Michael Tabman

Posts Tagged ‘Political Crime’

A Political or Apolitical FBI?

In Crime and Security on December 15, 2017 at 1:36 pm

“So, I can assume you’re a good ole, dedicated Republican like the rest of us?”

That was said to me by a subordinate while meeting me for the first time after I reported for duty as a manager of an FBI office.  Later, I heard through the very reliable grapevine that he was concerned that he erred in his assessment of my politics and how I would respond. But, that same grapevine assured him that I would never allow that to enter in to my management decisions. He became one of my most trusted and relied upon subordinates.

“I am big supporter of the Republican Party.” “I donate regularly the Republican Party.” I heard these comments often from FBI Agents. There was nothing illegal or inappropriate about such comments. FBI Agents are allowed to express political thoughts and support candidates – but not as an FBI Agent and not on FBI time or expense.

During the Clinton presidency, FBI Agents’ dislike for all-things Clinton was no secret; it was palpable. Condemnation of Clinton and anyone who supported him were fair game for casual conversations.  During George W. Bush’s tenure, any criticism of the president was met with disbelief as if such speech was treasonous. The FBI never moved to quash the expression of such personal and/or political beliefs.

There is no secret that law enforcement is traditionally comprised of conservative Republicans. After 24 years in the FBI, I do not need to take a poll to know that is true in the FBI.

FBI agents with clear preference for Republican politics, are the same agents tasked to investigate public corruption or people with outspoken political views. I do not recall discussing whether these agents should be barred from conducting such investigations or if there should be a political litmus tests for investigating political corruption. Political leanings were never considered a barrier to a fair and unbiased investigation. Agents were never questioned about their political views before being assigned to political corruption cases. That is probably illegal.

If we are to make the argument that investigators and prosecutors cannot fairly do their jobs because of political leanings, campaign contributions or personal observations of candidates, then every conviction for public corruption or politically charged crimes must be re-investigated. From this moment on, investigations must be conducted only by those who can prove they possess no political preference.

Good luck.

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