-
Wednesday, May 6, 2020

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Virus has compromised the FBI and Department of Justice. And like the rest of America, the law enforcement agencies are bedeviled by COVID-19 as well. It’s a plague of dirty justice, though, that may persist long after the China-spawned pestilence has disappeared. Before the public casts ballots in November to refresh the nation’s choice in leadership, the sordid behavior that infected shield-bearing officialdom must be fully and finally exposed in the bright light of scrutiny.

Much remains to be done. Job One is to scrub the tar and feathers from Michael Flynn, the U.S. Army general wrongly targeted for prosecution by a team of Justice bosses determined to take down anyone standing between them and Donald Trump. Caught up in Crossfire Hurricane, the operation to investigate Trump-Russia collusion, Mr. Flynn lost his top job as Trump national security adviser, his house and savings, and has teetered for three years on the verge of losing his freedom to a jail cell — all without cause.


His intrepid lawyer, former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, last week released 11 hidden pages of documents further exposing the dodgy schemes that undergirded her client’s prosecution in 2017. “Hey don’t close RAZOR,” reads a text from FBI special agent Peter Strzok to a colleague, referring to the shadowy investigation of Mr. Flynn that had come up empty. Another document reads, “What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” Reportedly written by senior FBI counterintelligence official Bill Priestap, it describes potential tactics to be used in an upcoming Flynn interview.

Ms. Powell’s mining of Justice’s deep files, facilitated by no-nonsense U.S. Attorney General William Barr, leaves little doubt that the Flynn probe was not so much a search for a crime as an effort to manufacture one. If the disgraced general isn’t granted a new trial that yields a verdict of “not guilty,” then his tarnished honor should be refurbished with a presidential pardon.

During the intervening years since the anti-Trump coup, its suspected plotters have mostly been fired or have scrambled to get out of Dodge. As Job Two, U.S. Attorney John Durham is tasked with deciding whether to reel them back in for prosecution. Among them is former FBI Director James Comey, who oversaw the rogue Flynn-entrapment scheme. 

Whether the FBI, and Comey replacement Christopher Wray in particular, is free of influence from erstwhile unethical leaders is an open question — one all the more pressing in light of the agency’s three years of foot-dragging over the release of Flynn probe documents. “Wray knew about the evidence we were requesting for General Flynn. … If the prosecutors refused to produce it, he should have taken it to the [attorney general] or filed a whistle blower complaint himself,” Ms. Powell tells Just the News. “Instead, it would appear he was part of a conspiracy to obstruct justice and Congress, and we don’t know what else.”

That’s a serious challenge to the integrity of the FBI director and his organization. If there is a reasonable explanation for the agency’s stubborn resistance to producing the documents, the public has a right to hear it. “Because they’re embarrassing” won’t due.

Job Three is current efforts to revamp the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant process that authorized U.S. law enforcement in 2016 to spy on the Trump campaign team. In December, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz cataloged a list of 17 major errors in FISA applications that served as the basis for surveilling Trump associate Carter Page and others.

The FISA court appointed former Obama Justice Department official David Kris in January to supervise improvements to the warrant application process. New revelations add urgency to the task: A second inspector general report recently found that every one of 29 FISA applications reviewed, including some filed under Mr. Wray’s leadership, contained glaring mistakes.

No one is perfect, but Justice Department personnel had been thought to merely wet their socks when walking on water. Then came Crossfire Hurricane, and it became obvious they had no clothes.

It’s not enough that the viral plot to upend the Trump presidency failed. Before judging their leadership on Election Day, Americans deserve to witness genuine justice, the kind symbolized by the blindfolded lady.


Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.