F.B.I director Christopher Wray is shown before speaking to reporters during a dedication ceremony for the new Atlanta Field Office building Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Atlanta, (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
The FBI and Department of Justice has been engaged in a low level guerrilla war against committees in the House and the Senate…and to a certain extent the White House, itself…by withholding information that they deem to be secret. This has played out time and again. For instance, back in January, Chuck Grassley called out the FBI and Justice for bad faith redactions of documents:
In his floor speech Wednesday, Grassley said that his efforts to declassify the memo detailing the allegations had been stymied by FBI, which he said “is falsely claiming that three of our unclassified paragraphs each contain the same, single classified fact.”
“If FBI really believed this fact was classified, then the FBI and the Department should take better care to act consistent with that belief. Unfortunately, I suspect something else is really going on here,” Grassley said. “It sure looks like a bureaucratic game of hide the ball, rather than a genuine concern about national security. I am pressing this issue with [FBI] Director [Chris] Wray, and I hope that we can provide this information to the public as soon as possible.”
In this case, Grassley and Wray had discussed the subject at length over a non-secure telephone and then the FBI declared the subject to be classified.
Now we have another exammple. The House Intelligence Committee released their report on April 27. It had been heavily redacted by the intelligence community and Chairman Devin Nunes was not a happy man:
“The Intelligence Community has finished its declassification review of the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation final report. Given the substantial public interest at stake, the Committee is publishing the redacted version we’ve received. However, we object to the excessive and unjustified number of redactions, many of which do not relate to classified information. The Committee will convey our objections to the appropriate agencies and looks forward to publishing a less redacted version in the near future.”
After the blowback the report has been reevaluated and we can see what was blocked the first time around.
Before we go any further let’s clear some underbrush out of the way. The FBI and Justice are saying that “we didn’t classify this stuff, the director of national intelligence did.” That is technically true but utterly bullsh** in substance. The DNI is the official classification authority but it is a rubberstamp for the FBI and Justice who weigh in on what they want to be classified.
These tweets are from Sean Davis of The Federalist who you really should be following on Twitter and reading:
Science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle and developed what is knownn a Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy.
It states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:
First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.
Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.
From the side-by-side comparisons it is blindingly obvious that the DOJ and FBI redaction have nothing to do with classified information, sources and methods, or ongoing law enforcement activities. The redactions exist to protect James Comey and Robert Mueller from embarrassment. Redacting the statements about Flynn have one purpose: to support the “false statements” case Mueller has brought against Flynn. In fact, in one section Comey suggests that the case against Flynn was kept open in retaliation because he, Comey’s word, “thwarted” an Obama administration scheme to provoke the Russians into a significant response just as Trump was coming into office.
Facts of the case aside, it is very obvious that the classification procedure is being used to prevent the American people from fully understanding what went on in 2016.