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What Is the FBI Hiding?
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Earlier this week, Republican leaders in both houses of Congress took the FBI to task for its failure to be transparent. In the House, it was apparently necessary to serve a subpoena on an FBI agent to obtain what members of Congress want to see; and in the Senate, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee accused the FBI itself of lawbreaking.

Here is the back story.

Ever since FBI Director James Comey announced on July 5 he was recommending that the Department of Justice not seek charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a result of her failure to safeguard state secrets during her time in office, many in Congress have had a nagging feeling that this was a political, not a legal, decision. The publicly known evidence of Clinton’s recklessness and willful failure to safeguard secrets was overwhelming. The evidence of her lying under oath about whether she returned all her work-related emails that she had taken from the State Department was profound and incontrovertible.

And then we learned that people who worked for Clinton were instructed to destroy several of her mobile devices and to remove permanently the stored emails on one of her servers. All this was done after these items had been subpoenaed by two committees of the House of Representatives.

Yet the FBI — which knew of the post-subpoena destruction of evidence and which acknowledged that Clinton failed to return thousands of her work-related emails as she had been ordered by a federal judge to do, notwithstanding at least three of her assertions to the contrary while under oath — chose to overlook the evidence of not only espionage but also obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence, perjury and misleading Congress.

As if to defend itself in the face of this most un-FBI-like behavior, the FBI then released to the public selected portions of its work product, which purported to back up its decision to recommend against the prosecution of Clinton. Normally, the FBI gathers evidence and works with federal prosecutors and federal grand juries to build cases against targets in criminal probes, and its recommendations to prosecutors are confidential.

But in Clinton’s case, the hierarchy of the Department of Justice removed itself from the chain of command because of the orchestrated impropriety of Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton, who met in private on the attorney general’s plane at a time when both Bill and Hillary Clinton were subjects of FBI criminal investigations. That left the FBI to have the final say about prosecution — or so the FBI and the DOJ would have us all believe.


It is hard to believe that the FBI was free to do its work, and it is probably true that the FBI was restrained by the White House early on. There were numerous aberrations in the investigation. There was no grand jury; no subpoenas were issued; no search warrants were served. Two people claimed to have received immunity, yet the statutory prerequisite for immunity — giving testimony before a grand or trial jury — was never present.

Because many members of Congress do not believe that the FBI acted free of political interference, they demanded to see the full FBI files in the case, not just the selected portions of the files that the FBI had released. In the case of the House, the FBI declined to surrender its files, and the agent it sent to testify about them declined to reveal their contents. This led to a dramatic service of a subpoena by the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on that FBI agent while he was testifying — all captured on live nationally broadcast television.

Now the FBI, which usually serves subpoenas and executes search warrants, is left with the alternative of complying with this unwanted subpoena by producing its entire file or arguing to a federal judge why it should not be compelled to do so.

On the Senate side, matters are even more out of hand. There, in response to a request from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the FBI sent both classified and unclassified materials to the Senate safe room. The Senate safe room is a secure location that is available only to senators and their senior staff, all of whom must surrender their mobile devices and writing materials and swear in writing not to reveal whatever they see while in the room before they are permitted to enter.

According to Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the FBI violated federal law by commingling classified and unclassified materials in the safe room, thereby making it unlawful for senators to discuss publicly the unclassified material.

Imposing such a burden of silence on U.S. senators about unclassified materials is unlawful and unconstitutional. What does the FBI have to hide? Whence comes the authority of the FBI to bar senators from commenting on unclassified materials?

Who cares about this? Everyone who believes that the government works for us should care because we have a right to know what the government — here the FBI — has done in our names. Sen. Grassley has opined that if he could reveal what he has seen in the FBI unclassified records, it would be of profound interest to American voters.

What is going on here? The FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton has not served the rule of law. The rule of law — a pillar of American constitutional freedom since the end of the Civil War — mandates that the laws are to be enforced equally. No one is beneath their protection, and no one is above their requirements. To enforce the rule of law, we have hired the FBI.

What do we do when the FBI rejects its basic responsibilities?

Copyright 2016 Andrew P. Napolitano. Distributed by

• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2016 Election, Hillary Clinton 
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  1. It’s the FBI, not the KGB. The way things are going we’ll have people dropping dead from poisoned tea all over DC and the Putin cheering section with Trump will blame them for not drinking coffee instead.

    • Replies: @whorefinder
  2. “The rule of law — a pillar of American constitutional freedom since the end of the Civil War — mandates that the laws are to be enforced equally. No one is beneath their protection, and no one is above their requirements.”

    As always, mainly observed in the breach. High ideals have rather served to obscure high crimes, rather than bring them into the light.

  3. unit472 says:

    The ‘straight shooter’ Comey likely got ‘bent’, in part, because he assumed Hillary was inevitable and that Trump could not possibly become president. He may have to drive over to Fort Marcy Park come November.

  4. an historical criminal organization investigating an historical criminal politician.
    it’s morning in america alright – with a big hangover.

  5. woodNfish says:

    Welcome the the amerikan banana republic Judge Napolitano. The FBI has very long criminal history that not only includes the current crimes and corruption, but mass murder and crimes against humanity from its actions in Waco, Texas. Nothing came of that so why shouldn’t the FBI also think it can get away with this?

  6. The bigger question is where is the constitutional authority to create the FBI?

    It clearly seen as being lacking for the first 120 years of the Republic.

  7. The FBI is a ‘law enforcement’ agency founded by a cross-dressing blackmailer. Much, if not most, of its activity can be classified as 1) entrapment or 2)political repression. Absent entrapment and political intrigue, it at best duplicates the more valuable federal level police work done by other federal and state agencies: DEA, BATF, HSD, etc etc etc.

    Befitting a dying totalitarian empire, we have many more layers of police agencies than are actually needed, so they end up running interference for creeps like Hillary…

    • Replies: @Orville H. Larson
  8. Klokman says:

    What do we do, Andrew? Crash the government as the Declaration of Independence sets forth. John Adams’ notion of balance of powers be damned. It didn’t work while he was secretary to toady George, and not since. It’s long past time for the people of this country to pull the plug on Adams’ notion of good government.

  9. @wealthy farmer

    “Befitting a dying totalitarian empire, we have many more layers of police agencies than are actually needed, so they end up running interference for creeps like Hillary . . .”

    Protecting powerful miscreants is what the “Justice” Department and its so-called “investigative” arm, the FBI, does best. . . .

  10. whorefinder says: • Website
    @sensor operator

    It’s the FBI, not the KGB.

    Wrong. On July 5th, Comey admitted it was nothing more than an American version of the KGB. It is a tool of those in power to attack those not in power, nothing more. Hillary literally was too powerful to be indicted, according to Comey.

  11. The Justice Department is polluted and they spread the disease to the FBI. Comey and the FBI were, as the Brits might say, “nobbled.” And as always, the Clintons are at the center of the storm. From Arkansas to DC, these two have reeked with the stench of corruption.

  12. hillary is not powerful, it is her backers who are too powerful.

    she is just a stooge. a hand picked stooge since 2008 when she lost the primaries to obama. this presidential run was her reward for not causing drama at the end of the 2008 primaries.

  13. SRV says:

    Why does the FBI get to be the “white hat” here?

    They’ve been involved in illegal activities for decades with one of thousands of examples being the dozen agents assigned to Ken Starr (yes THE KS) in the Vince Foster Investigation accused by a key Foster witness (his testimony blows the “official” timeline out of the water) who refused to change his story so was harassed by them in a coordinated and known strategy of intimidation prior to a special Grand Jury hearing called after a major UK paper ran his credible story backed up with his correct ID of a Honda paint color chip, belonging to an older model (an earlier “generation” of the Accord) Honda he parked beside that day (the official story says it was Fosters car, but the witness parked beside and walked around it observing the contents… none matched the official version, implying the first car was a plant and Fosters car arrived later).

    Starr (supposedly the Clintons’ arch enemy) buried/dismissed his testimony with a few negative personal comments (in the fine print), then ordered him to a Grand Jury after the UK story broke. In the days before the Grand Jury he was harassed and threatened by a dozen FBI agents and was subjected to a barrage of character assassination questions about business dealings and even a male border (implying he was gay)!

    The witness sued but it thrown out before one hearing… they petitioned the Three Federal Judge panel charged with oversight of the Starr queries who were so appalled they ORDERED Starr to include the 20 page legal brief of the lawsuit in the final Foster Report. He objected but was overruled, so he issue the report to the media without it, but it is still part of the official record!

    Of course, to me knowledge not one Corporate Media outlet has reported this amazing story of Starr and the FBI covering up for the Clintons (in a possible murder case… or at best someone was playing games with evidence to at least cover up the location and details of the suicide)!

    The facts, you say… PDF of the Starr Report on Foster link below. Page 124 (of the PDF) at the end of the report is the Patrick Knowlton brief for his lawsuit against Ken Starr and a dozen NAMED FBI AGENTS that the US justice system (that reported to Bill Clinton at the time) rejected without a hearing, detailing the illegal efforts to get him to recant his story and/or to disorient him in the days leading up to the GJ ambush designed to discredit him…

    And it’s been there in the official record, unreported, for 20 years… Just-Us, American Style!

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