FBI director Christopher Wray puts on a disgraceful display
Just yesterday, FBI director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on a host of topics, and the answers were quite revealing.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) questioned Wray about the case against four individuals who allegedly conspired to kidnap Democrat Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020.
Cruz noted that among the four accused who were tried, two were acquitted, and two received mistrials — i.e., none was convicted of any charge.
Cruz pointed out that the "basis of the defense was entrapment, that the FBI, that paid informants for the FBI had suggested and had incited the conduct."
Wray refused to comment if any FBI agent had received discipline or was reprimanded after "the misconduct that led to every defendant being acquitted or having a mistrial on every charge."
Wray, however, confirmed that the special agent in charge of that case, Steven D'Antuono, is now the assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office.
Cruz reminded Wray that D'Antuono leads the January 6–related investigations.
Under questioning from Sen. Ted Cruz, FBI Director Chris Wray admits the FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office who oversaw the Whitmer kidnapping entrapment and "absolute debacle" is now in charge of the Washington, D.C. Office, overseeing the J6 investigation. pic.twitter.com/85Y7QJXeyy— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) August 4, 2022
Cruz also confronted Wray about a leak of alleged FBI training material by non-profit journalism group Project Veritas that allegedly listed the Betsy Ross, Gadsden, and Gonzales battle flags as themes "indicative of militia violent extremism."
Wray claimed that FBI intelligence products containing symbols have caveats and warnings to "make clear that a symbol alone is not considered evidence of violent extremism."
Cruz reminded Wray that the document didn't include symbols connected to Antifa and Black Lives Matter.
Ted Cruz grills Dir. Wray over FBI training material listing patriotic flags as militia violent extremism.— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) August 4, 2022
"What are y'all doing? Do you agree w/ this FBI guidance that the Betsy Ross flag and the Gadsden flag and the Gonzales battle flag are signs of militia violent extremism?" pic.twitter.com/g6UZiiJbft
Cruz also referred to the National School Board Association requesting that U.S. attorney general Merrick Garland investigate parents who vehemently opposed mask mandates and Critical Race Theory in schools as "domestic terrorists" under the PATRIOT Act.
Cruz referred to the A.G. dispatching a memo directing the FBI to target parents and asked Wray how many parents were questioned or investigated by the FBI interviewed or investigated.
Wray attempted to filibuster with generalities, but Cruz pressed him.
Wray then conceded there were "small assessments and investigations" of people making threats.
Cruz said the House sent Wray oversight letters detailing dozens of investigations directed at parents attending school board meetings.
Sen. Ted Cruz during FBI oversight hearing: “The National Association of School Boards asked the AG to investigate parents as domestic terrorists under the Patriot Act. ... 5 days after that letter, the AG sent a memo to you directing the FBI to target parents...” pic.twitter.com/j5nUrYkeLO— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) August 4, 2022
When Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) questioned Wray about why the FBI is demanding the personal information of concealed carry permit owners of guns, despite state laws prohibiting local law enforcement from turning that over, Wray had no satisfactory answer.
When Hawley questioned Wray about the Department of Defense whistleblower report that 324 of the individuals the Biden administration evacuated from Afghanistan and welcomed into the U.S. have appeared on the terror watch list, Wray acknowledged that the FBI is "actively" investigating the matter, but the bureau did not know where "all" of the problematic admittees were at any given time.
When Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) asked Wray about the link between violence related to the crime rings operating in the U.S. and the compromised U.S.-Mexico border, Wray prattled on.
Sen. @JohnCornyn: "Is the border secure?"— The Hill (@thehill) August 4, 2022
FBI Director Chris Wray: "Boy, I am hesitant to substitute my judgement for the Secretary of Homeland Security."
Cornyn: "I've always thought of you as a straight shooter, but you wont answer that question?" https://t.co/BNyW5nV5Ad pic.twitter.com/nFe2kWQCDv
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) inquired about the actions the FBI had taken against pro-abortion activists' violent attacks against churches, pro-life organizations, and pregnancy centers following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision.
Wray would only say that they have opened a number of investigations related to the attacks.
Sen. Mike Lee: "How many domestic terrorism investigations does the FBI currently have open under the category of abortion-related violence?"— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) August 4, 2022
Director Wray: "We have opened a number of domestic violent extremism investigations..." pic.twitter.com/kZ3KrXrUdo
When Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked if Wray agreed that the allegation of collusion between President Trump and Russia was a hoax and if Hunter Biden's laptop was not Russian disinformation, Wray did not answer either question directly.
Blackburn: "Do you agree that Russian collusion was a hoax?"— Greg Price (@greg_price11) August 4, 2022
Wray: "I wouldn't use that terminology."
Blackburn: "Do you agree that Hunter Biden's laptop was not Russian disino?"
Wray: "I can't comment on that." pic.twitter.com/h74Wfyeotb
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reminded Wray that "the FBI greenlit a full investigation into Trump based on liberal news articles and information derived from liberal nonprofits" but "closed investigative activity and sources that provided verified or verifiable reporting on Hunter Biden." Wray provided no concrete response.
Sen. Chuck Grassley compares the FBI's investigation of President Trump and Russian Collusion to its "investigation" of the Hunter Biden laptop:— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) August 4, 2022
"Director Wray, you'll have to explain...how you'll manage this mess and how you'll clean house." pic.twitter.com/649FgZA7Is
Sen. Grassley also expressed his frustrations with the FBI's lack of transparency:
Sen. Chuck Grassley during FBI Oversight hearing:— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) August 4, 2022
"The public's business ought to be public. Transparency brings accountability. Just last week, the Justice Department failed yet again to be transparent..." pic.twitter.com/kA44Rf9bfQ
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) questioned Wray about the overall bias in the agency and the political bias of certain FBI agents who covered up damaging information about Hunter Biden prior to the 2020 elections.
Wray conceded to finding the allegations "troubling" but added that he wanted to be "careful" to not interfere with any ongoing personnel matters.
Sen. John Kennedy on the appearance of bias within the FBI and the open political bias of specific special agents:— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) August 4, 2022
"Do you know how this looks to the American people?" pic.twitter.com/nYriU6Dlv1
It is obvious to even the most casual of observers that are two tiers of justice within the U.S. — one for people who are the favored class: ideologically liberal, powerful, connected, and members of the Washington establishment.
Michael Sussmann, a former lawyer at a firm that represented Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, was found not guilty of lying to the FBI over spreading false information on Donald Trump and his links to a Russian bank.
BLM rioters or pro-abortion rioters may be arrested but are let out on bail, often with charges dropped. No further action is ever taken. In fact, they are venerated and celebrated.
The second tier is for regular Americans — conservatives, libertarians, Republicans, Trump-supporters, and those living in middle America.
Pro-Trump personnel such as Gen. Michael Flynn, campaign operatives Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, and even Trump's former (and now estranged) lawyer Michael Cohen, were treated like national security threats by law enforcement agencies. There were midnight raids on their personal properties and offices, and in some cases, the media were alerted.
Meanwhile, the January 6 protesters are reportedly subjected to prolonged periods of solitary confinement, verbal abuse (e.g., called "white supremacists") from politically motivated jailers, harassment, beatings from guards, denial of basic medical care, denial of religious services, denial of communion, denial of a nutritious diet, denial of sanitary conditions in rat- and cockroach-infested cells, and denial of access to attorneys.
This is a national crisis.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the foremost federal law enforcement agency in the U.S. It is also the primary domestic intelligence and security service.
The least you can expect from the head of the FBI at this critical juncture is forthrightness and honesty.
Nobody expects the FBI to divulge minute details about ongoing investigations, but surely facts can be presented in a manner that no probes are compromised.
The FBI is an organization funded by the public and hence works for the public. It is incumbent upon the FBI to be transparent and concede its mistakes.
Alas, Wray resorted to dodging questions, feigning ignorance, filibustering with irrelevant or commonly known information, and finally obfuscation.
Cynics may regard such hearings as futile. They may have a point. The questioners use the occasion to engage in theatrics, and the clips are circulated on social media and function as campaign material, but no changes occur on the ground. The futility is worsened when the likes of Wray refuse to answer questions.
Still, these hearing are important because they provide some semblance of accountability and allow the public a glimpse of what is actually going on in this agency. In this particular case, the public learns how nonchalant Wray is despite numerous serious problems plaguing the FBI.
In a democracy, it is essential that law enforcement agencies are objective and apolitical. The law must be enforced based on the nature of the act and emphatically not the affluence, connections, or ideology of the actor.
Legal egalitarianism is a founding tenet of any functioning democracy.
When this essential principle begins to falter, and the law is selectively applied, democracy ceases to exist.
Wray's display at the hearing is proof of those ominous signs that the U.S. is drifting away from the values on which it was founded.
Image: Twitter screen shot.