“Jeffrey Epstein’s computers seized during FBI raid on private island ” screams the headline in Tuesday’s New York Post.
It’s meant to be a shocker, but are you shocked? Of course not. What’s shocking is that this didn’t happen ten years ago.
The behavior of the federal government in the Epstein matter from its inception to the tycoon/pedophile’s death has been nothing short of execrable. The attorney general was “appalled.” He should have been, although it’s likely little of this happened directly on his watch. But it besmirches the entire organization.
That people were hidden from exposure in this most heinous of crimes — they call it “short eyes” in prison for a reason — because they were important or powerful in some way is nauseating. Once the facts are known, everyone involved (adults only, of course) should be incarcerated or, failing that, subject to the public, career-destroying, opprobrium they so richly deserve. This should happen no matter whose ox is gored. (The repellent celebrities that continued to pal around with Epstein after his initial incarceration deserve their own special ring of Dante’s Hell.)
But bad as it is, the Epstein affair is far from the worst malfeasance of the FBI/DOJ in recent years. That honor belongs to the Russia probe. Epstein, horrible as it is, is largely about the private lives of a certain number of despicable individuals. The Russia madness affected all of us, dominating the public attention since Trump was elected and weakening America before the world for absolutely no reason but to reverse the results of an otherwise legal election.
It was a treasonous farce with FBI and the DOJ up to their necks in all of it, as well as numerous other government agencies and officials, but let’s restrict ourselves to these two culprits.
The real question before us is can these organizations — two of the most crucial arms of any democracy — correct themselves?
We don’t know. This is supposedly underway. But you’ll have to excuse me for being a little bit skeptical that enough of the guilty heads will roll or that the house will thoroughly be cleaned. These organizations are too incestuous and, as my headline indicates, are headquartered too close to the rest of the government in Washington. That means that people involved with justice spend too much time around politicians, media and all the rest of the Beltway players. They are subject to influences they should be far away from. They have friends they shouldn’t have.
If you read about the Russia probe, numerous names repeat on all sides of the argument. Everyone, or almost, knows each other. They’re all cronies on one level or another. When you know and are involved with people, when you eat, drink and socialize together, it’s hard to have the impartiality required by Lady Justice. In fact, it’s almost impossible. Corruption is right around the corner, as it clearly has been.
In a certain sense, all of Washington should recuse itself.
The solution — part of it anyway — is to move the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation out of D.C. Yes, I know they all have branches everywhere, but I’m talking about their headquarters. It’s the old fish from the top thing. No more J. Edgar Hoover Building with all the creepy overtones that has in terms of even-handed justice. (Maybe make it an adjunct of the Spy Museum.) Away, away.
It doesn’t matter that much where the new headquarters are, but probably somewhere in the middle of America far from these influences. The Bureau of Land Management has just moved to Colorado, appropriately enough. This is a good trend and should continue. Otherwise, I fear, we are headed for more of the same.
On a happier note, Roger L. Simon’s new novel The GOAT — “Faust by way of Damn Yankees,” according to Powerline’s John Hinderaker — is now available for pre-order on Amazon for the discount rate of $2.99. As Janis Joplin once said, “Get It While You Can.”