So much for the FBI’s oath of office

When I was sworn in as a chaplain in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (part of the Department of Justice, or DOJ), I took the same oath of office as that sworn by every agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (better known as the FBI, and also part of the DOJ):

I [name] do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

There’s nothing particularly hard to understand about it.  It means what it says.  One wonders, therefore, why some (perhaps many) agents and administrators in the FBI appear to have trouble understanding it – let alone applying it.  That’s a very fair question, in the light of the Bureau’s highly questionable tactics (not to mention apparent “judge-shopping” by the Justice Department) to obtain a FISA court order for surveillance of the Trump campaign.

The oath of office is applied through the laws of the United States, passed in terms of the Constitution.  In particular, 18 U.S. Code § 1001 is relevant.  Click the image below to read it at the source page.

It’s bad enough to see that section of the US Code so flagrantly violated in the application for a FISA warrant, as disclosed in the Nunes memorandum released last week.  However, the worst thing about it is that it’s merely the latest incident in a long-standing pattern of behavior.  To take just one example, consider the shooting of Lavoy Finicum in 2016, and the FBI’s highly questionable conduct there:

Oregon State Police SWAT troopers at the scene, ordinarily required to wear body cameras, didn’t that day at the request of the FBI. The FBI did obtain video from FBI surveillance planes flying above the scene.

State police detectives also normally record interviews of officers who might be involved in a shooting, but they didn’t that night when questioning the FBI Hostage Rescue Team members, again at the FBI’s request. A follow-up interview with the hostage team members also came with unusual conditions, prosecutors note.

. . .

A major incident team of local authorities processed the shooting scene and Finicum’s truck. They found no spent rifle casings in the roadway, though witnesses reported seeing them there … Deschutes County investigators shared their concerns about missing evidence and unaccounted-for shots with FBI officials in the days after the shooting.

. . .

On Feb. 6, 2016, two state police detectives reinterviewed Astarita, but by then the hostage rescue team agents knew there were unaccounted-for gunshots and missing shell casings. The agents set conditions for the interview: They could only be interviewed as a group, the interview couldn’t be recorded and their lawyer could be present on a speakerphone.

The state police detectives found those conditions “particularly an unrecorded group interview – odd and problematic, but reluctantly agreed to them, believing that the alternative would be no interview at all,”  prosecutors wrote.

There’s more at the link.

I’ll say right away that such conduct gives the impression of deliberately setting up a scenario where FBI agents could “duck and dive” their way out of any responsibility for their actions.  Anyone denying that is either dissembling, or living in cloud cuckoo land.  At the very least, I think one can accuse the agents – and their superiors – of being “economical with the truth“.

Want another example?  Consider the behavior of two FBI special agents during the presidential election campaign of 2016, where they appear to have deliberately conspired – with their superiors’ knowledge and approval – to evade statutory and regulatory requirements concerning their communications.  Famed investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson reports:

FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok seem to discuss this very issue in private texts.

Page: Have a meeting with turgal about getting iphone in a day or so

Strzok: Oh hot damn. . . We get around our security/monitoring issues?

Page: No, he’s proposing that we just stop following them.  Apparently the requirement to capture texts came from [Office of Management and Budget], but we’re the only org (I’m told) who is following that rule.  His point is, if no one else is doing it why should we. . .  I’m told – thought I have seen – that there is an IG report that says everyone is failing.  But one has changed anything, so why not just join in the failure.

It’s a shockingly cavalier attitude from an attorney and high level FBI official.

There are more text messages between Strzok and Page from a critical time period, as we now know, that the FBI claimed had been lost in a technical glitch. After that became public, the Inspector General said he was able to recover them. (Interesting that the FBI couldn’t.)

. . .

This is just one artery of a huge problem that also includes federal agencies routinely violating Freedom of Information Act law. They’ve twisted the law on its head, using it to obstruct and delay the release of obviously public information. They filter legitimate public records through political reviews before releasing them in a process that isn’t, in my view, allowed under Freedom of Information law.

Again, more at the link.

Another example would be the extraordinary failures of the FBI’s investigative laboratory over many years, which may have contributed to the incarceration – even the execution – of innocent persons.

In the light of all these and other incidents, it’s no wonder that the FBI is regarded with distrust by many Americans (including myself).  I entirely agree with Prof. Alan Dershowitz‘s call for a commission of inquiry into it and other Federal law enforcement agencies.

Legal expert Alan Dershowitz warned that the government surveillance abuses alleged in the controversial Republican FISA memo could be a “systemic problem.”

. . .

He said he’s calling for a nonpartisan commission to investigate, to serve the public interest in the integrity of our law enforcement agencies.

“Every American – liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican – has a stake in making sure that the FBI remains accountable and follows the law and follows the Constitution,” Dershowitz said.

More at the link.

I think there’s more than enough smoke to prove the presence of fire at the FBI.  It needs to be extinguished, yesterday if not sooner.  When I took the oath of office, I meant every word.  I’ve kept it ever since.  One wonders . . . if the FBI appears so determined to disregard it, why do they still make their agents take it?  Isn’t that downright hypocritical?



  1. Shepherd Book on Firefly once mentioned "a special level of hell". I think we know for whom it's intended, now.

  2. Rev. Paul – According to Dante – 7th circle for Violence, 8th circle for Fraud, and the 9th circle for Treachery. It seems as if elements of the FBI (and DOJ and the as a whole) fit the bill for any and all of them.

    Confession – I used to work in federal law enforcement. The FBI was widely regarded by my people as "Active Stupid" – they screwed up everything they touched, and were always looking for more. The DOJ itself is almost entirely political, and not to be trusted with anything at all. And by political, I mean the Leftists are embedded there like ticks, or maybe tapeworms. After all, you can't have social and economic just-us without the Department of Justice. It's a lot like the State Department – the majority of the staff are true believers, that's why they work there. Conservatives/realists need not apply, and the few who make it in are hounded mercilessly by the pack. It also explains the massive incompetence – they aren't judged on their real world performance, but upon their ability to repeat and enforce the narrative. Take, for example, the EPA agent who's massive incompetence contaminated an entire river recently – nothing was done to her.

  3. Questions arise….

    What does the FBI do that is absolutely essential, and what FBI tasks could be reassigned to existing State or Federal agencies?

    What restrictions should or could be plaed on the future employment of former personnel of a disbanded FBI?

    What would be the sources of personnel to man a reconstituted FBI? There was a time when all FBI candidates were expected to have degrees in accountancy or law. What would be the effect of replacing that filter with a tour or two as a Master-At-Arms or Military Policeman?

    I used to drink – at the Dew Drop Inn, or maybe it was the Long Barn – with some AP's out of NAS Agana. I suspect they've had a chance now to tell Hap Arnold what they think of his personnel screening policies.

  4. McChuck,

    10x's 10!


    What does the FBI do that is absolutely essential…?

    Very little that could not be retasked.

    …and what FBI tasks could be reassigned to existing State or Federal agencies?

    99.9%, but then no one would be able to say: "We are the FBI"

  5. McChuck – the local officers call the FBI people "Fibbies," mostly due to the lies they tell.


    I watched A&E's "Waco, Madman or Messiah" show. Sure, David Koresh was off his rocker about some or many things, but the show got really dark when they interviewed the head of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team. That man, to this day, projected arrogance and a hatred for others that would have fit well in a Camp Guard during Hitler's reign of terror. He made the arsehole hostage negotiator seem positively liberal in comparison.

    And then there's Lon Horiuchi. 'Nuff said about that.

    The FBI needs a colon cleanse. With the worms being sent to prison or riffed without bennies at least. Purposely violating the Constitution and their oaths to protect and defend it.

    And, while we're at it, can we go after some congresscritters and executive branch people who have violated their oaths? Like those who are actively supporting criminals over legal citizens? Please?

    As to anyone who has any dealing with the FBI, DON'T SAY A THING! SHUT UP! I personally wouldn't deliver a pizza to them without my lawyer next to me.

  6. So just where are the words Police Powers in the US Constitution? Congress is supposed to write laws to call out the Militias for Federal law enforcement. Or did I miss something?

  7. Per his autobiography Mindhunter, when John Douglas took the oath, his whole class actually had to not just say it, but say it several times. At the top of their voices. Screaming it.

    The old FBI had some serious problems, but… I think some of these guys really needed that bootcamp-style oathtaking.

  8. Here's another one for you.

    March, 2016: Carter Page is an undercover employee of the FBI making a case against Russian spies. Towards the end of the month, he joins the Trump campaign.

    October 2016: Page is described to a FISA court as an spy for the Russians; the resultant warrant allows the surveillance of just about everyone he talks to.

  9. America as a whole might benefit from a national police force in the same way that its states benefit from having their state police forces, but where does it say that overgrown "bureaux of investigation" are necessary at either a national or state level?

    Trump would do well to eliminate the FBI in favour of creating an actual national police force that has to answer to the state authorities, where it would operate with their approval.

    I see that force as being less like Europol and more like Interpol, mostly for the purpose of preserving the shreds of the torn-apart American Constitution that are still serviceable.

  10. what's hypocrisy to a pack of liars, peter?

    the justice system and real justice are two different things.

    abrogation of the Constitution = treason.
    penalty for treason? death.

  11. Anyone catch the latest abomination…? Strzok was apparently texting from inside a SCIF.

    A. Fucking. SCIF.

    Do that anywhere I worked, in the military, and you'd be in Leavenworth for the rest of your natural life. Probably under it…

    We just put a submariner in prison for taking pictures of his workspace. Prison. Strzok won't see a day in court, let alone prison… Think about that, while you watch all this crap go down.

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