What happened to you “liberals”? Where is your contempt for authority? That was one of the best things about you! Have the progressive/authoritarians sucked away all of your mojo? Your vitality. Your precious bodily fluids. (That is a joke for those of you who’ve never seen Dr. Strangelove.)
When I was a kid my liberal relatives legitimately questioned lots of authority. Now, what the heck is wrong with you people? Questioning the G-men is a good thing. This is the same agency, with even more power now, that J. Edgar Hoover ran. And you are throwing in your lot with them these days? I think even many of the people at the FBI are kind of shrugging their shoulders at the cheering they are getting from some strange corners.
You guys are letting your Trump induced rage blind your vision and short circuit your thinking.
The state, the government, always works for itself first. “Liberals” used to know that.
Although the charges raised by the Republican memo about the FBI’s surveillance of Page are troubling, Democrats dispute several key points, including the role that information from former British spy Christopher Steele played in the warrant applications and whether the FBI revealed that Steele, whose work was underwritten by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, had a political agenda. But the fact remains that law enforcement officials have a strong incentive to exaggerate when they apply for warrants, a tendency that is especially problematic when the applications and the orders issued in response to them are classified, as they are under FISA. Another point highlighted by this case: Probable cause, defined by the Supreme Court as “a fair probability,” is not a very hard standard to meet, especially when it applies not to the likelihood that someone has committed a crime but to the likelihood that he is a foreign agent, which may or may not involve breaking any laws.
I don’t know that the Republicans who are suddenly mistrustful of the FBI will absorb any of these lessons, which would require reasoning in a principled way rather than reacting out of partisan reflex. But there is a chance that at least some of them will come away from this episode with a new appreciation for the cracks in “the pillars of the criminal justice system,” just as some Republicans embrace sentencing reform after serving time in prison. That would be a heartening development.
By contrast, the uncritical embrace of the FBI by some of Trump’s opponents is pretty sickening. The Times portrays Trump’s spat with the bureau as a black-and-white conflict between a dishonest demagogue and dedicated professionals who only want to uphold the law: