Roger L. Simon

The FBI's Ship of Fools

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Of the many astonishing revelations now emerging from the Russia investigation, not enough has been made of the fact that Peter Strzok — that Zelig of the FBI who mysteriously appeared at every controversial moment — was second in command for counterintelligence.

That’s right, counterintelligence — that activity “designed to prevent or thwart spying, intelligence gathering, and sabotage by an enemy or other foreign entity.”

And yet that same Mr. Strzok was conducting a clandestine extra-marital affair with an FBI colleague over thousands of text messages that could be and likely were (more of that in a moment) intercepted by those same foreign intelligence agencies — or were, at the very least, recklessly exposed to them.

Now you don’t have to be James Jesus Angleton or even have read a novel by John le Carré to know one of the most important vulnerabilities in the intel world is just such dangerous liaisons, frequently used for blackmail of all sorts.

Yet, our second in command in counterintelligence conducted his in full digital view of anyone and did so replete with idiotically extreme comments about the president of the United States that would make our Peter a prime candidate for blackmail.

How exactly do you spell D-O-O-F-U-S?

Or, come to think of it, didn’t someone else do something just that dumb?  Oh, yes, the very Mrs. Clinton who moved the entire email correspondence of the secretary of State onto a homebrew server stashed in a bathroom.

No wonder Strzok went easy on her and on her buddies Cheryl and Huma. It wasn’t just the extreme bias they all shared, it was the extreme cyber-stupidity they also shared. How could he call them “grossly negligent” when he was so “grossly negligent” himself?  (He was also “grossly negligent” with his wife, but that’s another matter.  Someone should get a good interview with her.  She might have an interesting story to tell at this point.)

Which leads me back to the seemingly banal adverb likely or, more precisely, “reasonably likely.”

Newly released documents obtained by Fox News reveal that then-FBI Director James Comey’s draft statement on the Hillary Clinton email probe was edited numerous times before his public announcement, in ways that seemed to water down the bureau’s findings considerably.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, sent a letter to the FBI on Thursday that shows the multiple edits to Comey’s highly scrutinized statement.

In an early draft, Comey said it was “reasonably likely” that “hostile actors” gained access to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email account. That was changed later to say the scenario was merely “possible.”

Do we detect the hand of Zelig-like Strzok here?  I would say it’s “reasonably likely.”  But if I were, like Michael Ledeen, to channel the great Angleton, I would say it’s “extremely likely” to “almost certain.”

What are witnessing as these embarrassing documents, emails and texts continue to be extracted from a reluctant — and therefore self-incriminating — Justice Department is the emergence of a veritable FBI Ship of Fools with Captain Mueller at the helm, a man we repeatedly have to be told is above reproach, a Raleigh for our times, but is seeming more of a cross between Ahab and Queeg.

Well, that’s perhaps too harsh.  But the investigation has already crashed against rocky shoals  and is about to sink.   I should be joyfully clapping my hands with schadenfreude but I am decidedly not.

If it is true — as seems increasingly likely (maybe even reasonably likely) — that a cabal inside the Justice Department conspired to prevent Donald Trump from being president and then, once he became president, did their best to make sure he did not succeed in office, then we are all in a horrifying pass until we sort this out.