By Steve Neavling
William Webster has a unique perspective: He’s the only American to lead both the FBI and CIA.
In an op-ed in The New York Times, Webster defended the federal agencies against attacks by President Trump and Attorney General William Barr.
“Today, the integrity of the institutions that protect our civil order are, tragically, under assault from too many people whose job it should be to protect them,” wrote Webster, who was FBI director from 1978 to 1987 and CIA director from 1987 to 1991.
Webster said he was “deeply distributed” by Trump’s suggestion that the current FBI director, Christopher Wray, “cannot fix what the president calls a broken agency.”
“The president’s thinly veiled suggestion that the director, Christopher Wray, like his banished predecessor, James Comey, could be on the chopping block, disturbs me greatly,” Webster wrote. “The independence of both the F.B.I. and its director are critical and should be fiercely protected by each branch of government.”
Webster took aim at Barr’s assertion that the inspector general’s report was based on a “bogus narrative.”
The report found there was sufficient evidence to launch the Russia investigation, Webster pointed out.
“There were more than 100 contacts between members of the Trump campaign and Russian agents during the 2016 campaign, and Russian efforts to undermine our democracy continue to this day,” Webster wrote. “I’m glad the F.B.I. took the threat seriously.”
Webster said he has “complete confidence in Mr. Wray, and I know the FBI is not a broken institution.”
“It is a professional agency worthy of respect and support. The derision and aspersions are dangerous and unwarranted.”