Rebutting Christopher Wray

In both House and Senate testimony, at the end of being grilled by a Republican over the litany of recent FBI abuses and being told that as a result the FBI has the lowest level of trust by Americans in its history, FBI director Christopher Wray always has the same line prepared: “The number of people from your state applying to be special agents of the FBI is X percent higher than when I first took over.”  For example:

To Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fl) (start at 5:00):

“Respectfully, Congressman, in your home state of Florida, the number of people applying to come to work for us, and devote their lives working for us, is over -- up over 100 percent since I started.”

To Senator John Kennedy (La) (start at 7:10):

“Over the last three years, last 2, 2½ years, the number of people in Louisiana applying to be special agents of the FBI has doubled what it was in the first few years when I took over.”

To Senator Ron Johnson (Wi), October 31, 2023 (start at 6:00):

“Needless to say, I disagree with your characterization, not only of my own performance, but of our workforce.  I will tell you, when it comes to trust and confidence, applying to be special agents of the FBI has gone up dramatically since I’ve been FBI director.  In fact, in your state of Wisconsin, it’s gone up about 160-something percent, which is one of the highest in the country.  So I’d see an FBI every day that conducts themselves [sic] with integrity and professionalism.”

This is a very clever deflection, because the Republican -- if he has time to reply -- has to be wary of offending both citizens of his own state and rank-and-file FBI special agents.  The deflection also comes when the Republican’s speaking time is just about up, so Wray essentially gets the last word.  None of the otherwise shrewd Republicans responded adequately.  Here are some pointers to help them out for the next time:

  • Give your summary of FBI abuses at the beginning, not at the end, of your five minutes, and ask Wray if he has a response.  If he brings up the increase in applicants from your state, continue as below.  Alternatively, bring up Wray’s deflection yourself.
  • With the wrecked economy and high inflation under the Biden administration, people are desperate for employment, and applications have gone way up everywhere nationwide -- 40 percent according to Time magazine.  Better to work for the FBI than to starve.
  • The FBI recruitment effort and standards changed after Wray took over.  According to the Wall Street Journal:

Tight labor market has forced the bureau to double down on recruitment efforts: …A slump in the number of special agent applicants -- from a peak of 68,500 in 2009 to 11,500 in the year that ended in September [2018] -- has forced the nation’s top law enforcement agency to overhaul its recruitment, increase its outreach, target women and minorities and relax some eligibility requirements, interviews and data show.

To wit, this from NBC:

"We have people who are pharmaceutical sales specialists," said Kisha Winston, chief of the FBI's recruitment and sourcing unit. "We had a ballerina. We have professional athletes. We have gold medal Olympians. We have school teachers. We have social workers."

Furthermore, this is like witnessing an historic stock market plunge, and then when there’s a bit of an upturn, POTUS touts the increase off the smaller base as proof of his awesome economy.

  • Rep. Gaetz could suggest: “Your figure looks only at the percentage change in the number of applicants but doesn’t account for the increased population in my popular state.”
  • The increased percentage of applicants to the FBI is not specific to any one state but rather a national phenomenon.  A highly partisan FBI could be attracting a disproportionate share of the fringe Left, which isn’t that small these days.

Another thing Wray said to Johnson:  “And the idea that I as a Republican appointee and a lifelong Republican am biased in the way you’re describing makes no sense.”  Good grief:

  • Let’s not even get into RINO politicians.  Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein were lifelong Republicans and Republican appointees.  James Comey was a lifelong Republican until 2016 (when he described himself as unaffiliated) and Republican appointee to lower positions before Obama appointed him FBI director in 2013 and Trump kept him in.  There have been numerous Republican appointees to high positions who couldn’t withstand continuous blistering media assault and the liberal slant of the government employees already entrenched at the agencies they directed, finding it easier just to give in.

I can’t wait for Wray to testify again.

W.A. Eliot is a pseudonym

Image: SBB/KEYSTONE/Michael Calabro

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