Posted by Curt on 18 February, 2019 at 5:36 pm. 2 comments already!


It has become difficult, almost painful, to watch: the public diminution of James Comey’s #2 at the FBI, Andrew G. McCabe, eerily following the post-bureau reputational arc of his former boss. McCabe’s interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday had been billed as must-see-TV. But for this retired agent whose career had crossed with McCabe’s almost 20 years ago, the figure on the screen who’d once enjoyed a meteoric ascension to the apex of the bureau food chain has transformed into a pitiable figure. It was difficult to believe this was the same man I had once defended.

The fired former FBI deputy director has a book to sell: The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump. A widely anticipated televised interview would assuredly bolster book sales.

The sit-down with CBS’s Scott Pelley was conducted in far cozier confines than the ones McCabe was subjected to by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General. In a blistering 35-page report released last year, McCabe was sanctioned for lying three times under oath, related to an unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information (media leak) predicated upon, as the IG asserts, making himself, not the FBI, “look good.” The IG made a recommendation to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions that McCabe be fired from the FBI for intentionally misleading internal FBI and inspector general investigators. Sessions fired McCabe on March 16, 2018 — just more than 24 hours before his scheduled retirement.

McCabe claimed to have been “confused” by the questions and “distracted” by all the events swirling around him at the time. It was “stressful,” he laments. This is pitiable, coming from a man in that position. Many of his responses to Pelley were self-serving and reminiscent of the feckless director he had served under and so openly and fawningly admires. To hear McCabe speak about Comey is not to witness respectful, professional appreciation, but something bordering on sycophancy and idolatry.

He argues there was adequate predication to authorize the opening of a counterintelligence investigation into potential Russian meddling in the 2016 election. No sane person can find fault with this decision. But speaking from the position of someone familiar with FBI executive decisions, his decision was seemingly infected by confirmation bias. Comey’s seventh floor at FBI headquarters wasn’t exactly Lincoln’s “team of rivals.” It was a gaggle of many promoted-before-their-time, callow, overly ambitious, like-minded acolytes and activists.

His assertion that he ordered the opening of an obstruction of justice investigation into Trump following Comey’s firing is laughable and lamentable. McCabe misguidedly argues that he had became “very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground, in an indelible fashion,” and that were he to be “removed quickly, or reassigned or fired, that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace.”

That sound you hear are the groans of countless FBI leaders who seemingly understand better than McCabe that innumerable levels of oversight by career professionals within the FBI and DOJ have always acted as a guardrail to prevent political interference into case investigations. Then again, it’s awfully rich that McCabe – rightly criticized for political influence in his own decision-making — would be the one to argue this fear.

McCabe, who only spent a few years conducting investigative work in the field, had been hustled through the obligatory senior assignments in order to be brought back as deputy director after the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized email server case had been opened. He makes that point to Pelley. What he fails to mention is that he waited far too long to recuse himself from oversight of that case upon his return. He acknowledges that “I was a part of that team and those decisions.” Pelley curiously refuses to press on this point, gently reminding us that McCabe did recuse himself some months before the election.

The question is this: What ethical, experienced, mature, and sensitive-to-appearance-of-impropriety FBI senior executive in his right mind would not have steered clear of any perceived influence on a politically charged case when his spouse has decided to accept campaign funding from a governor with control of a political action committee and deep political ties to the Clintons? Answer: McCabe.

Pretending his decision here was not demonstrably reckless, selfish, and stupid makes you a partisan. His arguments that he acted “appropriately” only serve to further erode his credibility, cast more doubts on his other leadership decisions, and irrevocably tarnish the legacy of the FBI.

McCabe also exhibited poor judgment and a complete misunderstanding of his role as acting director while discussing that he had consulted with the Deputy Attorney General about invoking the 25 th Amendment following Comey’s firing. The FBI is not part of the decision-making process that the amendment provides to the vice-president and cabinet. McCabe had a bevy of FBI attorneys at his avail. Not one of them advised him this wasn’t his call to make, and that removal of a duly-elected president, via 25 th Amendment means, must be related to death, resignation, impeachment, or incapacitation?

There was not one question from McCabe’s television interviewer about his relationship with the disgraced former deputy assistant director, Peter Strzok, and one of his FBI attorneys, Lisa Page, regarding private discussions in his office that Strzok and Page had discussed in private text message exchanges. Discovery of the partisan communications resulted in their removals from the special prosecutor’s Russian election interference team. It’s hard not to view McCabe’s victim persona as pathetic, when explanations related to the “insurance policy” in the event Trump was elected have all fallen woefully short of passing the smell test.

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