Comey, Enforcing the Law, and Integrity

Director James B. Comey speaks during an F.B.I. press conference at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. on Monday, June 23, 2014.

I suppose we should talk a bit about Comey getting his butt fired since it seems everyone else is. The best I’ve read is here.

J Edgar Hoover ran the FBI as if it were his private secret police force. He exceeded his authority, and spied on, blackmailed, harassed, intimidated, and threatened everyone. He became politically unstoppable. He was in power for 48 years. Though hated and feared by several presidents (all of whom had the power to fire him) none dared to oppose him. The only thing that removed Hoover from power was death. The man was a monster.

James Comey was the Director of the FBI. He was fired yesterday. He wasn’t remotely as bad as Hoover.

Yet.


Life is cruel. Sometimes it puts you on the horns of a dilemma. If you do the right thing… you’re fucked. If you do the wrong thing… you’re fucked.

Regardless of his flaws or merits, recent events gave Comey a shit sandwich. There’s no good answer for the role he had to play. What the hell would you do?

Imagine that you’re the head of the FBI. The most powerful nation in the world is trying to democratically elect it’s next leader, who will be your boss. The shit has been hitting the fan all year. Now it’s getting worse.

Your staff shows up with incontrovertible evidence that the leading candidate engaged in serious shitweaseling. This would sink any other person on earth, including you. Normally this would lead to a trial and very possibly time in “Federal pound me in the ass prison“. But this is the favored presidential candidate we’re talking about!

You’re sick with worry. You’re not hungry but you eat a stale donut left from the morning briefing. This information has you trapped.

Do you proceed? Recommend criminal prosecution for a person who’s acted criminally based on the overwhelming evidence of crime? Normally you would, but the other candidate is an orange tinted blowhard who makes everyone in DC break out in hives. The press is screaming that the guy is “literally Hitler”. Whatever you do will influence the election. Who needs this shit? Three hundred million people in the US and they couldn’t come up with two who are squeaky clean?

The donut went down badly. You remind yourself to have a doctor tweak your blood pressure meds. Your secretary is making Vince Foster jokes behind your back. The punchline is “assisted suicide”. You know there’s an office pool; they’re betting on whether you’ll be transferred to Guam or a windowless office in the basement. This job sucks!

The evidence of malfeasance on your desk grows. Objectively, it’s much worse than Watergate. You can say it’s literally bigger than Watergate and be using the word “literally” properly.

Do you wanna’ be Dudley Do Right and send this on for prosecution? Are you sure? The criminal in question is really good at getting away with stuff and she’s probably going to be your boss!

Keep reading the AC, he’s got this one nailed, plumb and square, too. Later on, he says this,

If Comey was like a certain irrelevant and obscure blogger he’d give up and light the fuse. Have an epic ten minute press conference composed of mostly swearing and hand out all (or most) of the relevant evidence. I don’t think like secret squirrel people. I don’t want to be the sole possessor of any potential president’s dirty laundry! The whole thing would end with something like “Fuck it. These people aren’t just criminals, they’re idiots. I don’t care what you do with this information because I quit. I’m going fishing.”

Yep, so would I. Like him, I’m not nuanced enough for this stuff. Probably why I’m not a politician, I can’t lie effectively to myself. And make no mistake, that’s what it is. Like AC, I’m a simple man, who likes it that way.

I feel sorry (kind of) for Comey. He got himself in a very tight spot, no good answers and not much of any way to salvage your career, legacy, whatever you want to call it. But not very. The man took an oath to uphold the Constitution, to enforce the law. There wasn’t a supersecret clause that said except against Clinton, Inc, nor was there one that said unless it hurts Donald Trump.

He’s hardly alone, this sort of moral cowardice is the very substance of the ‘Swamp’, and it is very seductive. We’ve all seen it, although probably not on this level, the little white lie, no one will know, it won’t matter, all that bushwah. Well, that’s exactly how Comey destroyed his life, and maybe his organization. He didn’t intend to get caught in a web of lies and deception, he simply told a little one, one day, to make his life easier. And then every day, he had to tell more to protect the one that went before.

That’s what it means when you hear us say, with Niccolo Machiavelli in his Discourses,

“For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.”

The way my mom taught that lesson, lo these many years ago is this.

If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember what you said.

And it ties back into something else, we prattle on about sometimes, usually because it’s being violated.

“The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Makes life simple, somehow.

Back in the stone age, when I grew up, we had a word for it. That word was integrity. It’s right there on the FBI shield, in English, even. Maybe some people should read a bit better.

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About NEO
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11 Responses to Comey, Enforcing the Law, and Integrity

  1. Thanks for the link.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Thanks for the article, a very good one!

      Like

  2. Mike says:

    Comey should have submitted his resignation on Election Day before the polls closed. The only solution was not to play… which ultimately would have brought attention to all involved in the various idiocy. But he did not. I have no pity for him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      I agree, should have just walked away.

      I have very little, he helped make the mess, but apparently cleaning up is not his job.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. hocuspocus13 says:

    Yes…the “truth” is much easier to remember…󾓦

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Isn’t it though! Not least because it makes sense to others.

      Like

  4. the unit says:

    That is a good assessment.
    I won’t tell you what I think because… 🙂
    No one believes seniors. . . everyone thinks they are senile.
    Unit and the wife were celebrating their sixtieth anniversary. The couple had married as childhood sweethearts and had moved back to their old neighborhood after they retired.
    Holding hands they walked back to their old school. It was not locked, so they entered, and found the old desk they’d shared, where Unit had carved “I love you, Honey.”
    On their way back home, a bag of money fell out of an armored car, practically landing at their feet. Unit’s wife quickly picked it up, but not sure what to do with it, they took it home. There, she counted the money–and said “it’s fifty-thousand dollars.”
    Unit said, “We’ve got to give it back.”
    The wife said, “Finders keepers.” She put the money back in the bag and hid it in their attic.
    The next day, two FBI men were canvassing the neighborhood looking for the money, and knock on the door. “Pardon me, but did either of you find a bag that fell out of an armored car yesterday?”
    The wife said, “No.”
    Unit said, “She’s lying. She hid it up in the attic.”
    The wife said, “Don’t believe him, he’s getting senile.”
    The agents turn to Unit and began to question him. One says: “Tell us the story from the beginning.”
    Unit said, “Well, when my wife and I were walking home from school yesterday. . . ”
    The first FBI guy turns to his partner and says, “We’re outta here.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      🙂 🙂

      Like

  5. the unit says:

    Being serious though for a moment.
    Like Wiki says J. Edgar and G-Men were thought hero’s in my time of coming up. My older cousin had a super comic book collection including a G-Man series. She spoke with admiration of G-Men when I visited and read her collection. She eventually married a U.S. Marshal.
    Anyway reading all this and at other places makes me see how the sheeple often miss the boat. Ignorance is NOT bliss. 🙂
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/headshrinkers-guide-the-galaxy/201108/is-ignorance-bliss

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      On first skim, pretty good article. Nope, and what you won’t get from all our articles, but we all know, is that there are many good men (and women) in those agencies, just as there are in the Chicago PD. But we all talk about the problems and the jackwagons. It’s not fair, but it is. 🙂

      Like

  6. Pingback: The Weekly Headlines – My Daily Musing

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