This story is awful on so many levels that it should probably come with a trigger warning.
The public has known about the many and horrific crimes of former USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar for a few years now. What the public has largely been unaware of is the role that the Federal Bureau of Investigation played in attempting to prevent us from knowing about any of it.
WASHINGTON—In a litany of reports and documents, the four women who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday have for years been referred to by initials or numbers: “Athlete B,” “Gymnast 1”, “Athlete A,” “Gymnast 3.”
On Wednesday, the women—elite gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman—gave U.S. senators an emotional and unsparing account of how the Federal Bureau of Investigation, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee failed to investigate or act when they emerged as potential victims of sexual assault by former national team doctor Larry Nassar.
“I can imagine no place that I would be less comfortable right now than sitting here in front of you, sharing these comments,” said Biles, one of the most decorated gymnasts in her sport’s history. She then paused in tears, before adding: “To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar but I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse.”
Let us refresh our memories on the exact nature of the FBI’s mission. This is from the official FBI website:
The mission of the FBI is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States.
That’s it. A mission statement that is completely free of any ambiguity.
Also, one that the agency seems to have almost abandoned in recent years.
In her opening statement (which I will provide in full at the end of the post), Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) had zero you-know-whats to give when offering her brutal assessment of the Bureau’s (as well as the coaches’ and Team USA officials’) behavior in the case, saying: “Every single person in authority who turned a blind eye to these young athletes’ allegations is complicit in Nassar’s crime, and each one of them should be considered a predator.”
To say that the FBI has lost its way would involve taking a trip to someplace far on the other side of understatement. The Bureau now functions more like a highly politicized domestic attack dog than a security agency. The FBI had already been involved with concocting and “investigating” the bogus Trump/Russia collusion leftist fantasy for a year when it finally got around to documenting the very real allegations of sexual assault against Nassar.
We never seem to stop finding out reasons why James Comey — who was head of the FBI when all of this was happening — should be in jail. As of this writing, he is still a much-revered darling of the same people who tell us to “believe all women” in cases of sexual abuse.
The FBI as it presently stands is beyond redemption unless there is a thorough housecleaning and a total rebuilding almost from the ground up. I wrote back in April that I considered Trump’s biggest failure as president the fact that he didn’t gut the FBI. Even prior to these heinous revelations there was enough evidence of systemic rot in the Bureau to justify drastic action.
McKayla Maroney’s testimony (video below) was particularly graphic and brutal. She not only detailed the horrors Nassar visited upon her, but she also went over the insanely tone-deaf questioning that she had to endure at the hands of the FBI. “They asked if he used gloves, I said no.” As if that would have made things better. “They asked if this treatment ever helped me.” A warning for those who watch the video: the questions above begin at the 2:32 mark, the two statements prior to that are even more graphic and awful. Her remarks are exceedingly damning.
Nassar was raping Maroney when she was 15 years old. Just when you think that the story can’t possibly get any worse, Maroney reveals that the FBI falsified her report.
That the FBI couldn’t be bothered to investigate a serial predator who was attacking the most vulnerable among us is reason enough to start casting a wide net for people within the Bureau who need to be locked up.
It’s a national travesty that these young women had to (very) publicly relive their horror in order for the FBI to be exposed and, hopefully, held accountable. These hearings are too often merely dog-and-pony shows that are held just so the committee members can grandstand for the cameras and get a couple of social media-worthy clips for their comms people to send out. There isn’t always a lot of follow-up. Heads need to roll at the FBI. They need to roll soon.
There will be no hot take, pithy conclusion to this column. Everything I really want to say after writing this would have the feds knocking at my door before dinnertime.
As promised, here is Sen. Blackburn’s opening statement:
And here is McKayla Maroney’s testimony: