“These attacks on the FBI must stop,” Mike Pence said on August 17. “Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.” That equation invites a review of FBI performance at its duly appointed tasks.
“We protect the American people and uphold the U.S. Constitution,” proclaims the FBI website. On the protection side, the American people might look back at September 11, 2001.
In May of 2001, according to The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, FBI counterterrorism boss Dale Watson had only two people looking at threats from Osama bin Laden. FBI assessments of the potential use of flight training by terrorists and warnings of “radical Middle Easterners attending flight school,” were not passed on to FAA headquarters.
The FBI did not produce the kind of intelligence reports other agencies disseminated, and its usual practice was to withhold the information and say little about investigations. FBI field offices “never used the information to gain a systematic or strategic understanding of the nature and extent of al Qaeda fundraising.”
Terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui was prevented from further training on Pan Am’s Boeing 747 simulators but FBI headquarters believed there was “insufficient cause” to search his laptop computer. An FBI agent in Minneapolis said he was “trying to keep someone from taking a plane and crashing it into the World Trade Center.” Officials at FBI headquarters said that was not going to happen and they did not know if Moussaoui was a terrorist.
“The FBI has proven for the past decade it cannot identify and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States and its citizens at home and abroad,” wrote FBI whistleblower Robert Wright in the summer of 2001. “Even worse, there is virtually no effort on the part of the FBI’s International Terrorism Unit to neutralize known and suspected terrorists residing within the United States.”
Wright headed an operation that shut down terrorist funding but claimed that FBI management “intentionally and repeatedly thwarted and obstructed,” his attempts to expand the investigation, arrest other terrorists and seize their assets.
In 2009, American-born Muslim Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was communicating with al Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki about killing Americans. As Lessons from Fort Hood explains, the FBI was monitoring the communications but the bureau’s Washington office “does not currently assess Hasan to be involved in terrorist activities.” On November 5, 2009, Hasan murdered 13 unarmed American soldiers, including Pvt. Francheska Velez, who was pregnant, and wounded more than 30 others.
In 2011, Russian intelligence warned the FBI about Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but in 2013 the FBI failed to stop the brothers from bombing the Boston Marathon. The attack killed three people and wounding more than 250. Local police, not the FBI, took out Tamerlan and captured Dzhokhar.
The FBI failed to stop Islamic terrorists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik from murdering 14 people and wounding more than 20 others in San Bernardino, California, on December 2, 2015. As in Boston, the FBI played no role in the takedown of the terrorists. San Bernardino police shot dead the heavily armed Farook and Malik, with no loss of innocent life.
In 2016 in Orlando, Florida, the FBI failed to protect the Pulse nightclub from Omar Mateen. The Islamic State supporter killed 49 people and wounded more than 50. The FBI had questioned Mateen in 2013 but closed the inquiry, leaving the terrorist free to plan his attack.
In 2020, Antifa and Black Lives Matter launched riots that during more than 100 days, claimed 35 lives, injured hundreds of police officers, and caused $2 billion in property damage. The FBI did nothing to prevent the “peaceful protesters” from taking over part of Seattle.
As these cases confirm, the FBI does a poor job of protecting the American people. It’s unclear if any FBI bosses were disciplined, suspended or dismissed for the failures that left thousands of Americans dead and wounded. The failure of the FBI and CIA against Islamic jihadists led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, like the FBI now deployed against the American people.
It’s hard to find statements from Mike Pence contending that FBI failure “must stop,” or have any effect on the bureau’s budget. According to Christopher Wray, that is now $10.8 billion, including “a total of $10.7 billion for salaries and expenses, which will support 36,945 positions.”
More recent episodes call into question FBI dedication to the Constitution and the rule of law. According to former FBI director Louis Freeh, the rule of law is the “only beacon” for the FBI. Under James Comey, the FBI made election interference a major priority.
With her unsecured home-brew server and destruction of subpoenaed emails, Hillary Clinton violated federal statutes. Comey said no reasonable prosecutor would pursue the case, and the FBI launched the Midyear Exam operation to keep Clinton in the presidential race. FBI-favored candidates Clinton and Tim Kaine lost to Donald Trump and Mike Pence, but there was more to FBI meddling.
The FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane operation targeted candidate and President Trump. As Julie Kelly recalls, the FBI framed Gen. Michael Flynn, misled the FISA court, doctored correspondence, and used a fake dossier against President Trump and his allies. In the style of the Soviet KGB, politicians pointed out the man and the FBI created the crime.
FBI boss Christopher Wray is all-in with the notion that anyone less than worshipful of Joe Biden is a violent extremist and domestic terrorist. The bureau raids the home of Donald Trump, ripping off his passports and rummaging through Melania’s clothes, yet Mike Pence has a beef with those who “attack” the FBI by taking a hard look at its budget in light of clearly lawless activity.
The former vice president, a devout Christian, did not publicly cite Bible verses against the FBI critics. Steve Bannon called the former vice president a “mindless, gutless symp” and “Judas Pence.” If that seems too strong, it’s fair to say that Mike Pence is “just as wrong” as those who remain uncritical of the FBI. The targets of current FBI operations, meanwhile, might ponder Matthew 10:36: “A man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
The foes of Donald Trump include the man who ran who ran at his side, and prominent members of his own party. The most formidable foes of the American people are the agencies of their own government, with the FBI leading the charge.