U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., served as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in its Chicago office from 1989 until 1994, specializing in organized crime and public corruption, and he wrote an editorial published this week by Fox News declaring that the bureau is in a state of crisis due to the widely held belief that its little more than an arm of the Democratic Party.
“The FBI is in crisis,” Rogers penned. “It pains me, as a former special agent and the former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, to warn that if we don’t fix it now, we risk irrevocably breaking not only the greatest law enforcement agency in the world, but America’s trust in this invaluable institution.”
He cited the recent arrest of Charles McGonigal, the former special agent in charge of counterintelligence in the FBI’s New York field office, over ties to a sanctioned Russian oligarch — in the mother of all ironies, McGonigal was involved in the FBI’s Trump-Russia collusion probe that proved to be a hoax.
McGonigal, who retired in 2018, is charged with violating U.S. sanctions by agreeing to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch, Fox News reported — he was arrested over last weekend in what was described by the network as “a rare move by federal prosecutors to bring charges against a former senior FBI official before a federal grand jury.” Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who later became a U.S. citizen and a Russian interpreter for courts and government offices, was also charged in a five-count indictment unsealed on Monday.
Fox News further reported that McGonigal, “while serving as chief of the cybercrimes section at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., was one of the first bureau officials to learn of allegations that George Papadopoulos, a campaign adviser for former President Donald Trump, boasted that he knew Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, launching the investigation into alleged Russian election interference known as Operation Crossfire Hurricane.”
The article also said McGonigal “likely was briefed on Crossfire Hurricane at the time the investigation was launched.”
“It should be common sense that a senior agent should not be working for a criminal, any criminal, let alone a Russian oligarch with ties to Vladimir Putin, but apparently common-sense ethics are no longer common, and that speaks volumes about the state of the FBI,” Rogers wrote.
“From this most recent and staggering security vulnerability, to leadership failures and a lack of accountability at the top, to a seemingly creeping lack of accountability in field offices and the appearance of politicization across the FBI, much of the country now doubts the bureau’s credibility and integrity,” he continued. “Many now believe that the FBI is merely an arm of one political party, and for a good portion of the country, they believe that the bureau is being ‘weaponized’ against them or their political beliefs.”
Rogers pointed to the “poor handling of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the “appalling management” of the Hunter Biden investigation, and the FBI’s alleged involvement in content moderation on social media platforms. More recently, he noted the “appalling double standard of the investigations into mishandling of classified information by both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.”
The GOP lawmaker stressed that not all agents are bad, contending that “there are far more good agents than not; but bad agents are a stain on the character of the bureau and an insult to their colleagues who follow the rules, uphold the law, and act with integrity.”
“If the bureau is to survive, it needs to take immediate action,” Rogers insisted.
One such step, he said, is to make it abundantly clear that working for or on behalf of a foreign agent – whether under sanctions or not – is not an acceptable post-bureau career option.”
Another step listed is for the FBI and DOJ lawyers to remove politics from high-profile cases, and begin third-party reviews of public integrity cases to ensure compliance with DOJ and FBI guidelines and rules. Rogers also called for Congress to resume its oversight responsibility.
“Just as we cannot allow the FBI itself to become a partisan tool, we should demand that our elected representatives do their duty and provide the robust and consistent oversight of the FBI’s activities and hold the leaders accountable without political theater,” he said.
“It is important to note that agents all over the country are following the FBI creed of fidelity, bravery and integrity, and risking their lives to make us safer. These agents deserve better and our country deserves better,” Rogers concluded. “President Biden and FBI leadership must recognize this and act now, rather than play politics with the public’s trust.”
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