Professor Ford: Be careful what you wish for

I've been through the process of Senate advise-and-consent confirmation, including an FBI background investigation, and must warn Professor Christine Blasey to be careful what she wishes for:

A woman who has accused President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual assault decades ago wants her allegations to be investigated by the FBI before she appears at a U.S. Senate hearing, her lawyers said on Tuesday.

As President Trump noted, Judge Kavanaugh has been through the FBI wringer six times:

"He is one of the great intellects and one of the finest people that anybody has known. You look at his references – I've never seen anything quite like it," he said.  "The FBI has I think gone through a process six times with him over the years where he went to higher and higher positions.  He is somebody very special."

Because Senator Feinstein waited until the very last minute to bring up this serious charge, the FBI would be faced with what is called "raw" information in the FBI advise-and-consent vetting process.

I suspect that Senator Feinstein wanted to trigger a full FBI field investigation on this "raw" information, which could then have tied up the process for some time, but she thankfully failed.  Professor Ford, Senator Feinstein, and all associated with this had better understand the potential power of what they were and still are trying to bring down on themselves by calling in the FBI for an investigation.

If the FBI ends up engaged, then the awesome 21st-century surveillance state technology can be employed.  The ability to capture all electronic information can bring the disinfectant of sunshine to the issue.

Having been through the Senate's advise and consent process in much kinder and gentler times, I learned a lot.  I was confirmed in 1989.  Today's FBI vetting has been updated with 21st-century technological advances that I previously identified and warned about.

In going through the FBI "full field," I was assigned a special agent who was a first-rate individual with a good sense of humor.  He explained the process: everything I put down on my "clearance form" would be gone over by their capable "forensic auditors," and he would concurrently do my "field" investigation.

He quipped that he would first interview the five references I put down and, expecting them to say good things about me, would ask at the end: "Now, who doesn't like him?"  He then added: "We like ex-wives."  And so it went.

I asked him how you address any asserted derogatory information – that is, "raw" allegations.  He explained that the accusation is put on a form, and then the negative information provided is fully investigated as best as they can, with additional interviews and additional searches for any possible hard forensic evidence.

If the FBI is called in to investigate Ford's charges, then it would be time to harness the power of the surveillance state.  Special agents could ask all parties connected to the case, including elected officials and their staffs, if they would allow access to their "electronic" records in order to build a complete case of vetting.  I bet nearly all in the legislative branch would say, "No!"

Everyone else connected to the "raw file" accusations also would be interviewed, and with the great power of collecting telephone metadata and emails once the terms of full disclosure are assured, additional pertinent information might be brought to light.  All their e-mails and phone logs with respect to the victim and others in this serious accusation should be investigated.

This could shed sunlight on whether there was any "editorial" process in play or a structured P.R. roll-out strategy being executed.  As we learned from the Strzok-Page media leak strategy, phone connections and emails to reporters might be of interest.

Professor Ford has an attorney, and like separation of powers and Fourth Amendment protections, attorney-client privilege is sacred – unless one is Special Counsel Mueller.  However, prior to hiring her attorney, investigators could discover how and when that lawyer got recommended and what was said about the case by those outside attorney-client privilege.

Do the Democrats, so anxious to demand an FBI investigation, really want to open Pandora's box?  The old advice, "Be careful what you wish for," might be worth consideration.

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