Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) pulled out a Sharpie marker and wrote in big block letters at the bottom of a letter: “THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. THE FBI MUST COMPLY WITH THE LAW.”
The letter was addressed to FBI Director James Comey:
Wolf was referring to the FBI’s violation of the ban on cooperation with the unindicted co-conspirator terrorist organization CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), according to a just-released DOJ Inspector General report. CAIR was determined to be related to the web of terrorist financing during the Holy Land Foundation trials in Dallas, a trial which resulted in guilty verdicts. Afterwards, the FBI issued a blanket policy: no cooperation in the field with CAIR.
But the FBI’s Office of Public Affairs issued instructions to ignore the policy.
Why are DOJ press flunkies in Washington, D.C. issuing directives to FBI field offices about how to deal with CAIR? The answer to this question lies at the heart of the scandal, demonstrating that the politicized lawlessness of the Eric Holder Justice Department now is affecting the FBI.
From the DOJ Inspector General’s report:
Instead, a different headquarters entity, the Office of Public Affairs (OPA), provided policy interpretation and advice to FBI field offices on potential interactions with local CAIR chapters, without consulting [NAME REDACTED].
I suspect the redacted name is a national security component that would have objected to the interaction.
Following the directive, the FBI brought in CAIR to teach “diversity training” to FBI officials in New Haven, Connecticut, in October 2010, and in Chicago in December 2010. Yet the rules specifically prohibited CAIR from participating in an “FBI Citizens Academy” community outreach program:
Nevertheless, based on guidance it received from OPA, the Philadelphia Field Office allowed a local CAIR official to attend as an invited guest. A few days later, CAIR-Philadelphia posted an article on its website describing its participation in the training program, with a link to the FBI’s website.
The DOJ Inspector General report only pertains to five documented instances of CAIR being brought into the DOJ family. Mr. Wolf correctly notes in his letter that this probably “only represents a fraction” of everything else going on.
The insertion of the FBI press office into political and policy affairs is similar to the behavior of former DOJ OPA head Tracy Schmaler. Schmaler pushed leaked information to left-wing websites like Media Matters, and managed a campaign to smear Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and other Fast and Furious whistleblowers. In the Holder Justice Department, OPA doesn’t merely provide information to reporters. Instead, they are top political operatives driving department policy.
Such is the state of the nation: the institutions responsible for enforcing the law are instead in need of bold capital letter lectures from a congressman just to remind them to comply with the law.
Will anything happen to the officials who broke the rules? Not likely. The only remedy the Constitution provides is a significant defunding of OPA operations, so that there is no funding for the salaries of the people responsible. Consider: Schmaler landed a high-dollar gig at David Axelrod’s shop. Rewards await those who push the ideological boundaries inside the DOJ and FBI.
Pay attention. This crowd rewards their lawless fighters, like the Chicago gangsters of old. The response from conservatives and the GOP must be more than shock and outrage at their behavior, or else it will continue.
UPDATE: This post was updated to reflect that the FBI Office of Public Affairs intervened in the national security policy, not the DOJ OPA. The summary of the still-secret report by the DOJ Office of Inspector General made reference to the “Office of Public Affairs (OPA)” without any specificity as to which office of public affairs was involved. It required Congressional inquiries this morning to obtain an answer as to which OPA was at issue. The updated post clarifies that previously unclear question.