it possible Comey had already politicized the position of FBI director, well before Trump harkened back to his days as a reality TV host to tell the head spook, ‘You’re fired’?
Further still, is the existence of an organization “investigating and spying on everybody” in the country even necessary — let alone, justifiable?
With around 35,000 agents at its disposal — enough to populate a small city — the agency has mushroomed to proportions unnecessary for a nation virtually devoid of terrorism or other constant, existential threats.
Dr. Paul explains the spin machine keeps Comey’s firing in the headlines, with politicians contributing significantly in plastering the incident — rather than aggressive and belligerent actions by the U.S. military — nonstop across headlines. Indeed, the same politicians now feigning disgust with Trump’s dismissal of the FBI chief, just one month ago would have seen Comey’s head on a figurative platter.
That hypocrisy and the resultant untenable anger on display merits a closer look at whether the controversial spy organization has outlived any benefit to the public, if in fact, there ever was one.
Discussing the State’s propaganda machine, Dr. Paul emphasizes that what’s typically termed ‘spin’ in actuality, “it’s mostly flat-out lying — when they lie us into war,” as has been the case in Syria and a lengthy list of other zones of conflict with U.S. military involvement.
“It isn’t just modification in tone,” he continues, “it literally is deceiving the people. And this doesn’t mean that what’s happening at the FBI isn’t serious, but I also think this whole process brings up the subject, ‘How important is the FBI?’
“I mean, it is powerful. And we know this is just one-hundred-and-some years old, and was started during Teddy Roosevelt’s term in office — which is no surprise — and they don’t have a very good record.
”It was the era of J. Edgar Hoover — a man who held the position for nearly five years, Comey has been forced to leave — when the collection of data became an obsession of the FBI. Hoover’s bureau possessed “data on everybody,” and frequently used that as a form of political “blackmail,” Paul notes, adding, “in many ways, Hoover was a disgrace, but that sentiment has continued, and still exists in the FBI.”
Hoover’s storied tenure with the bureau forced the imposition of a ten-year term limit for FBI directors. Dr. Paul isn’t alone in such a critical assessment of the FBI’s history and continued legacy after Hoover.
Indeed, the controversial figure managed to keep that title for so long, in part, because, as former Washington Post investigative reporter Ronald Kessler noted,
“He wrapped himself in the flag and was this great patriot, and nobody could question him, so in that sense, he was a product of the times.”
“But over the course of his term,” TIME reports, “the power he held began to seem a little too extreme. During those years, Hoover had already become infamous for keeping blackmail files on members of Congress, even Presidents, and for wire-tapping dissidents (which, in his view, even included Martin Luther King Jr.). Even so, he kept his job. Richard Hack, author of Puppet Master: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover, told NBC’s Dateline that President John F. Kennedy was ‘scared to death’ of Hoover because he didn’t know the full extent of the dirt that Hoover may have had on him. As President Lyndon B. Johnson once explained why he couldn’t fire Hoover: ‘I’d rather have him inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.’”
To bring that history into modern relevance, McAdams explains the FBI’s pattern of quashing vocal opposition to U.S. involvement in various wars is longstanding if unstated policy — currently, and particularly, in the case of Syria, where a proxy battle with Russia has been ongoing for years.
Dr. Paul suggests the FBI’s penchant for scrutinizing dissenters both inside and outside the political realm could be in practice now, as the Hoover-era bureau amassed data on German- and Japanese-Americans — beginning a full two years prior to the start of World War II. Even more telling of our present climate and the focus of the Feds, McAdams adds, that same FBI kept an eye on politicians seeking a diplomatic recognition of Soviet Russia — the same narrative proffered by the D.C. establishment today, sans the U.S.S.R. overtones.
“It’s like history repeating itself,” McAdams asserts.
“You know, the founders warned against a standing army,” Dr. Paul affirms, “and I think … we have the standing army. We have the nationalization of the police force. And the FBI has thirty-five thousand in their ‘army.
“But that is even small when you look up everything else under the Department of Homeland Security. I mean, we are an armed State against the People. There are probably more people patrolling our streets from the Federal Government than the horrible mess we’re doing overseas.”
Dr. Paul asks, “And what do they do? We end up losing. We’re supposed to be fighting and getting involved to protect our Constitution and our liberties.”
But that isn’t what the FBI does — its collection of information on American citizens and leaders runs in direct contradiction to the supposed protection of freedoms with which such an organization ostensively began.
Looking to the formation of the United States, Paul reminds the audience just three areas were considered the purview of Congress: “treason, counterfeiting, and piracy” — today’s manifestation of federal oversight has instead become a pernicious and overbearing force, with the FBI one of the primary culprits.
As Paul and McAdams continue the discussion, the insidious nature of the modern FBI is made apparent, between spying and data collection, to the creation of a climate of fear — where a pro-war, pro-U.S. interventionist belief system equivocates laudable patriotism — and civilians blindly accept whatever narrative the government puts forth, no matter the consequences to liberty and innate rights.
“I would not be upset if we didn’t have an FBI,” Dr. Paul opines.
People might believe such a stance means an Intelligence Community shouldn’t exist at all, but Paul clarifies, “I believe in an intelligent gathering of intelligence — and not to give power to a select group working in privacy.”
Perhaps, considering the tabloidesque iterations in headlines and discussions of the firing of James Comey, Ron Paul’s call to dismantle the factious spy organization known as the FBI isn’t such a ludicrous proposition, after all.