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More Comey-Inspired Thoughts on the FBI

1. The FBI needs to return to white collar crime

Imagine it is 2004. Instead of the all out focus on terrorism, the FBI got a tip that a lot of mortgage applications were fraudulent, especially from companies like Countrywide. (I don’t know that they did but come on how could they not?) So the FBI starts to investigate and puts a lot of agents on it. They find that a lot of the mortgages were indeed fraudulent, and being packaged into larger bonds, collateralized debt obligations. So they start to prosecute a host of people committing mortgage fraud.

Instead of the financial crisis, maybe the housing market doesn’t overheat and there is just a recession.

Now, that all could be crazy talk. But if the FBI investigated white collar crime--one of their ostensible reasons for existing--maybe we could combat wealth inequality, prevent bank fraud and even stop the next great recession. I mean, that’s really why Teddy Roosevelt started the Bureau of Investigators in the first place and why the FBI’s early years focused on white collar crime.

It’s better than the alternative...

2. The FBI is still the most effective branch of Al Qaeda

A huge number of FBI agents spend the majority of their time hunting down “lone wolf” terrorists in America who have no intention of conducting attacks, but are pushed into it by FBI agents. I’ve called this “Al Qaeda - FBIin the past, and I could update the name to “ISIS - FBI branch” now.

If I were king of the FBI, here would be my rule, “If a suspect doesn’t have connections to Al Qaeda or ISIS or other foreign fighters, we don’t investigate.” You could still have an intervention with community leaders and family if you find someone spreading hate online. But that isn’t a crime and encouraging that person to commit a crime isn’t stopping terrorism, it’s entrapping someone who is innocent. You wonder how the founders of the Constitution would have felt about that given the ostensible desire for “originalism” by conservative legal judges and lawyers.

Besides being unconstitutional, prosecuting people with no connection to Al Qaeda or who wouldn’t have committed violence otherwise is just ineffective. It prosecutes people who are the least able, not the most.

3. Do FBI agents watch Fox News?

This last point is just a question for anyone in the audience. We already established the FBI is pretty conservative. And we know most conservatives have started watching Fox News to get a lot of their news. This leads to the natural question, do FBI agents watch a lot of Fox News?

If so, yikes. You could see why the FBI agents in New York were so haunted by Hillary. I saw this in my last duty assignment in the Army where Fox News replaced CNN in our operations room. And that was seven years ago. And I hated it then. (Why does the TV need to be on if it is covering US domestic politics? What’s the point?)

FBI agents are like any professionals: they need accurate news of the world. Fox News won’t get them that.