Dr. Fred Eichelman: Who’s Going to Guard the Guards?
It is funny how the past can catch up to you. The scandals we have learned about regarding the leadership of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been shocking to those of us who grew up practically worshipping the ground these people walked on. Of course this does not take anything away form the thousands of dedicated agents who have given their lives to serve. But the leadership dismays and shocks us.
When I say dismays and shocks I speak from a generation that grew up brainwashed by radio shows like This Is The FBI at Peace and War as well as films like I Was a Communist for the FBI. These were our heroes as big as the cowboy stars we used to enjoy in the films.
When I was in high school in the fifties we had regular assemblies with special guest speakers. There was one we really looked forward to, a retired top FBI agent who wanted us to appreciate the values of his former profession. We looked forward to a real hero taking the time to tell us more about his past experiences and maybe even recruit some of us. He did give us a rip-roaring speech. In it he extolled the virtues of the FBI and how they were the best-trained and most patriotic law enforcement group in the United States. He ended saying, “Rest assured young people. The FBI is the number one guardian of our liberties in the United States.”
As he finished to standing applause he asked for questions. Now, I had one friend who was often in trouble for being considered what we called then a “smart aleck” in class. He put his hand up. When he was recognized he said, “Sir, there is an old Roman expression: Who is going to guard the guards?” There was a collective gasp at the audacity of the question and the session was quickly ended by the principal. Afterward the young man was marched to the principal’s office and given a major dressing down for embarrassing the speaker and technically the whole school. The student body itself agreed that this student deserved to get whatever punishment would be given him. A tough letter was sent home and the boy was lucky not to be suspended.
As I look back, I feel that I owe my friend an apology. In fact the whole school does, though the incident is by now a very forgotten matter (and also a clear violation of the freedom of speech).
Unfortunately the use of the FBI by a president is not really all that new. In the 1960s, because of a fear that the Civil Rights Movement might be Communist-inspired, Robert Kennedy, under the direction of President John F. Kennedy, ordered FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover to wiretap the home of Dr. Martin Luther King. Later, President Lyndon Johnson took delight in having Hoover do background checks on members of Congress who disagreed with him.
However, the political use of the FBI in recent years, for the Democrat Party, has run rampant. The FBI was directly involved in the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign with the the fake Russian claims, and they are currently reportedly acting as the attack dogs for the Biden Administration. According to the “Twitter files” uncovered by Elon Musk, FBI leadership made it a point of censoring social media.