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Archive for December 3rd, 2019

Deep State? No, These Folks Are American Patriots

The writer, an FBI agent for 31 years, retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office in 2006.

By Greg Stejskal

On March 10, 1975, I reported to the Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C. — “Main Justice” — to be sworn in as a FBI special agent with my fellow new agents. In a large room that was used for the secret trial of the Nazi saboteurs during World War II, I raised my right hand and took the oath that every agent takes:

“I (my name) do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

The Constitution prescribes a similar oath for the president in Article II.

Unlike those Nazi saboteurs who swore an oath to the Fuhrer, we swore allegiance to the concept that we are a country of laws, and no man is above the law. We would not be taking an oath of fealty to anyone. In fact during the Revolution, those serving in the Continental Army not only pledged allegiance to the United States, but specifically denounced any allegiance to King George III.

Featured_nazi_saboteur_trial_39315
Trial of Nazi saboteurs during World War II.

For me what followed was an almost 32-year career investigating and prosecuting violations of federal laws. I had the good fortune to be involved in a number of high-profile cases, and it was a rewarding career.

So when I watched the recent impeachment hearing, I had a somewhat unique perspective.

Most people didn’t have the time to watch the hearings. Others  prejudged them as a hoax or a witch hunt.

Being retired, I did have time and tried to view the hearings objectively. (Full disclosure: I’m a lifelong Republican.)

I’m not going to recount the evidence or try to make a case for or against impeachment although I thought the evidence was compelling and creditable. But what especially troubled me were the personal attacks on the witnesses by the president. Most of the witnesses were career foreign service officers. All of whom took an oath to support and defend the Constitution.

No right to publicly disparage

The third public witness was Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine and a career foreign service officer. She was removed as ambassador by President Trump. In the now infamous, “perfect,” July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump characterized Ambassador Yovanovitch as “bad news.”

Whilee Yonanovitch was testifying Nov. 15 at the congressional hearing on national TV, President Trump tweeted:

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second call with him. It is a US President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”

It is the president’s “absolute right” to appoint and/or remove an ambassador, but I don’t believe the president has any kind of right to publicly disparage a career foreign service officer with an outstanding reputation and stellar career. Leaving aside the issue of whether his tweet constituted witness intimidation.

On Nov. 19, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams testified. Jennifer Williams is a veteran State Department official who has served as a special advisor to Vice President Mike Pence on European and Russian affairs.

Before her testimony, President Trump again took to twitter saying, she [Williams] should read the transcripts of the July 25 call and another one that took place in April. “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know and mostly never even heard of and work out a better presidential attack!”

The president’s twitter attacks disparaging the witnesses and questioning their veracity were reminiscent of Joseph McCarthy’s attacks on witnesses during his notorious hearings of the early 1950s – those really were witch hunts. Coincidentally, McCarthy’s chief counsel during the hearings was Roy Cohn. Cohn later was Donald Trump’s attorney and according to Trump his mentor.

Impressed, Inspired and Proud


Sen. Joseph McCarthy (Photo: Wikimedia)

As a retired FBI agent, I was impressed, inspired and proud of the foreign service and intelligence officers who testified.

They are dedicated Americans, patriots, who swore an oath to protect and defend the constitution, not an individual. They witnessed or became aware of what appeared to them to be inappropriate conduct by the president and some individuals ostensibly acting on his instructions. They had the courage to report that conduct, to testify under oath and in some cases to suffer the slings and arrows of the president’s wrath.

The witnesses did not have a political agenda. They had a country agenda. They are not denizens of the deep state. They are sailors on the ship of state, not to be vilified, but to be saluted. They are Teddy Roosevelt’s men and women in the arena.

I once served in the company of such people and would be proud to stand with them now.

Stejskal: Deep State? These People Are American Patriots

The writer, an FBI agent for 31 years, retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office in 2006.

By Greg Stejskal
On March 10, 1975, I reported to the Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C. — “Main Justice” — to be sworn in as a FBI special agent with my fellow new agents. In a large room that was used for the secret trial of the Nazi saboteurs during World War II, I raised my right hand and took the oath that every agent takes:

“I (my name) do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

The Constitution prescribes a similar oath for the president in Article II.

Unlike those Nazi saboteurs who swore an oath to the Fuhrer, we swore allegiance to the concept that we are a country of laws, and no man is above the law. We would not be taking an oath of fealty to anyone. In fact during the Revolution, those serving in the Continental Army not only pledged allegiance to the United States, but specifically denounced any allegiance to King George III.

Featured_nazi_saboteur_trial_39315
Trial of Nazi saboteurs during World War II.

For me what followed was an almost 32-year career investigating and prosecuting violations of federal laws. I had the good fortune to be involved in a number of high-profile cases, and it was a rewarding career.

So when I watched the recent impeachment hearing, I had a somewhat unique perspective.

Most people didn’t have the time to watch the hearings. Others  prejudged them as a hoax or a witch hunt.

Being retired, I did have time and tried to view the hearings objectively. (Full disclosure: I’m a lifelong Republican.)

I’m not going to recount the evidence or try to make a case for or against impeachment although I thought the evidence was compelling and creditable. But what especially troubled me were the personal attacks on the witnesses by the president. Most of the witnesses were career foreign service officers. All of whom took an oath to support and defend the Constitution.

No right to publicly disparage

Greg Stejskal

The third public witness was Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine and a career foreign service officer. She was removed as ambassador by President Trump. In the now infamous, “perfect,” July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump characterized Ambassador Yovanovitch as “bad news.”

Whilee Yonanovitch was testifying Nov. 15 at the congressional hearing on national TV, President Trump tweeted:

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second call with him. It is a US President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”

It is the president’s “absolute right” to appoint and/or remove an ambassador, but I don’t believe the president has any kind of right to publicly disparage a career foreign service officer with an outstanding reputation and stellar career. Leaving aside the issue of whether his tweet constituted witness intimidation.

On Nov. 19, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams testified. Jennifer Williams is a veteran State Department official who has served as a special advisor to Vice President Mike Pence on European and Russian affairs.

Before her testimony, President Trump again took to twitter saying, she [Williams] should read the transcripts of the July 25 call and another one that took place in April. “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know and mostly never even heard of and work out a better presidential attack!”

Read more »

Black FBI Agents Reflect on Bureau’s Diversity on 100th Anniversary of First Black Special Agent

Nicole Dunn, a special agent in the FBI’s Houston Field Office.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

James Wormley Jones made history when he became the first black FBI agent on Dec. 2, 1919 – 100 years ago.

To celebrate the role that black agents have played since then, the FBI spoke to current and former African American agents.

The stories of Jones and other African Americans who broke the bureau’s color line has inspired many current agents.

“I stand on the shoulders of a great group of men and women who persevered through a lot,” said Nicole Dunn, a special agent in the FBI’s Houston Field Office. “Their accomplishments are what make it possible for me to sit here today.”

While there has been tremendous progress, much more is needed. African Americans make up less than 5% of the FBI’s 13,000 special agents.

Michael Mason, who led the FBI’s field offices in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento before leading the bureau’s Criminal Investigative Division, said he encourages young people of color to consider joining the FBI.

“At the end of the day, if we’re going to want this country to be a safe place, an inclusive place, a place that respects civil rights and the legislation that was passed in 1968, then we have to be part of that,” Mason said. “You can’t be a spectator and say, ‘OK, when the attitude and the environment gets rights and receptive and embraces me, then I’ll come in.’ No, you’ve got to come in and make it that kind of environment.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau is boosting its recruiting efforts to add more diversity.

“We’re working to change this,” Wray said, adding more African Americans are joining the training academy.

Click here to hear interviews with current and former FBI agents.

Rod Rosenstein Was ‘Angry, Ashamed, Horrified’ by Trump’s Abrupt Firing of Comey

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the FBI he was “angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed” about the abrupt firing of then-FBI Director James Comey, according to the latest release of documents related to the Robert Mueller investigation.

The documents shed more light on Rosenstein, who called for a special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, since his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, had recused himself.

Rosenstein said he met with White House officials on May 8, 2017, and came under the impression that Comey was going to be fired. Rosenstein was told to write a memo criticizing the FBI director.

That day, Rosenstein wrote a memo outlining Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Mueller report, via Buzzfeed.

Expecting that he or Sessions would be tasked with firing Comey, Rosenstein asked to speak with Comey the next day. But he quickly discovered that Comey had been fired via email.

He told the FBI that he was surprised that media accounts of the firing claimed it was Rosenstein’s idea to terminate the FBI director.

Rosenstein said he was asked to attend a press conference about Comey’s firing, but he refused, telling a Justice Department spokeswoman that he “cannot participate in putting out a false story.”

A few days later, Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel, a decision that made Trump “angry, surprised, and frustrated,” according to Hope Hicks, one of the president’s closest aides.